Because the outdoor living space is an extension of the home’s interior, it should be cultivated to ensure the most enjoyable experience possible. Planning and designing a beautifully landscaped yard does not have to overwhelm you.
Working with a home builder and a landscaping specialist can help take some of the burden off your shoulders. When you purchase a custom-built home, you have the opportunity to give the landscaping your own personal touch. Use these landscaping design ideas to create the appearance and functionality you’re looking for.
When designing your new yard, try to think about how you want to use it. Do you want to BBQ? If so, a deck off the house would be a great option. Do you have active kids who need a place to play? If so, you’ll want to incorporate playground equipment or flat areas to play soccer. Are you a budding gardener who likes to grow your own food? If so, consider where you might want to add some raised beds.
Knowing what you want will help you even before you purchase your new home. It will help you choose the right lot to incorporate all the elements you want and can also help you when you’re talking to builders about your new home. Builders typically offer deck packages, fence packages and landscaping certifications to purchase plants and materials at the time of purchase. When you know what you want, then you’ll be able to choose the right package or packages for you.
Once you’ve chosen your lot and home design, the fun part of designing your yard can begin. You’ll now know the space that you’ll be working with, and you can start to incorporate all the amazing features that you want in your outdoor space. If you don’t want to tackle your own landscaping, then hire a landscape specialist to create the look and feel you want. Whichever option you choose, you’ll need to follow a few guidelines to protect your home and ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Plan, Plan, Plan
As with any large project, planning is key. Proper planning will help you get the full picture of what you intend to create and how to go about achieving that goal; it will also help you avoid annoying and costly mistakes.
One of the first things you’ll want to do is take your ‘wish list’ of features you’d like to include in your yard, and decide what you want to do immediately and what you’re willing to wait on. You may have a clear idea about what you want, or like many landscaping projects, you may want to let it evolve. Seeing how your family uses the yard and observing the natural features in it, may give you a different perspective than your initial concept.
Next you’ll want to start to see where you want to put all these elements. Proper landscaping requires preparation of the location to ensure success. Ask your builder about the grade slip and soil type on your property, plus find out about the foundation height of your house. The grade and drainage patterns need to be maintained so it is an important part of determining the best location for landscaping.
You will also want to discuss the location of eavestroughs and downspouts for your landscaping plan. It would be terrible to wake up one rainy morning only to discover the rainwater from the downspout has washed away your heirloom tulips!
Determining your beds, shrubbery, gardens, walkway and more can instantly transform your yard design. However, before you plant any trees, you’ll want to take size into consideration. The last thing you want is a tree too close to the house and possibly causing damage to your foundation.
Thinking about your landscape plan during the design stage of your new home build will give you better chances to work with the builder so you can build the home around your yard. Choosing larger windows can give you a better view of a planned deck or arbor while outdoor natural gas lines can provide a source of fuel for a barbecue system.
As with many other aspects of home design and construction, zoning laws and bylaws need to be considered when drafting your design. Calgary bylaws are designed to guide homeowners on how they should maintain and care for any landscaping they may choose to install on their property.
For example, if you are planning on implementing trees and shrubs in your design, they must be situated appropriately to prevent interference with pedestrians and vehicles accessing the streets or alleys surrounding your property.
Also, the construction of certain outdoor features such as a patio, deck, or pergola may require a permit. Be sure to check with the Planning Services Support Centre if you are unsure about the legality of your landscape plan.
Before you start anything, however, you need your grade certificate. This comes from your builder, and it confirms that the elevation and grade of the land are within the city’s guidelines. They have to be signed by a professional land surveyor, engineer, or architect.
Be sure to explore all of your options thoroughly before you make your final decision. Some of the most popular trends today include pergolas, low-maintenance stone patios, and nature-scapes, such as rock gardens or ponds.
Something else to keep in mind – once your grade is done and approved (as mentioned above!) you’ll need to preserve items like a swale on your property and incorporate it into your landscape plans.
What is a swale? Well, to keep it simple, it is a basic shallow trench that ensures proper drainage of rainwater or snowmelt. Swales can be the way your yard is graded or can be made of concrete. Regardless, it is up to you as the homeowner to take care of them. If they become damaged, for instance by tree roots, then you’ll be responsible for the cost to repair it.
Remember that landscaping requires a certain amount of upkeep to ensure its health and longevity. Be realistic about the amount of work you are willing to put into your yard on a regular basis. Using ground covers, low-maintenance lawns, and native plant species can play a large role in decreasing the amount of time you will need to spend on maintenance.
Planting flowers is also a wonderful way to keep your yard looking great without excessive maintenance. Flower gardens go through many seasons of their own in the course of a blooming season. Mixing flowers with different blooming times will give you a colourful display throughout the year.
A yard that is designed well and carefully planned out is one that you can thoroughly enjoy. You want to be able to produce great results and yet not reveal how the results were achieved, leaving your neighbours envious of your beautifully landscaped yard. Remember to talk to your builder at the start and include any packages you want at time of purchase, so you can make informed decisions right from the start.