Stains on the Landscape

These days many domestic landscape jobs cost around 10% of the price of a home. For such investment that can directly enhance the value of the property, there is a need for designers and landscapers to carefully consider placement of plants and trees, as well as appropriate use of barks, soils and other materials.


After all the wondrous blossoms have completed on trees and shrubs, many plants produce fruits of various sizes and colour. Although horticulturally these are seen as attributes to the aesthetics of a landscape some fruit are known to stain tiles, pavers and timbers if allowed to fall and rot on these surfaces. Additionally some gum leaves are known to stain pavers and tiles within 24hours.


If using trees with pulpy fleshy fruit it is best to locate these specimens within the midst of garden beds so that fruit fall within the garden. This will also overcome the problem of fleshy fruit falling onto pathways causing a safety concern.


Potting media may also cause staining. Freshly potted plants will weep out discoloured water after its first watering. For this reason it is important not to locate new pot plant specimens on freshly laid white tiles or pavers in case they may stain. After the first few waterings, this leaching problem should cease and these new plants can take up their pride location on the tiles.


Landscape soils may also stain. The red and black clays around Australia are well known for staining driveways, pavers, retainer walls, etc.


Retainer walls made of white sandstone or white concrete can easily be ruined by these soils. In such districts it is better to choose building materials that are better coloured to the natural soil tones.


There have also been comments by gardeners that some bark-based mulches have stained retainer walls and pavers. This may very well be feasible due to the oils within barks, however there seems to be no official reports on this matter. Many landscape supply yards have reported no complaints regarding this matter.



Tips on how to prevent any stains in the garden:

  • wash away any discoloured water that leaches out of pots or newly established gardens immediately
  • sweep up all fallen fleshy fruit
  • sweep up all fallen leaves
  • test barks before purchasing for stain potential
  • treat pavers with a sealant to protect them
  • using building materials that harmonise with natural soil colour



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