Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Assessing a House's Landscape while Buying and Selling

Buying a home is not all about inspecting just the structure. You should also assess various aspects of the landscape if you want to get value for money. Here are some factors, which if kept in mind, will help you get a good deal:
  • Know the soil: The type of soil your potential home has will have a crucial effect on your water bills and landscaping efforts. For example, if you are looking forward to owning a lush landscape, but have a sandy soil, water will drain quickly, making your water bills climb higher in your effort to have that green patch. Again, if the region often gets heavy rains and the landscape is made up of clay soil, your yard may be under puddles of water for hours or days if your drainage system is not up to the mark.
  • Check the drainage: As mentioned earlier, poor drainage can lead to flooding problems, which in turn will create other problems like cracked foundations etc. In case you find any problems with the drainage system, make sure to ask the sellers to fix the problem before discussing the deal any further.
  • Test the type of mulch: Depending on how much effort and money you are ready to invest for your landscape once you have bought the home, it pays to check the type of mulch used. For example, though rock mulch needs less maintenance, it can be extremely expensive once it does as a lot of labor will be involved. So, decide whether you want to think about the long-term benefits, or just the short term savings are good enough to make a choice.
  • Size and position of the trees: Did you know that strategic placement of trees can direct winds and offer shade during the summer months, while allowing enough sunlight to seep into during the winter? If not, its time to take note. Remember that favorable placement of the trees would help you keep your AC and thermostat bills down. However, make sure that the trees aren’t too close to your doors and windows, or that their roots don’t run too deep into the grounds to pose a threat to the house’s foundation. Checking other factors like whether the trees are healthy, if their roots and stems pose any danger or discomfort to the people taking the sidewalks etc are also important. Plants and trees that need a lot of effort to prune and maintain, or harbor allergenic pollens are better avoided.
  • Water features: Though ponds, fountains, and other water features are a beautiful sight to behold, you shouldn’t forget about taking a close look at them. Starting from checking if pumps and lights work the right way, and whether the fountains are able to hold water without any seepage, to how well the electric components are installed, everything should be assessed, preferably by an experienced landscape professional.
  • Landscape lighting: In case you plan to use the outdoors during the evening or at night, it’s important to check the lighting system, and find how functional it is. In case you are not too sure about assessing them on your own, you can hire a landscape contractor to do the job on your behalf.
While these factors should be assessed by all home buyers, sellers too can use them as yardsticks to find if anything is wrong with their landscape or there’s some scope for improvement. By fixing things up, and improving the landscape, sellers can get a much better value for their abode.

So, do your homework well, make a list of the landscape features you should assess, and then investigate with hawk eyes before signing the deal.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

How Water Could Influence Your Landscaping

Gardens and lawns are increasingly becoming an integral part of homes as people are looking to make them more interesting and inviting. Starting from taking refuge into the greens from the daily grind, to hosting parties and barbecues to have a great time with friends and family, people are putting their turfs to good use. No wonder that the demand for professional landscaping services is on a steady rise as these experts can not only help you advice about the type of water feature your landscape would look best with, but also assist you to choose the right placement and options that fit your needs and budget. 

If you are still wondering why you need to add a water feature to your landscape, there are many reasons to do so. To begin with, the aesthetic appeal of your landscape will get greatly enhanced by adding a water element to it. Apart from giving your space a distinctive character of its own, water features could also act as a focal point of your garden. There are a wide variety of water features available in the market, from which you can take your pick. Starting from small fountains and water gardens, to cascading waterfalls and winding riverbeds, you can have them all and more to choose from. You may even add fishes or grow aquatic plants to make the entire setting look more appealing. Water features can often act as a point of attraction for wildlife, though owners may prefer to enclose their water features by boundaries to prevent stray animals and the neighbor’s pet from getting access to the place.

Here are some ideas for installing water features in your landscape, which if done the right way, can add an element of beauty and serenity to your outdoors:
  • Water Fountains: This is one of the most common ways of enhancing the beauty of your landscape. You can make it more interesting by getting it surrounded by a rock garden or a flower bed. You can install such fountains amidst a flower bed, or beside a fence line or garden wall. Such a water feature can add unmatched dimension and some color to your garden.
  • Waterfalls: Do you love the sound of rushing water? If yes, this is your best bet. If you have an elevated section on your landscape, you can ask your landscape professional to install a waterfall there which would flow into your swimming pool or pond, if you have either of them. Alternately, you can use medium and large-sized boulders like quartz or river rocks to create a slope for your waterfall.
  • Water Gardens: If you have a penchant for growing unusual plants and nurturing fishes, you can opt for a water garden. This will give you the chance to create your own unique ecosystem complete with aquatic plants and fishes. Such gardens will give you the perfect excuse for cultivating cape-pondweed, water chestnut, water lilies, floating heart – an exotic variety of aquatic plant etc to make your landscape stand apart from that of others’.
  • River Rock Riverbed: You can ask the landscape company your have hired to create this rustic water feature with a distinct look where the water is guided to flow into the riverbed. You may either opt for a riverbed that flows along the perimeter of your property or make it situated at the heart of your garden, which acts as a focal point of attraction.
Though you can always learn to install a water feature the DIY way, it’s advisable to get it done by hiring an experienced and reliable landscaping professional. This way, you can rest assured of value for money and a structure that will keep you and your guests enthralled for a long time to come