When designing a new house or renovating an existing home, the design and build process can be lengthy and sometimes overwhelming. Decisions need to be made constantly. The style of home, the square footage, the floor plan and the building materials are usually of the utmost concern. Coupled with the daily requirements of work, family and domestic tasks, you may wonder how you are going to make it through the process. One’s initial response may be to limit the amount of decisions that need to be made by focusing on the most important aspects. Thinking about where the driveway will be located, how a deck or patio might fit into the picture, the location of a future pool or play space in the backyard, become secondary.

The design team for building new or renovating typically consists of an architect, a builder and homeowner. By including a landscape architect in this group early on you get a complete interior and exterior design team that can help the homeowner to fully develop their vision for the house and how they plan to use the space – inside and out. This type of collaboration results in the creation of a master plan that incorporates all the homeowners’ current and future desires. It also enables the homeowner to prioritize and phase-in portions of the plan over time as their budget allows. It will also prevent costly duplication of efforts down the road.

Landscape architects can assess a property to best situate a new home to allow the maximum amount of sunlight to reach the home and to take advantage of the best possible views. They can assess current plant materials and help to incorporate that 150 year old oak tree that is hidden just beyond the tree line. They will arrange the driveway so that it does not become a focal point of the property but instead flows gracefully while providing enough parking, play areas and appropriate turnarounds.

Having a landscape architect review the plans for the house itself may also prevent you from locating the septic system in or near the optimal location for the (future) pool or help you to position a window to best view a (future) water feature. Or, if the property is sloped so that basement of the house can accommodate a walk-out basement, you may want to consider adding a few yards of concrete to the footing of the house and adding a set of French doors. Because, when you do get around to finishing the basement, wouldn’t it be great to have a patio with a hot tub, barbeque and intimate seating area integrated with the basement?

Including a landscape architect on the design team can help to make sure that any imminent or future exterior projects are taken into account and not made cost prohibitive. In the end, the goal is the same for all – optimal land use at minimal expense.

by Geffrey Redick, RLA
Redbud Development, Inc.