Can’t wait to get landscaping around your new build?
You might have to be patient
Every year at this time, I get so many emails from homeowners with new builds that are excited to start adding some green to their muddy front yards.
This year is even worse as it’s my mother-in-law who wants to get out and start planting. She bought a new home in a popular adult-living community near the water. With lots of houses going in, the mess from the construction is starting to wear everyone down with the constant dust and mud on every surface. Unfortunately, there are a few things to consider before everyone runs off and starts grooming their yards.
First, yards for new houses need time to settle. As much as it may bother the homeowner to wait, going through several seasons to allow the soil and rock around the foundation to settle is very important to address drainage and erosion issues before they become a costly problem. In the case of Sue (my mother-in-law), the builder has held off installing the topsoil until the subsoil dries out. (Subsoil is the weathered stuff that lies just below the topsoil). This is actually a great practise, as it really allows the spring rains to compact the subsoil to create a stronger foundation for the yard and prevents the soil from washing away during flooding and heavy rains.
Once the subsoil dries out, the topsoil can be added and the shaping and grading of the yard can begin to take place. While it may seem like a nice thing to have the subsoil all raked and levelled in the yard, it’s better for the water runoff to have the subsoil higher around the house and sloping away to the edges of the property. This will also help with pooling and preventing moisture from staying near the foundation or getting into the basement. The raking and levelling can happen with the nutrien-rich topsoil. This level is what your plants and grass need to grow and be healthy.
Finally, in Sue’s case, the builders are adding trees to the front yard of each home to create a canopied neighbourhood. This is a really important step for several reasons, beyond esthesis. As the trees get established, they literally hold everything together in the yard. The roots of the trees will lock the soil into place at both the topsoil and subsoil levels.
So, if you’re like Sue and can’t wait to get landscaping around your new build, you might have to be patient. I equate this whole process to building a cake. If you don’t take your time and get each layer correct, the whole thing will fall over onto the kitchen floor. (Yes ... this has happened to me!)
As much as it may bother the homeowner to wait, going through several seasons to allow the soil and rock around the foundation to settle is very important to address drainage and erosion issues before they become a costly problem.