Ah, the glory of a new home. Everything is, well, so new. So fresh. And there’s not a chip, dent or scratch anywhere (yet).
Outside, however, it’s another matter altogether. With most new homes, there simply isn’t anything but dirt. So what to do? Well, here are my ten ideas on how to do the landscape right…so you won’t have to do it over.
1. Hire a landscape designer to lay out the land and give it the look and feel you want. This needn’t cost an arm and a leg (call me and be surprised), and you’ll get the over-all plan set up before you start all that digging.
2. Plan for more drainage than you think you need for areas adjacent to driveways, patios, pathways, lawns and especially retaining walls. Ask neighbors about standing water in winter and spring. Find out how long standing water takes to drain and where it drains to (your yard perhaps?!)
3. Plant some larger sized trees in your first phase so everything won’t look so puny while they spend the next five years growing into the space you’ve provided for them.
4. Consider how long you plan to live in the house. If it’s less than five years we often focus on the entry and front yard. If it’s longer, then invest in a good design for the whole property that you can build on over the years. Curb appeal sells your home.
5. Create an oasis for privacy. It needn’t be large, but ideally it should have some eye appeal from inside the house. Sunny days are precious, so create a place to enjoy them.
6. Know how you’re going to handle upkeep. The idea of “low maintenance” can be a misnomer: it’s easier to mow than weed. Decisions about upkeep need to be made right along with the design. And if you don’t want to be the gardener, make sure you have someone who will, because there is no landscape short of concrete that doesn’t require upkeep.
7. Pay close attention to watering the first year. Many a well-intentioned landscape has gone to ruin in the first year for lack of proper watering. Such a waste!
8. Avoid BDS, one of the leading killers of new plants. What is BDS, you ask? Bored Dog Syndrome. It happens when Fido pulls up plants, shakes them good, and doesn’t replant them; or decides to water them with full force. The cure? While plants are still young, don’t let Fido out alone. This may be a pain, but trust me, you’ll save a lot of money.
9. Before you pave your driveway or paths, lay PVC conduit pipe underneath. That way you can easily add irrigation or lighting later on. PVC pipe is cheap.
10. Soil prep is where it’s at — it’s the difference between plants that thrive instead of die. You need soil that drains well in winter but holds moisture in summer. Every site has different requirements, so get professional advice at the start.