Step 5 – DIY Site Prep and How To Install Landscape Plants

Now, you’re really saving money and time! Taking care of plants involves choosing the right site with proper design (Step 3) and an informed plant purchase (Step 4).

Hicksi Yew shrubs will be spaced and planted after the holes are dug using a tape measure.

Hicksi Yew shrubs will be spaced and planted after the holes are dug using a tape measure.

Site Prep

This is important so you’re new healthy plants don’t die quickly. Without adequate preparation the soil won’t help the plants. It may even draw moisture away. More on that later.

Dig holes twice as wide and no deeper than the root ball. Check out my post on just hole digging (It’s really important!) Article

Hole digging is the most labor intensive process. Break up the work over several days if necessary. Don’t get in a hurry and cut corners. With proper holes, the plants will become healthy and thriving.

Amend Your Soil versus Non-Amend (Add Ingredients to your soil or not add)?

I do not add soil amendments just as a habit. Experts say don’t amend at all. I have done it both ways and successful both methods. Usually I don’t add anything to the bottom of the soil but will add mycorrhizae to the top and sides. Mycorrhizae is a secret weapon in the war against plant stress and death.

It took me several years of trial and error before I tried mycorrhizae. It really does work to help your new trees and shrubs acclimate to the native soil. It’s not critical for veggies, flowers, and grasses.

I usually amend the highest portion of the soil with mulch and or potting soil if I feel it’s a dry site. Organic (not rubber) mulch helps lock in moisture to keep the soil food web activated and your new landscape plants growing and healthy.


You’re going to become an irrigation expert. Soak the plant, then allow to dry slightly. Water like a pro.

If you don’t make a reminder on your phone, or build a daily habit to look at your new plants, they’ll probably die. New plants are accustomed to daily watering in their plastic pot. They may need daily irrigation for a few days to several weeks depending on the soil moisture and air temperature.


I go into site prep and installation more intensively in my ebook 7 Steps to Landscape Success.

Now that you’ve installed like a pro, check out Step 6, How to Take Care of Your Investment.