P&PDL Picture of the Week for
November 22, 2010

Interaction of Design and Management in the Appearance of the Landscape

Mike Dana, Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, Purdue University

Here is an example of a simple mistake made in plant arrangement in the landscape.  These are false indigo plants (Baptisia sp.), herbaceous ornamentals that flower in the spring, then form a beautiful broad spreading canopy of foliage as the summer season progresses.  Under the canopy however, is a very leggy plant. 

These plants are planted much too close to the edge of the sidewalk so the grounds managers were forced to cut back the plants to prevent them from blocking the walkway.  In so doing, they have ruined the form and attractiveness of the plants and exposed the unsightly, leggy plant base.  The simple solution is to remove the plants closest to the sidewalk, giving those further back more room to spread next season.

Situations like this often arise due to the conflict between giving landscape plants room to grow and the urge (necessity?) for the landscape to look “full” and “done” the moment the site is opened for use. 

Click image to enlarge

Landscape near sidewalk

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service