Now that you've signed on the dotted line and are officially a homeowner, it's time to make the outside of your new home as inviting as the inside. New home builders might provide some landscaping basics to get you started, but you can certainly do some upgrades and personalization to boost curb appeal.
Not only can the right landscaping add functionality and flair to your home's exterior, it can also boost your home's value. Studies have shown that the right landscaping can increase property values by over 12% on average. So, it is worth the time and investment.
Here's how you can get started on landscaping your new home.
How to Start New Home Landscaping
New homes are filled with opportunities to improve space and make it your own. But landscaping can be a challenge, even for someone with a green thumb. These tips will help you carefully plan and execute your ideas for the perfect lawn and garden.
Learn the rules
In most new home communities, you'll be subject to a few rules. Before you begin tearing up the existing landscape or planting trees, check to see if your homeowner's association has anything to say about landscaping.
It's not uncommon for HOAs to have guidelines dictating the number of trees per front yard, what kind of flowers you can plant, or what types of trees and shrubs can be added. There might also be some HOA ordinances on things like grass height and fencing.
Set your budget
Figure out a budget for your landscaping project before you begin. As a general rule, landscaping should cost around 10% of your home's price, but some things—like grass, trees, and shrubs— may have been planted during the construction of your home, so you have something to build from. Having a figure in mind can help you choose the right items when it's time to go shopping.
Are the basics in place?
If you have a brand-new home surrounded by dirt, you have a major landscaping project ahead of you. When it comes to grass, you'll need to decide between sod and seed. While seed is much cheaper and offers you more variety, growing it is a longer process and takes more work than sod.
Design your new home landscaping
Now that you have a budget, it's time to create a vision for your new home's landscape. Even if you decide to contract out some or all of the work, you'll want to stay involved so that you get what you want out of the final product.
You should have a basic idea of how you will use your outdoor space and how it should look. Do you want open spaces or solitude? Will there be a focal point such as a swimming pool,gazebo, or outdoor kitchen?
New home landscaping plans should also include areas around the home such as flower beds. Your preferences should drive this process.
Understand your climate
It's important to understand that every region—and even different parts of a city—will vary in terms of what can and can't grow. You need to understand your area's climate as well as your particular sun and shade situation.
Map out your yard space on a sheet of paper so you can understand the characteristics of each section. Then you can choose plants and trees that will thrive instead of giving you headaches. Think about also planting some evergreen varieties close to the house to provide the right scale for your home along with year-round interest. This Old House suggests Inkberry, Korean boxwood, or Andromeda.
Install the landscaping
Installing your home's landscaping can be done all at once or in phases. Somethings to tackle first include the hardscape (patios, fountains, decks, fences), sprinkler systems, and grass. Then work on flower and garden beds, trees, and other details.
This can be a do-it-yourself job, or you can hire a contractor to give you a hand. A landscape architect helps with designs and can be incredibly valuable if you're working with a blank canvas.
Don't forget about maintenance
You don't want to spend thousands of dollars on new home landscaping and then lose your investment because you failed to maintain it. Flower beds need weeding, lawns need mowing and fertilizing, and shrubs should be trimmed. Have a plan in place for keeping up with these essential home care needs.
You put considerable time and effort into making sure your new home was a good investment. The same attention to detail should be dedicated to your new home's landscaping. Following these steps will help provide you with a healthy, usable outdoor space that increases your home's curb appeal.
Looking for other ways to make your new house uniquely yours? Check out other articles on New Home Guide's resources.