Posted on 07/17/2016

4 Essential Tips for Landscaping a New Construction Home

4 minute read

You’ve considered and decided every miniscule detail of your new home build from windows and doors down to the number of electrical outlets in each room, but now you have a whole new blank canvas to tackle, your landscaping. Here are some tips for starting out the process.

Turf Wars: Sod Versus Seed

Let’s start with the basics, especially if the view outside of your new home is, well, basically mud. Whether you choose to sod or seed will depend on multiple factors, including costs, lot size, time of year and your ability to water on a regular basis.

Using Sod

  • Cost: On average, between $0.50-$1.00 per square foot, according to LawnCare.Net.
  • Advantages: Instant turf, erosion control, can be planted anytime during the growing season as long as it is watered regularly, bypasses weed growth
  • Disadvantages: Heftier initial cost, less choices in types of grass, heavy watering needed in the beginning

Using Seed

  • Cost: On average, approximately 1 cent per square foot, according to LawnCare.Net.
  • Advantages: Inexpensive, wider variety of grass options
  • Disadvantages: Longer process, greater need for long-term weed maintenance and regular watering, shorter window for optimal planting (September is the best month to avoid weed germination)

Costs of Landscaping

A general rule of thumb is to spend 10 percent of what your home costs on landscaping. So a $200,000 home should have around $20,000 in landscaping. But that rule of thumb doesn’t say you have to spend it all upfront. Many homeowners desire to work – and budget – their design over time.

Completing your landscaping vision can easily be completed in phases. According to the Landscaping Network, you can work with a landscape designer to implement a project over a course of time, as long as you hit these major steps first:

  • The Design – this includes the timing and plan for individual contractors like those who need to install a pool, irrigation systems, wiring, retaining walls, etc.
  • The Surfacing – this includes completing all of the permanent foundations like your lawn, patios, walkways, etc.
  • The Trees – trees are a first step in phased landscaping because of the time it takes for your landscape to reap their benefits. Their shade cast will affect where you place your other plants down the road. If you’re not using a professional landscape designer, remember the rule of thumb for >planting trees. You want to keep trees as far away from foundation as they will grow in height. So a tree that matures at 20 feet tall should be kept at least 20 feet away from your house.

Getting Instant Gratification in New Home Landscaping

Like your home build, your landscape is going to take time to develop, complete and flourish. If you’re working with a blank canvas, begin with foundation plantings. Look for varieties that will give you four seasons of interest and are the right size and scale for your home design.

This Old House suggests evergreen varieties like Adromeda, Inkberry and Korean boxwood, as well as Endless Summer hydrangea and Summersweet for summer-flowering shrubs.

Plant flowering native perennials and ornamental grasses that bloom during different seasons.

Enlist a Pro

Even if you are an avid green thumb or DIY-er, a landscape architect or designer can be well worth the money when you’re working with a blank canvas. On average, landscape architect fees can range from $70 to $150 per hour, according to Home Advisor. Depending on your needs as a client, these fees can differ immensely.

If you want to do the work yourself in phases, hire a professional to help you with the plans and your timeline. Many landscape professionals will design your layout, give you a list of plants and trees to purchase and consult with you as needed. Others can be enlisted to be your foreman throughout the entire process.

You took every precaution to make sure your new construction home was a good investment. The same planning and precision should be taken into account when it comes to your landscaping. Afterall, landscaping can increase your property value by up to 12.7 percent, according to a Virginia Tech study.

For more DIY landscaping ideas, follow us on Pinterest.