Ready to dive into your dream home’s landscape design? Here are four first steps worth taking.
1. Connect with a professional landscaper. You may think that you can tackle your dream home’s landscape design on your own, however it is best to consult with a professional. Now that spring has sprung, landscapers are already extremely busy. It may be challenging just to schedule an appointment, but do so as soon as you can. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when building a new home is waiting until it is completely finished to contact a landscape designer. If your home is still under construction, you should still meet with a professional landscaper to get the project going. This is especially true for large projects such as pergolas and outdoor fireplaces. In fact, the typical timeline on such large projects can be six to eight months from concept design through actual installation.
2. Find a few designs you absolutely love. Landscape designs you adore will appear at any moment, so have your smart phone or camera ready. Whether you’re shuttling your kids to a play-date or on your way to a friend’s house, take pictures of landscape designs you love. Keep in mind what is feasible, e.g. if you see that a long row of arbor vitaes allows for a lot of privacy around someone’s patio, note that it takes a while for the trees to grow to that height. It’s in your best interests to still share the photos with your landscape designer as long as you understand it will take a few years for the trees to grow.
3. Focus on saving existing trees. If the construction has not yet begun on your new home and your lot has some mature trees you hope to retain, let your builder know ASAP. It’s important to save any mature trees or hedges that are on the exterior perimeter of your home’s foundation for ecological reasons. In addition, they help to establish specific spots within the overall design—for example, ideal places for a hammock, tree-house, fountain or fire pit. Tall, stately trees also add a lot of character thereby enhancing curb appeal. If there are no large trees, all is not lost. While landscape nurseries that specialize in large trees can be somewhat challenging to find, many of them do ship out of state.
4. Pick your plant palette. While you will have an in-depth conversation with your landscaper about the types of plants that are most complementary to the overall design, arm yourself with information beforehand. For example, decide if you want to primarily use native plants since they are much easier to maintain because they’ve evolved to thrive in our climate without special treatment. Also, native plants won’t invade your landscape and squeeze life from other plants as their opposites, invasive plants, do. If you’re drawn to pops of color or other aspects of the plants captured in the designs you photographed, share your opinions with your designer.
Article by: Jennifer Elkow
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