3 Things That Should NOT Be In Your Garden!

by Ben Bowen

Keep These 3 Things Out of Your Landscape

“Knowledge is knowing the tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in your fruit salad.”
— Miles Kington

As a homeowner, landscaper, designer or architect we spend a lot of time deciding what to put into our landscapes. It is just as important, though, to know what not to include in your design. Landscape preferences are subjective, of course. But the following three things should never be in your landscape- in Portland at least!

1. Invasive and Noxious Plants

Most states have a list of noxious plants that should never be in your landscape. For example, here in Oregon, butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) is considered a noxious weed. This shrub looks like lilac and is widely available- despite it's designation. This shrub is not native to Oregon and spreads like a weed, taking over open areas in our forests. It is not evil- but it should never be planted on your property! Plus, there are now varieties that are safe to plant.

For more on invasive plants in Oregon, see this. Here is a list of great Portland area nurseries to buy non-invasive plants.

Exception: None

2. Lava Rock

lava rock for landscapes

Ok, maybe someone, somewhere, somehow has a good reason to use this stuff. Maybe. This red volcanic rock can be found at every big box store and in many Portland landscapes. That doesn't mean you should use it. It is ugly and does not offer anything that you can't find in a more attractive product.

Exception: Pond filtration (where you can't see it!)

3. One Word.... Plastics

plastic landscape edging

Plastic has taken over our houses, our cars, even the inside of your body (plastic is the most common foreign substance found in the human body)! Draw the line at your landscape.

Please do not put plastic sheeting down to suppress weeds. You will regret it. It is difficult to keep it covered. It rips and tears and causes drainage issues.

Avoid plastic edging too. It is flimsy and ugly. For just a little bit more you can have steel edging- a far superior product.

And plastic fences? No. There are so many wonderful garden products- keep them as natural as possible!

Exception: Irrigation Systems

Spend hours wandering through nurseries, days sketching landscape design ideas, weekends implementing your ideas- just avoid the three landscape mistakes above.

Need more advice? Contact Ross NW Watergardens, check out these tips for a low maintenance landscape, or contact a landscape designer for help!