Landscaping Your Modular Home

By: Mike Zenga
You may think of landscaping as only grass, plants and trees; but in reality it is so much more. As with landscaping for a site-built home, your modular home also requires advanced planning to meet your wishes and needs. Items that need attention include the grading of your lot, "soft" landscaping, "hard" landscaping, soil characteristics, lighting and the actual layout in relation to other fixed structures and boundaries. By having a landscape plan, you can successfully address all of these issues which adds even more enjoyment to your modular home.

First, you need to consider how water is channeled away from your home and its foundation yet still supply your greenery with hydration. Hard surfaces like driveways and sidewalks offer little to no resistance to water drainage, and these areas should always direct water away from your home. In addition, rain spouts must be properly funneled away from your home to prevent similar problems. In contrast, irrigation of your lawn and plants must be assured. Whether it is through proper grading or through installation of an irrigation system, this will preserve your investment in your home's landscape.

Soft landscaping refers to your choice of plants, trees and flowers. Do you enjoy gardening and yard work, or would you prefer a maintenance-free landscape? This may influence which plants are selected. In addition, their placement is crucial as larger plants can block windows while others may block drainage from rain spouts. Possibly a "green" barrier between you and your neighbor is preferred. This helps you design which soft landscaping you need.

Hard landscaping details where patios, walkways, and driveways will be located. This is clearly a personal preference depending on your needs. Maybe a large patio is desired because you frequently entertain outside. Or maybe you prefer a natural setting with abundant gardens and want to minimize "hard" structures. Your decision to incorporate pools, ponds, and fences also factor in to your landscape design.

Lighting is also important though it is often overlooked in the planning process. Addressing this before your lawn is installed and while electrical lines are being placed can save a lot of headaches later on. Whether it is lighting walkways or highlighting garden areas, lighting can really accentuate a home.

It may indeed be in your best interest to hire a landscape designer who can work with your vision of your yard and develop your own landscape plan. This can address pre-existing items such as utility poles, existing trees and plants, property lines, compass directions in relation to your home's footprint, and your preferred degree of maintenance involvement. A landscape designer can also save significant money by helping you choose plants and landscape within your budget. These items can add up quickly if you are not knowledgeable about their costs.

The most important thing is to plan ahead. Trying to complete your landscape at a later time usually increases the costs and also the degree of effort needed. The expense of a landscape design and plan usually pays for itself simply by avoiding these truly unnecessary pitfalls
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