Learning Center


Landscape Design Tips for the DIY Homeowner

Looking forward to making changes to your landscape but aren’t sure how to create a plan that works?  The Good Earth has landscape design tips to get you started in the right direction!

Research Before Planting

  • Sun or shade… or both? On a sunny day, stand in your landscape areas every two hours from 8 am to until dusk.  During the winter, consider tree shadows and how much shade you might have spring, summer and fall when leaves are on the trees.  Take into account that winter sun is lower in the southern sky than in the summer, when the sun is more overhead. Take pictures and make notes.  Four hours of morning sun is much different than four hours of afternoon sun.


  • Plants grow, we all know this, right?! But here’s the thing; it’s easy to forget that when you are looking at a shrub that is 2 foot tall right now, just the height you wanted. Read the plant details; that 2 foot plant may grow to 10 foot tall at maturity; and you have just created a long term maintenance nightmare!   Choose based on the mature size of the plant not the size it is now.  If you want a more mature looking landscape right now, purchase a more mature, larger plant instead of purchasing more plants.


  • Scale and space matter. If you want the layered look, you will need to accommodate that in your space.  A 3 foot deep landscape bed won’t allow for much layering, unless you are planning to layer perennials and annuals.  To layer most shrubs, you will need at least a 6 foot deep bed.  Keep the scale appropriate.  Design to accent the home, not hide it.


  • Before you dig, draw it out, on paper and in your landscape. It’s much easier to change bed lines before the sod comes out and the edging goes in.  Use spray paint to easily mark bed lines.  Run a mower around the lines to check the ease of maintaining them.

Other Design Elements to Consider…


  • Choose focal points carefully. Large pots at your entrance, a boulder accent here and there, a large seasonal color display; anything that draws the eye to a focused point should be worthy of it.  Framing your garage, for example, should be avoided (unless you have one heck of a garage!).


  • Design for visual interest. This can be contrasting leaf color or size, groupings of blooming plants, specimen trees… or ideally, all of the above! Repeat plant choices, plant in odd-numbered groupings, and consider planting both evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs.


  • Traffic flow is real and retraining our brains is harder than you think. Work with how your family uses the space instead of against it.  Or, for example, learn to live with basketball-dented rose bushes.


  • Changing the bed lines and plantings means changing the irrigation system. And the lighting system, and maybe even addressing drainage issues.  For long term success, don’t skip this step!  Change the sprinkler system AS you change bed lines, before planting.  Doing so afterwards is often a bigger headache and is often put off until the nebulous ‘later’.  ‘Later’ can quickly result in dead plants.


Plan for the Future



  • Yup, ask more questions. Our team (many of whom are Certified Nursery and Landscape Professionals) is experienced; put that experience to work for you. We have created an entire online Learning Center with tons of articles and helpful tools.  We have organized our plant materials at the garden center to help you; shade shrubs together, sun shrubs together, perennials all together, etc.  Cultivating your success is our mission.  So ask us questions; we are the experts after all!

Still not sure how to get started on your do-it-yourself landscape project?  Take pictures of your space, bring those to the Good Earth team, as well as measurements and we will help you get started in the right direction.  You can also start the process by following this link.

Interested in our experienced, award-winning Landscape Services team installing your next project?  We would love to connect with you.  Follow this link to get started!