Any homeowner will tell you, no matter what the age of your home, you’re probably never going to be “done.” Painting, furnishing, repairs, redecorating, renovating, enhancing different elements, and finally, just maintaining it – we all have that endless “honey do” list to tackle around and outside the house. Still, we can get ourselves into trouble if we focus too much on the “to do” and not enough on what happens if things aren’t done correctly in the first place.
Homes settle over time and the impact of one project can cause a chain reaction that may have you scrambling to fix a new problem, either right away or even years later. A beautiful landscape you have installed by a “professional landscaper” may eventually result in cracks in your foundation and water in your basement if you fall to the fate of hiring an uneducated contractor.
Any person you hire to do landscaping – or any contract work for that matter – should have a basic understanding of math, geometry, chemistry, physics, and other elements of the earth sciences. Your landscaper must ensure the trees and shrubs chosen for your property are spaced appropriately away from any existing structures so the roots do not disrupt the existing foundations, while any climbing vines should typically be kept away from chimneys and walls as well. Anyone you hire to do work around your home should have the foresight to understand what could happen and to prevent problems down the road with other aspects of your home.
Anticipating Proper Drainage
Everything we do interacts with the earth, especially in terms of landscaping projects. When choosing plants, trees and landscape architecture for your property, it is extremely important to consider how everything will react with your home as well as the soil and how the water will drain once everything is installed. Knowing the age of a home gives insight into the amount of compaction the soil’s already undergone, while a newer home that hasn’t yet settled may face more issues with settling and drainage in the coming years than an older home. A skilled landscaper can choose the best building method to prevent these issues from occurring; and should also be in tune with related trades such as weatherproofing, flashing to keep water out, and load bearing on the basement walls.
Preventing Structural Damage
Trees, shrubs, and other plants placed in the wrong locations can result in cracked foundations, broken sidewalks and uneven patios. Roots press up against structures and apply too much pressure for the construction to withstand; often resulting in damage that also poses safety hazards or calls for costly repairs and reinforcement. The better plan is to work with a capable landscape contractor to rule out any issues with structural damage before the job even begins.
Before you begin a landscaping project, you should have a good idea of how long you’d like it to last. Some shrubs and trees look beautiful in a magazine but they may not be the right choice for the location you anticipate. Some trees may not work on the corner of your home unless you’re planning to rip them out before they overstay their welcome.
Shrubs next to a sidewalk need ample space to grow and expand or they may overwhelm the walking space. Forcing a particular tree, shrub or plant into a place that isn’t quite right can be more trouble than it’s worth, so look to a knowledgeable landscaper to suggest similar options that won’t compromise your home or the lifetime of your landscaping.
Also, beware of taking free plants from friends and neighbors. What appears to be a sweet, innocent flower or plant with lovely foliage may truly be an insidious vine waiting to overtake your entire garden bed. Some maintenance will be required to keep your gardens in the same beautiful shape as when you first start them, so speak with your landscaper about the level of effort you are willing to expend. Knowledge is the key to keeping your home and your landscaping design looking as beautiful ten years from now as it does on the day your landscaping first came to life.
Outgrowing Your Landscape Plan
Though not as specific as the issues above, not looking at the full lifetime of your landscaping design can leave you with costly tree removal, renovations to your outdoor living space, home and structural repair, and other expenses.
Try to look at your home and property with a focus on the big picture, namely, the time you plan to live there, however long that may be. Think of changes you’d make to your property when you have children or when your children become teenagers or go off to college, or even when you retire. Will the landscaping design you’re considering now still satisfy all those tangential wants and needs? A well-designed, focused landscape architecture by a professional company will allow your family to grow and evolve without having to redo your entire home and surrounding settings to accommodate the changes life demands.
Most of the problems that occur related to the interaction between landscaping and the home are predictable and preventable. An experienced, educated landscaping architect will be able to guide you in anticipating possible issues with your landscape and your home. Contact Chestnut Hill Landscaping Contractors for a quote on your dream landscaping design today.