The wonderful feeling of a fresh start that comes with new construction takes a lot of planning. The layout of the house, the paint colors, the interior fixtures, the cabinets, the sidewalk, lawn, patios, landscape and gardens all require careful thought. Many clients tend to reach out to a designer after they move in to these newly constructed homes because they are underwhelmed by the vast expanse of sod that their landscape package included. Meeting with a landscape designer during the construction, or even earlier before build, can help you plan your project in a way that lets you make the most of your projects by doing things with intent from the beginning.
Sod for example, should be one of the last items installed in a landscape. Freshly laid sod makes renovating newly constructed homes slightly more difficult, because often times sprinkler heads and irrigation are included with the sod. When transforming these vast, expansive sod lawns into beautiful landscapes, the irrigation systems installed must be changed, adding a bit more cost to the project than if the landscape had been designed before construction and the areas left as sod may need to be replaced due to construction traffic.
One of the bigger overlooked items is the front side walk; yes one was put in, but was it the right layout for the curb appeal you were looking for? Or is it a “robot sidewalk”, a slab of concrete making right angles and making the shortest possible distance from the front door? That beautiful front door you spent time selecting just the right stain for is cheapened by the boring, three foot wide path that leads straight to it. A front sidewalk is a huge aspect of the welcoming curb appeal for your home, something that you see every time you come home.
Lastly, there are a lot of walk outs going in, and retaining walls are needed many of the time, especially on smaller lots. Yes the contractor can put them in, but are they looking for the future of the yard or just what can get the grade done with the least amount of money and effort? Are they choosing materials that will compliment your style and need, or are they just the materials they could get their hands on quickly? For some projects, properly engineered four foot walls need to be constructed, and these walls are not easily changed without adding significant cost to your project.
Making your home the exact way you want it is why you were building a house instead of buying an existing home anyway, right? The landscape is not something that the “builder package” accomplishes with grace and style (at least the majority of ones I have come to help). Too often, I am called at the last minute by a “new construction client” that wants their project done by the end of the week. I often think, planning your house didn’t happen that fast, why not treat the new landscape and outdoor spaces in the same fashion? If you, or any of your friends are moving into a newly constructed home this fall or next spring, make sure the landscape isn’t just an afterthought!