For homeowners who enjoy a bit of gardening, landscaping can be one of the most exciting parts of building a custom home.
When you buy a pre-built home, the landscaping is usually already well established, and often it doesn’t truly fit your style. Achieving the exterior look that you want may require additional time and money to remove existing plants and replace them with trees, bushes, and flowers that better suit your taste.
However, if you design your own custom home, you have the freedom to choose landscaping that fits your style—from formal and polished to casual and natural-feeling—and will stay beautiful for years to come. Better yet, you can choose the exact plants that will highlight your new home the best.
Landscaping in the Pacific Northwest
Gardening in this region of the country offers plenty of opportunities, as well as a few challenges. Although your landscaping will probably receive plenty of rain and benefit from healthy, nutrient-rich soil, you might find that certain plants struggle from a shortage of sunny days. Meanwhile, deer and harmful insects often decimate certain plants. That’s why it’s important to select plants carefully, to ensure they are well suited for the Pacific Northwest and for our unique climate.
Think about the types of plants that would highlight your custom home the best. While working through the design process, you might want to keep these ideas in mind:
Stick with native plants. By prioritizing plants that are native to the Pacific Northwest, you’ll ensure that your landscaping is easy to care for, requires minimal watering, and will look beautiful for many years. Easy-care native plants, such as goatsbeard, alpine strawberry, and broadleaf lupine, grow well in our soil and are relatively drought-tolerant. This means that even if we experience periods of little rain, you won’t be spending a lot of time and money watering your landscaping.
Discourage deer. Many homeowners struggle to keep deer from eating ornamental plants—particularly when landscaping is young and in the summer, when annuals are just getting established. And while few plants are 100 percent deer-proof, opting for certain ones can help improve your chances of deterring deer. By doing just a bit of research, you can find a wide variety that produce vivid flowers amid deer-resistant foliage. Better Homes & Gardens recommends bellflower, corydalis, foxglove, and epimedium, among others.
Ensure lots of color. Most areas in the Pacific Northwest enjoy plenty of moisture, which leads to verdant greens and incredible flowers. Make the most of our climate by planting perennial shrubs and bushes that will flower year after year, such as primroses and pink flowering currant. Mix in a few evergreens, like sword fern, which gives you rich color and interesting texture all year long. Then, each summer you can fill in gaps in your landscaping and add extra pops of color by tucking summer-blooming tubers, bulbs, and corms into your flower beds. We love the look of dahlias, lilies, and cannas.
Incorporate herbs. As the soil warms up during the summer months, consider adding a few herbs to your landscaping. Not only will you enjoy their beautiful flowers and textures, but you’ll also have a chance to add garden-fresh herbs to your cooking and baking. Dill, basil, chives, parsley, and fennel create eye-catching borders for flower beds while attracting beneficial insects (which deter many harmful insects). Thyme provides expansive ground cover, while rosemary and lavender do well in moist soil or in terra cotta containers.
With a bit of planning, you can ensure that your landscaping looks lush and beautiful in the summer—and throughout the rest of the year. Landscaping for a custom home shouldn’t be a mere afterthought. The right combination of trees, shrubs, bushes, and flowers will complement the beauty of your new custom home and make it feel truly unique.
Ready to start exploring custom home options? View our floorplan and elevation options to see what design would work best for you.