5 Causes of Bare Areas in Your Landscape Beds and How to Fix Them

Ben Collinsworth

As you’re walking through your Texas commercial property passing some lush landscape beds and turf, a bare area stands out like a blemish on your skin or a giant patch of weeds in your lawn. It is a nasty splotch of paint mucking up the otherwise perfect painting of your commercial landscape.

Luckily, there are some options for addressing these blank beds.

Top 5 Causes of Bare Areas

First, let’s talk about what causes bare landscape beds in the first place. When you know what caused the bare area, you can come up with the best solution and prevent that problem from happening again. A good service provider will always be able to investigate the situation and explain to you why a plant or area is not performing well and provide you with multiple options for correcting the situation.


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Bare areas happen normally as a result of these environmental-related factors.

  1. Age. Many times, plants just outlive their use. Plants are living and breathing things and sometimes their healthy, thriving period is short-lived. For instance, wax myrtles are popular in Texas and are used a lot as a screening shrub. But after eight years or so from the initial commercial landscape construction, they start to die back and become unattractive. It happens on all property types. So, if you desire wax myrtles, you have to think of them as a five- to 10-year solution and plan to make another investment down the road as they die back. Your landscape service provider can let you know the typical life of certain plants so you can plan and budget for this.
  2. Planting problems. Installing plants in the heat of mid-July is what we call planting at the wrong time. New plants with smaller root balls need adequate irrigation to grow and avoid drying out. Spray irrigation sometimes doesn’t provide this needed water, especially in the extreme heat of July with 110-degree temperatures and wind. If you must install plants at this time of year, your landscape service provider can supplement them with additional water to ensure they become established and don’t die out and create bare areas. However, if you’re in an area with drought and water restrictions, sometimes you’re not allowed to use water to this extent at this time of the summer without being fined. We understand, too, that some properties have a deadline they need to meet when it comes to appearance, so they are willing to take the risk of some of these new plants not surviving because they are being planted at an inopportune time, and, in that case they should plan to fill some potential bare areas later in the year.
  3. Disease. Sometimes, plants can get a disease, such as a leaf spot, that spreads to all the plants of its kind in an area and decimates the group. This typically only happens 10 percent of the time.
  4. Wrong plant, wrong place. Sometimes a plant is installed in a sunny area but it requires shade. Or it was originally planted in the right location based on its needs and then other plants grow to a more mature size around it and its growing conditions change, affecting the health and aesthetics of the plant.
  5. Water. If an area has grown and its conditions have changed – for instance, a plant is removed and an area received more sunlight and wind so it dries out faster or the area has plants that need root-targeted irrigation versus overhead irrigation – then its watering needs will also change. The solution can be anything from an irrigation system scheduling change to an irrigation system upgrade to drip irrigation installation to target plant roots.


Bare Area Solutions

Your budget will determine the options you want to pursue for filling the bare areas in your landscape beds. Share your desired budget with your landscape service provider and from there he or she can come up with some solutions to fit your needs.

Native Land Design recommends clients ask for a variety of options – the top-of-the-line option, the middle-of-the-road option and the basic option. We can typically walk up to an area and say that a solution will, for instance, cost between $3,000 and $5,000 and will include some irrigation changes, and mulch and plant installation. Many times, there are multiple solutions to fill bare areas; knowing all your options helps you make the best decision to fit your needs and budget.




Consider all of your options. If the area is highly visible, you’ll want to invest more into it to ensure long life and adequately reflect your brand image. For a less visible area where a higher investment isn’t necessary, you may want a simple hardscape option that doesn’t require as much irrigation or maintenance but still looks presentable and neat.


Don’t Grin and “Bare” It

Do you have some embarrassing bare spots in your landscape beds that need T.L.C.? Don’t panic: we can help! Native Land Design’s experts are excited to talk to you via our free onsite consultation to ensure you understand what’s causing these bare spots and what options you have to fill these empty spaces with something that will add value to your Texas commercial property. Call us at 512-918-2270 or fill out our contact form online today.

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Ben Collinsworth


Before Ben founded Native Land Design in 2001, he earned a Bachelor's degree in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture from Texas A&M University. He’s an active member of ASLA, HBA of Austin, NHBA, PLANET, and BOMA. Ben, his wife and their three children reside in the Cedar Park area.

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Native Land Design provides all of our weekly landscape maintenance services at Forest Oaks Homeowners Association (Cedar Park, TX), which consists of 1,491 homes and a large amount of common area. We have been very pleased with the level of service and attention to detail provided by Native Land Design.

Keri Scott, CMCA, AMS, Community Association Manager, RealManage