Although it might not be the first thing you think of when building a new home, the landscaping is one of the first things people notice. It also takes time for newly planted flowers, shrubs, and trees to fill out and look natural in their new setting. Whether you decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor, you need to plan the landscaping early in the process so that you’re not stuck with barren soil surrounding your beautiful new home.
Start With a Plan
There’s more to consider with landscaping than just planting a few perennials, especially if you have never done it before. Landscaping includes features such as:
- Boulders and stones
- Flowers, plants, shrubs, and trees
- Pergolas, benches, and other structures
- Water features
Think about how you plan to use your exterior spaces surrounding your home. For example, different areas might be used for:
- Entertaining guests
- Vegetable gardening
- Quiet spaces
- Security or privacy
- Swimming or other exercise
Your landscaping is also an expression of your style, so think about what you want the exterior of your home to reflect. Do you want the random beauty of wildflowers, or structured elegance? Is your yard a welcome haven for children, or a formal setting for outdoor luncheons? No matter how you want to do your landscaping, it’s important to start with a plan and then decide whether you are going to do the work yourself or hire a contractor.
Do it Yourself
The biggest advantages to doing the landscaping yourself are saving money and getting exactly what you want. Of course, this is only true if you have the skills to do what you want to do. When you do it yourself, you can also take a phased approach that lets you get all of the features you want over time. This can be more budget-friendly and also less stressful in terms of the work.
If you do decide to phase in various projects, it’s a good idea to prioritize basic features such as sod, trees, shrubs, and flowerbeds. These are all relatively easy for a DIYer to install, and they give your new home some personality.
One of the disadvantages of doing the landscaping yourself is potentially letting the project drag on for too long. This is especially true if you have limited time to do the work. Chipping away at the landscape on weekends will eventually get the job done, but it might be a longer period of time before your house looks the way you want.
Hire a Contractor
Hiring a contractor to do the landscaping for your new home might cost a little more, but in general, the job will get done faster and with expert skills. In addition to professionals who can do the work, you might also consider hiring a landscape designer during the planning stages. Landscaping a new home requires considering a lot of details you might not know about, such as:
- Where the sunny and shady areas will be
- Which plants do best in sun and shade
- Which direction the wind most often comes from
- Soil quality
- Which flowers bloom during which seasons
- Irrigation and drainage issues
- Wiring for lighting and irrigation systems
- Retaining walls to prevent erosion
- Sustainable gardening
A little planning and a small investment can go a long way when landscaping a new home, especially for improving its resale value. On the other hand, rookie mistakes can potentially cause larger problems such as flooding or runoff issues. Consulting with a landscaping professional can save you some headaches down the road, especially if you have never done it before.
Of course, there is a hybrid approach that includes hiring contractors for some of the work and doing the rest of it yourself. Working with a designer early in the process and having a contractor do some of the higher-level work can be a cost-effective solution that allows you to get the landscaping you want within your budget.