When planning how to landscape your new home, the very first thing you need to do is to create a plan of your property.
As a starting point, you can use the site plan your builder gave you when you purchased the home. You can reproduce it accurately to scale, using a ruler and graph paper, or you can utilize a particular software program. There are many that you can download from the web.
The following are the most popular programs:
So, How To Landscape Around Your New Home?
The most important thing you need to include in the plan is which areas are full sun, part shade, part sun, part shade, or full shade. Full sun means six or more hours of direct sun every day. Have in mind that the angle of the sun shifts as the growing season proceeds. And the length of the growing season depends on your geographic location.
The growing season falls between the spring equinox on March 21 and the fall equinox on September 21. June 21, the summer solstice, is the apex at which the days are longest, and the Sun is highest in the sky.
So don’t despair if you discover in late March that an area where you want to plant full-sun flowers only receives five hours of the sun; the sun will continue to climb higher in the sky until June 21, then slowly wane after that. It may take you one or two days of checking all areas of your yard at different times of day to ascertain how much sun they receive and when. Be aware of how shade shifts throughout the day from trees and structures.
All Plants Don’t Grow Everywhere
The next critical pieces of information you need are your soil type and your hardiness zone. What kind of soil do you have? Sandy? Loam? Clay? You may have build flower beds with supplemented soil. Next, locating your geographic area in a hardiness zone will help you determine what plants will thrive in your climate, and when you can plant them.
Now you have the four primary pieces of reality that you need: a chart, sun and shade patterns, soil type and hardiness zone. The next step is interfacing your gardening dreams with the constraints of reality! To find the magical place where reality and your desires overlap, you must ask yourself several questions:
Would you like more shade? That calls for planting trees. What kinds of trees do you like, ornamental, evergreen or hardwood? How fast do they grow? How much shade will they provide? Plan ahead; plant flowers that require more sun far enough away from a future mature tree’s shade.
Do you want privacy? That calls for planting shrubbery, bushes, trees or tall grasses. How much privacy you want will dictate which types of plants to use. For example, evergreen trees provide a thicker barrier than hardwoods.
Will you have an area for relaxing and entertaining? Do you have walkways? Be sure not to use plants that will impede walking or seating space.
Do you want a manicured, formal look and feel? That calls for particular plants, straight lines, and purchased decorative items. Or do you want a more casual feel? That calls for wildflowers, flowing lines and unusual decorations such as handmade items, found objects or antiques.
Do you want to make a tiny space seem bigger? That calls for flowing lines and some tall plants to draw the eye upward to the expansive sky. Or do you want a big space to seem cozier? White flowers, decorative paths and seating areas will help.
Once you answer those questions, you can move on to the fun part, deciding which plants to use!
What are your favorite types of plants? More annuals than you could get your hands dirty planting in a season? Or lots of perennials that you can admire all summer while sitting on your tush sipping lemonade? Or mostly perennials with a few annuals thrown in to get the spring gardening bug out of your system?
Do you prefer high-maintenance or low-maintenance plants? Do you mind thinning irises or pruning roses?
Are you concerned with using primarily native plants? Or do you mind using a few non-native plants? Native plants withstand local weather conditions most favorable.
Do you want to attract as many birds and butterflies as possible?
Do you want something blooming during every part of the season? From bulb plants coming up in spring to say hello, such as crocus, tulips, and hyacinths, to hardy mums that bloom well into fall?
Do you want intoxicating fragrance from plants such as roses, lilacs or sweet pea vines?
What are your favorite types of flowers? Be very specific. Daisies? Petunias? Coneflowers? Delphiniums? Sunflowers? Coreopsis? Clematis?
What are your favorite colors? Deep, vibrant colors such as purples and burgundies? Pastels? Or do you like to mix it up?
Once you find the common ground of reality and your gardening goals, you can experiment with your chart. Make several photocopies of it and play with different themes, colors and designs. This is an excellent way to enjoy yourself if you’re itching to get into the garden, but it’s still snowing outside! And it facilitates interweaving all the various levels of gardening to achieve your landscaping dreams.
What Not to Plant Near Your Home
While planning your landscaping, you want to be careful not to plant some plants too close to your home. This includes trees with large roots, some shrubs, and ivy. If you want to incorporate flower beds immediately adjacent to your home, you should be sure that they’re evenly distributed around the perimeter of the house.
Tree roots can wreak havoc on your home’s foundation and your septic system. If you ever need to sell your home, nothing will make its value, and the ability to sell it, plummet like a cracked foundation.
Tree roots can also damage your plumbing system, causing it to clog or back up. This leaves you with the worst kind of mess possible in your home, an overflowing toilet or backed up sewage in your basement.
Tree branches can also hang over shingles, scraping them away during growth or high winds. Not only is a leaky roof a huge inconvenience, but it also paves the way for structural damage and internal mildew, which can become toxic.
Consequently, trees should be set no closer to your house than a length equal to half the height the mature tree will be.
As a rule, large trees should be located at least twenty feet away from your house. Some mature trees can drink 100 gallons of water from the soil in just one day! This can cause the earth and your home’s foundation to sink.
How To Landscape Your New Home – What About The Shrubs?
Shrubs are another item that should be planted several feet away from the house. They can grow very thick and quickly, and therefore, they can destroy siding by scraping or staining it. If, it’s near impossible to get between shrubs and the house, they’re planted too closely.
As for ivy, it can work its way into the smallest of cracks, potentially damaging your brick, stone or siding. Ivy also shelters pests such as mice and slugs.
On the other hand, it’s safe to place flower beds next to your home. Though, they should be evenly spread. Having a flower bed on one side of your house only, will affect soil moisture content and may affect the foundation.
And be cautious not to use plants that need a huge amount of water. That’s because keeping areas immediately next to the house continually saturated may freeze, cause the soil to expand, and crack your foundation. Regular watering from a soaker hose laid 18 inches to two feet from the house around your home’s perimeter is a good thing.
Wise landscaping will help you add to your home’s beauty and value, rather than decreasing it!