How to Prevent it, or What to do When the Damage is Done

Garden disasters can range from fairly minor (forgetting to raise the mower deck and scalping the lawn in the late summer) to quite significant (omitting drain tiles around the patio so it floods and washes away during a rain storm).

garden disaster

You may be doing your own landscaping and gardening, or hiring a landscaping firm to do it for you.  If you’re not into doing any of the work, you may even be inclined to hire a landscape architect too, who can design, plan and oversee the whole project.

garden disaster flagstone path

Even experienced professionals can get it wrong sometimes, no-one is going to be 100% infallible. What can you do to head disasters off at the pass?

garden disaster formal garden

First, due diligence. 

Whatever the project, try to get ahead of the learning curve.

There are lots of YouTube videos about pretty much every aspect of designing and carrying out garden projects so even if you plan on getting the advice and assistance of a professional, look at some videos so you have some sense of what it entails. 

garden disaster japanese style

Water features and ponds are where things sometimes go sideways.  Plan carefully the steps to take to prevent things like rubber liners from getting holes in or floods. Ecosystem ponds and dry streambeds are lovely, but sometimes they are hard to maintain.

Nothing is more fraught with danger than letting someone loose in your precious garden when you don’t have a common vocabulary.  They may throw terms like ‘uplimbing’ and ‘drainage’ around, which means nothing to you.

Try to get precise explanations of what they mean – don’t be afraid to ask for clarity!  It’s your garden, after all.

Even something as mundane as the decision about which mulch to use can have a huge impact on the health of your garden.  The cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best.

garden disaster mulch

Get some references from previous jobs the firm has done.  And then contact them. 

Ask them if the work order was clearly explained to them prior to being done. 

Ask if there were any surprises.

garden disaster path

Verify that the job was a homeowner’s own garden, not a public space or a commercial landscape – these are two different animals. 

What is acceptable or normal in a commercial area may or may not be what you have in mind.

garden disaster pathway

Disaster can strike at any stage, from inception (the idea) to completion (planting). Mistakes can be rectified, but sometimes it’s a huge outlay of time, money, and patience.  Doing it right the first time will be more economical in the long run.

Find out more about garden mistakes at the planting stage here.

More about different styles to make sure your garden reflects your personality.