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Old 10-15-2012, 10:10 AM
284 posts, read 516,559 times
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So our new house will be under construction soon and I will have the task of completing the backyard landscaping on my own. Has anyone else landscaped their backyard from scratch? Any recommendations or ideas of what to do?

Any recommendations for a good fencing company? A good nursery to buy trees?
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:33 PM
Location: Berkeley Neighborhood, Denver, CO USA
17,708 posts, read 29,808,528 times
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Default get expert advice

Spend the money on having a landscape architect DESIGN it.
You can implement as your budget allows.

Would you built a house without a set of plans?
Of course not.
Landscaping is the same.
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:53 AM
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We built two homes and the first one we did the backyard landscaping ourselves and the second house we got several bids and paid tons of money to landscape it professionally. I personally think you can landscape it yourself, just depends on the vision you have, how much sweat you want to put into it and hugely varies depending on how much you like plants and maintaining a yard. Most important thing, less is MORE. Don't over do it on the plant material (which I did with the professional installation) and now have way too much stuff to maintain. You can always add to it. Be careful not to change the drainage around the foundation and yard. For fencing, I recommend split rail fence company.

1st house, once fenced, we did a river rock border along the fence line (added some blue spruces, crab apples and other trees and plants) and then grass in the middle. We negotiated the sprinkler be installed by the builder, we had at least a 10x10 patio poured by a cement contractor and a walkway to the side gate. Perfectly fine for our 1st ever home and honestly more than most people put in.

2nd house we had several estimates and picked one of the less expensive ones and they installed grass, sprinklers, trees, sidewalks, red flagstone steps, fire pit and water feature. I would absolutely want a fire pit again but I would never do a water feature with a pond again. I like landscaping and plants so much I think most of what we had installed I could have done on my own or found the contractors to do the bits I couldn't. While decks are nice, they are a ton of maintenance and I would prefer a really nice patio next time.
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Old 10-31-2012, 12:59 PM
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I went through this in 2005 with a new home.

If you need it fenced, it may be best to have the landscaper also do the fencing. If you have separate contractors for each job, then at a minimum you want them to coordinate closely. A landscaper will want the fence to wait until after they get done as usually they need to get their skid-loaders into the property to move dirt around and to place rocks and boulders.

Pay close attention to slope and drainage so that all water drains away from the structure. Smart move is to connect downspouts into a drainage line ( aka French Drain ) to move that water off the property and keep it from going into your foundation and causing soil to expand and move your slabs. This part of the job needs to note the slope of neighboring lots. If they slope towards you that needs to be included in your plans, and if those slopes are steep, it is critical to address asap in landscape and construction planning.

If there's radon in the ground, you might want to have remediation tubes placed under the foundation, NOW, when it's cheapest to do.

COLO state law now allows you to xeriscape the entire lawn, no matter what any HOA covenants require in the way of water-hungry grass.

Side issue: If it's not too late, specify the 50-year hail-resistent shingles on the roof. We've a large home and it only adds $1000-$1500 to the price of the roofing. The normal 25-30 year standard asphalt shingles often are ruined by a good strong hail storm. We've replaced our roof TWICE since 2005 (2007 and 2011) and now have the 50-year shingles in place.
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