Landscape And Real Estate Makeover

By Keith Markensen

Special consideration should be given to the garden potential by anyone buying a new home. This is a factor all too often ignored by purchasers who later regret their lack of foresight. You should, at the very least, be aware of the garden problems your new home will present.

Desirable Features

Whether you intend to move to a rural or to an urban area, there are certain qualities you will want your property to have. You want soil with good drainage, and land contour that can be graded without too great expense. The best type of property in these respects would be one that is gently rolling; it offers little likelihood of poor drainage, yet is not sloped enough to cause erosion. A perfectly flat piece of land can appear to be ideal for a garden, but you should first check the subsoil condition to make sure there is no "hard pan" (that is, a layer of hard-packed soil impervious to the passage of water), or even solid rock, just a few inches below the surface.

If you are considering buying an older home with an established planting, do not fail to consider the cost of replacing overgrown or unattractive shrubbery when figuring estimates of any contemplated remodeling. Correcting the landscaping mistakes of previous owners can be a costly and strenuous job.

Custom Building

The person who owns his piece of land but has not yet started to build his home is, of course, in the best position of all to plan his landscape. In that case, one of the most important decisions that can be made concerns the location of the house on the lot. It is never wise to place it in the exact center of the land area. Not only does this make the land look smaller, it also cuts the efficient use of the remainder of the property.

Where a property is less than 150 feet deep, it is wise to squeeze the home as close to the street line as possible. This allows more room in the rear of the house for development of the private and service areas of the garden, as will be explained in detail later on. One piece of good fortune enjoyed by the custom builder is that he can conserve both money and soil by judicious location of the driveway and walk. He has the added opportunity to locate his house in relation to valuable existing trees on the site.

The Pre-Built Home

It is not, however, impossible to find many or most of the desirable features of garden design in an older home, or one already put up by a builder. Besides the advantage of lower initial cost, you may also find a home where terracing, old trees, mature bushes for privacy and you can put hearty house plants, have all been incorporated. Although you are then deprived of the pleasure of making your own individual basic design, you will perhaps find equal enjoyment and certainly much less work in devising modifications of what is already there.

As a gardener, therefore, you will look for a pre-built house that is already well landscaped. Or, failing that, you will look for one whose garden you can transform without the arduous task of uprooting most of the existing vegetation. - 29857

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