New Construction Project: A Landscaping Plan
We are moving ahead at a steady pace according to our schedule and most days when I visit the site there is progress. At this point the electrical, ductwork, and plumbing have been installed and this week they blew in the foam insulation. This is superior to the pink fluffy fiberglass insulation as it provides a tighter fit which lowers heating and air conditioning bills and also acts as a sound barrier. The latter is good as we are on the corner of a busy street. It takes time before you see the exciting features that make a house feel like a home and even though one can see all the rooms laid out, the temporary stairs and the windows, it still looks like a construction site and the exterior property looks like a disaster.
That is why meeting with our landscape architect a couple of days ago lifted my spirits and I could almost envision soft green lawn in the back yard , stone walls, pathways, large evergreens blocking out the road, masses of Hydrangeas and other flowering shrubs. I miss my old gardens and beautiful trees and perennials from the house we sold. It took years of hard work and planning to achieve that garden and if money was no issue we could get an instant masterpiece by doing everything on our plan immediately but that’s not going to happen so we will stick to our budget and do the most essential items first and plan on adding as time goes on.
When buying a spec house the builder usually provides the basics as far as a landscaping plan. The property is graded and he either plants seed or supplies instant sod. There are usually foundation plantings and a few ornamental trees and shrubs at the front of the house for good curb appeal. Sometimes fencing or Evergreens are added to provide some privacy if it is needed. Buyers should expect to do additional plantings and design work once they have closed on the house. When building a custom house one has a clean slate and can do as much or as little as the budget allows.
The exterior of a house and the property are very important to providing good curb appeal and value to the home. Landscaping is an important piece of the puzzle and I would like to offer some tips.
New Construction Landscaping Tips
- Discuss with builder what his intentions are for the landscaping of the property and what the budget is and what it includes. HARDSCAPING is part of the landscaping and should be addressed first. Hardscaping refers to driveways, walkways, retaining walls, patios, fences, decks and stone walls, in fact anything that is built on the exterior of house. Our property is quirky and narrow, close to the road and slopes in areas so requires a lot of thought to the hardscaping .We have hired a Landscape architect to work in conjunction with the builder to discuss drainage, retaining walls, privacy fences and other matters so that we can use the land to its best advantages.
- Landscape architects can be well worth their cost as a new home is a huge investment and you do not want to make a mistake by designing something which does not take in to account the actual lay of the land , the direction of the sun, the drainage issues, the surrounding homes, the position on the street and other factors. As with choosing any professional or service provider to do work for you do your homework and get references and talk to people in the field. The landscape architect can be hired in different capacities. They can provide a plan with the design and take charge of the whole project or just provide a plan and a list of plants and you can go from there. They can give you a sequence to follow so you can separate the projects and best utilize your time and money.
- A landscape budget is very important and should be a realistic number. Take in to account the cost of the house you are building as you do not want to over capitalize on landscaping as you will not get a good rate of return on your investment. Some people suggest that 10% of the home’s value is a good amount to put aside for landscaping.
- There are so many decisions that it can be overwhelming. Whether to sod or just plant seed and add hay, whether to put is a sprinkler system, what type of fencing to use, what trees are good for screening and will not be tasty delights for the deer who are so rampant these days, what plants to use. Will you have time for pruning and tending or is it better to go with hardier species that are more self-reliant. Once again this brings me back to the team concept where it is good to work with experts who can give you advice. We are going to use Green Giant Arborvitae for screening our house from the street and close neighbors as they are hardy, deer resistant and grow fast and provide good screening.
As a lover of gardening the landscaping aspect to building our house is one that gives me great pleasure but also a little frustration as I feel like a kid in a candy shop. I want it all but as with most things in life have to make choices