Landscaping is among the final touches put on your home during the building process, but it’s among the first considerations in the planning process. All of the homes we’re building right now are in subdivisions, which means that the restrictive covenants pretty much spell out what we can and can’t do when it comes to sculpting your yard. But we still work hard to make sure that we avoid a cookie cutter look when it comes to our landscape plans. Here’s how.
Creating a plan
In the Richmond market, we work exclusively with two landscaping contractors. Call it trial and error, call it attrition, call it what you will, but over time we’ve come to recognize our contractors as the best because of their expertise and efficiency.
That expertise is why we invite them to our meetings with the architectural review board to determine which landscape packages are appropriate for a new subdivision. The decisions get a little more complicated depending on whether we’re building townhomes, homes with zero lot lines or larger homes on substantial lots.
Making your yard beautiful and hearty
We work only with plant material that’s suited for the seasonal climates in which we build. Typically, that means boxwoods, box hollies, liriope, and ornamental grasses. In each yard if it is feasible, we like to include a couple of trees with 2.5-3” caliper trunks that we call “street trees.” Over the course of 12-15 years, these trees will mature and give the neighborhood an established look.
This is where the work comes in to avoid giving a subdivision a cookie-cutter feel. We use the same number of plants, all of equal size, in every yard. But the designs are unique and accent the contours of the lot, as well as the home being built. Some homeowners ask us upfront about the premium cost of our landscaping packages, but when they see the expertise with which the plans are developed and executed the value is apparent.
Upgrading your landscape package
The question of landscape upgrades is rare according to John Rice. He says, “Most people feel they can do this, and don’t want to roll the cost in with their mortgage. What we do in those instances is to build on the plan that’s already in place.”
One more thing
John also mentioned that he’s noticed an increase in popularity of raised beds and square foot gardening methods. He wanted to make sure we tell you that while these solutions can quickly add attractive features to your yard, you should be careful not to build them up against the side of your home due to the possibility of moisture build up in the foundation and crawl space.
Landscaping season is upon us, so we would love to hear about the things that you’re doing this year to improve or sustain the look of your yard. Let us know in the comments section below.