Top 5 Examples of What Not to Plant in your Backyard

Posted August 6, 2015 in Blog, General, Landscape Design, Landscape Maintenance, Plant and Tree

There is no greater joy than to get out in the sunshine and get your hands dirty in your own yard.  The planning, time, effort and sweat put into your garden and landscaping is super rewarding because you can literally see your successes and feel rewarded.  However, there are a few plants and trees that should not be a part of your landscape design.  Being aware of these plants and trees will save the pains of planting the undesirables and having to correct any issues in the future.  Here are the top 5 examples of what not to plant in your backyard:


bambooSome people would like to plant bamboo in their yard to create a large privacy screen that is organically aesthetic.  We strongly recommend not planting bamboo.  While there are some not-so-invasive varieties that exist, you would not want to chance planting the wrong one!  Bamboo is labeled one of the world’s most invasive plants.  Once bamboo has an established root system, you can watch it just take over your yard, and most likely move into your neighbor’s yard.  You will probably have your BBQ invitations revoked after that.  Eradicating bamboo after it is planted is no small feat either.  If you would really like the look of bamboo in your yard, you could always grow bamboo in planters, that way there is no chance of spreading or unavoidable headaches!


Planting herbs is a wonderful way to add delicious flavor to your food and to save yourself money at the grocery store.  If you are growing herbs in your garden, be sure to do a little research beforemint2 grabbing your hand shovel.  Mint is an excellent addition to your food and drink, but its root system is highly invasive and will spread through your garden just like a weed would.  On that note, also growing your herbs in planters is an excellent way to keep them under control, and you can then bring them inside when the weather turns colder!

English Ivy

english ivy2Most people plant ivy in hopes of growing an elegant, rich and full green trellis, living fence or lush groundcover, but little do they know how invasive English Ivy really is!  This evergreen perennial loves to attach itself to the bark of trees, brickwork, or just about anything in its way.  English Ivy’s unique feature to exude a glue-like substance to aid in adherence guarantees that it can grow, spread and dominate.  You will soon see the ivy spreading from its original location, into other areas of your yard, and even into your neighbor’s property.  English Ivy is extremely hard to contain and tame, making it very expensive and labor intensive to eliminate completely.

Leyland Cypress

At first glance, the Leyland Cypress tree is attractive and would seem like a lovely addition to your backyard, but when written down, the cons outweigh the pros by far.  This tree grows extremely fast, at a reported 2-3 feet a year and can mature up to 70 feet in its lifetime.  Leyland Cypress trees only live about 25-35 years, which truly means that by the time it reaches its full height potential, it starts its natural lifespan decline.  Through maturity, the taller they get, the easier they fall.  Leyland Cypress’ are known for uprooting in any kind of significant wind, which can cause damage to your home and personal property.

Mulberry Tree

mulberry treeWhile fruit bearing trees are wonderful to have in your landscaping as a form of shade and as a food source, they are all not created equal.  Mulberry trees are fast growing, contain massive amounts of pollen and are very attractive to insects and birds.  This tree is actually the sole food source for silkworms.  Now, if you are a silkworm farmer, Mulberry trees would be a cash cow, but to the average homeowner it isn’t a wise choice.  The berries that drop from the tree can stain your clothes, decks, patios and will leave a reddish residue on your vehicles if they are close enough.  The shade from this tree is so thick that even grass doesn’t grow at its base because there just isn’t enough sunlight to support it.  We recommend skipping over the Mulberry tree and planting other fruit bearing trees.  You can still get the satisfaction of growing your own fruit, but without the mess and hassle!

If you are looking for guidance, knowledge and experience in designing and turning your dream backyard into a reality, contact MasterPLAN Landscape Design.  Serving the Poconos, the Lehigh Valley and throughout the Philadelphia areas, we will listen to you and implement all of the must-have aspects into your backyard for you and your family to create memories in for years to come.  Reach out to Masterplan to chat about your project, we are ready to transform your yard into your true dream outdoor living space!

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