When it comes to planning for your new home, landscaping your backyard may not even be on your radar. Sure, you know the builder will be adding sod, a fence and maybe a covered patio, but is that all you want your backyard to be?
Your new backyard is a blank canvas, just waiting for you to decide what form it will take. It should be your retreat and an extension of your indoor living space. Above all, it should be a place you want to spend time.
Not sure how to get started? We’ve got a few tips to help get your creative juices going:
How Do You Want to Live?
Before you start sketching your ultimate backyard on the back of a napkin, consider how you plan to use it. Are you thinking barbecue party pad or relaxed weekends by the pool? Do you need a level space to kick around a soccer ball? What about a play structure for young children? Maybe you dream of raised garden beds and hanging pots of herbs. No matter what your priorities are, remember that your needs may change 10 years down the road, so build some flexibility into your plans.
Most landscapers agree that your backyard should be divided along the same lines as the common areas of your home. There should be a kitchen area where your grill lives, a dining area and conversational areas similar to your living and family rooms. Dividing your space this way can make even the smallest backyard seem huge.
Your builder can give you a head start. All Jordan Ranch builders offer options for built-in summer kitchens and extended patios. Many also offer outdoor fireplaces allowing you to create a cozy summer seating area.
Draw it Out
You don’t need an art degree to sketch out a plan for your ultimate backyard. If you can draw circles and squares you are good to go. Make sure you note shady and sunny areas as well as potential drainage issues. If you can afford it, take your sketch to a landscape artist who can help you flesh out the details (and maybe create a better drawing).
Set a Budget
Landscape artists suggest that your landscaping budget should be about 10 percent of the cost of your new home. So, if you spend $200,000 on your house, you should spend $20,000 on your landscaping. Before heart failure becomes a distinct possibility, keep in mind that you don’t have to spend that much all at once. You can accomplish your vision is phases. Consider having your builder put in a patio, outdoor kitchen and lights or electrical outlets. The cost can be rolled into your mortgage. Once you move in, create a long-term budget for adding things such as water fountains, pools or decks.
What to Plant and Where
If you don’t have a green thumb search online, hire a landscaper or contact Fort Bend Master Gardeners. Master Gardeners provide volunteer service through the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service for Fort Bend County. They can provide you with reference material that should answer many of your questions. Think hard about what you want to grow, then pick an area of your yard that will be its best home.
Check Out Our Model Homes
Of course, the best possible place to start for backyard inspiration is our very own model homes. Our stellar family of builders put as much thought into the landscaping around their homes as they do the interiors of them.