Landscape and Garden Design Basics for New Homeowners

As a new homeowner, you have a unique opportunity to not only perfect the inside, but also the outside of your property. The basics of landscape and garden design may seem elusive at first. However, there are a few basics that every homeowner can take advantage of. Assuming you are starting with a blank canvas, you should begin with what are called foundation plantings. These can stay in place for up to 15 years and include a variety of plants and shrubs that can provide shade and beauty.

Start with the Foundation

Evergreen shrubs should cover at least 50 percent of the plantings you do. These help to maintain the color and texture of your landscaping all year long. Smaller flowering shrubs and bushes can be blended in. You can consider ornamental grasses and flowering perennials. Another interesting option is to pick plants that bloom during different seasons, so there is always something happening in your garden.

Be Careful with Placement

Trees should be planted as far away from the foundation as possible. As they grow taller, the roots will get closer to your home. If a tree is expected to mature at 20 feet tall, don’t plant it closer than that distance to the structure.

The timing of placement is another consideration. It helps to know the lighting, draining, and privacy levels for all times of the year. Therefore, you should wait at least a year after moving in to embark on any major landscaping projects. Many landscaping mistakes occur because people are unfamiliar with their new environment and pick the wrong elements for the wrong places.

Include Hardscaping in Your Budget

Landscaping isn’t only about plants. You’ll want to decide on where patios, decks, pools, retaining walls, fences, walks, and other elements will go and how they will be configured. Put together, these should add up to about 10 percent of the home’s value. Swimming pools and more extensive patios may require changes to your homeowners’ policy, so talk to an insurance agent to see if damage and liability are covered.

To create a desired mood for the evenings, use outdoor lighting. These lightings systems should be installed with all other hardscaping elements, so cables and other equipment can be properly concealed. There are complete kits that help you do this. Low voltage spotlights can highlight certain plants you want to focus on, while oil lights keep insects away. Lighting should always be added to walkways and near steps.

Hire a Landscape Architect

Although it might add to the cost, hiring a professional for design and implementation can yield the best possible landscape. They can present you with designs, plant lists, and a plan for staging the project. During the process, always be sure you know where existing cables, pipes, and other utility assets are underground. Architects should know this as well, but if you know the design basics, you can pick anything you want from Pete Rose Landscape Supply and your garden and exterior landscaping will be free of mistakes.