Can’t wait to get land­scap­ing around your new build?

You might have to be pa­tient

Truro Daily News - - SALTWIRE HOMES - Car­son Arthur Coun­try Gar­dens Out­door de­sign and life­style ex­pert Car­son Arthur has be­come the voice of en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly landscape de­sign and loves to help peo­ple max­i­mize their out­door spa­ces. On­line at car­son­arthur.com Twit­ter: @Car­son­arthur

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!)

CAR­SON ARTHUR

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.

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