Fall is the perfect time to think about landscape projects. You don’t have to spend your time watering now because the rains have finally started again. You can use that time to reassess what you can do to capitalize on what you have.

Large tree casting shade. Soil under trees is frequently dry do drought tolerant plants are needed.

As landscapes and gardens mature, things change. Trees get taller and cast deeper shade; volunteer trees appear and probably need to be removed; shrubs outgrow their original compactness. Your lifestyle may have changed and that means the landscape may also need to change.

In evaluating your existing garden, you may find that some plants don’t perform as well as they used to. If they just need more light, transplant them to a brighter area of the garden and

Shady garden filled with mix of leaf textures and colors: Buxus, Hydrangea arborescens ssp.radiata, Hosta yellow




find new shade tolerant plants to replace them.



Overgrown shrubs can be trimmed back or removed entirely if no longer desirable. As much as it hurts emotionally and as much as it can be visually unattractive for a while, a severe trimming (almost to the ground) can often rejuvenate old and woody shrubs.

To start re-engineering a garden, take a hard, honest look at what you have. Because changes in the garden often happen subtly over the years, it is easy to overlook them. Pretend you are the new owner of your house and garden and look at them with as much objectivity as you can.

Is there an orderly look to your garden, or has it just “happened” over time? Depending on the size of your garden and how elaborate you want to make it, you can plan it yourself or call on professional help. Even if you call on a professional, do have some plan in mind as to what you want your garden to ultimately look like. A planned garden doesn’t have to happen all at once. If you develop an overall plan, you can work on one or two areas at a time, and save work on other areas for later in the year or even until the next season or two.

Bright colors with Imperata ‘Red Baron’ (Blood Grass), Coleus, and parsley in August at the Cleveland Botanical Garden


A coordinated color scheme can really pull a garden together and refresh one that may have gone stale. Now is a good time to think about the colors you had in your garden and if that combination was pleasing. What colors do you have in your house?




If you’re a purple person, don’t forget that color can be used in furniture as well as flowers and foliage.




What colors do you wear? What colors make you feel good?





Re-engineering doesn’t always have to be a major undertaking.  Once you have a plan in place, small adjustments every year or two will keep you from having to start from scratch.