Landscaping Tips for New Homes


By Evan Rivers

As a new homeowner, you have many things on your plate. Choosing furniture, paint colors, and floor covering are probably your biggest stressors. However, planning your lawn and landscape should be at the forefront of your mind.  According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, 5-10% of your home’s value should be invested in landscaping. While this may seem like a large amount, landscaping can actually return about 100-200% of its value upon reselling the house. With proper planning and help from a landscaping service professional, you will create a landscape that will beautifully complement your home.

5 Essential Landscaping First Steps

You may be eager to start planning and visualizing your landscape. However, there are many things to consider before beginning your landscape plan. Without considering the basics first, you may create a design you aren’t happy with in the long run.

1. Considering Sunny/Shady Areas of Your Lawn

Most families spend a great deal of time outdoors, especially in the summer. If you plan on playing outside with your children, entertaining guests on the weekends, or relaxing outdoors on Sunday afternoons, you need to consider where the sun will hit at certain times of the day. Sun and shade can transform your lawn’s atmosphere, and you want to make sure your landscape works to create the atmosphere you desire. You don’t want the Carolina sun to beating down on you and your guests as you grill on Saturday afternoons. Planning where you plant shade trees can help this issue. Clemson University offers great resources to help you choose shading plants.


2. Leaving Room for Lawn Equipment Passage

Your excitement to plan your lawn may cause you to accidentally go overboard. Although planted beds transform your lawn and landscape, you want to ensure you aren’t establishing too many beds. You need to leave enough room for lawn equipment to reach all areas of your lawn. Having too many beds may crowd the space. In the future, you may find yourself having difficulty reaching those far corners of your lawn. Make sure to space your beds far enough apart to allow for equipment to pass through.

3. Private Areas of Your Lawn

While your front lawn is often your showpiece, many homeowners do not want their backyard to be visible from the street. Some don’t even want neighbors seeing certain areas of their lawns. Decide which areas of your lawn you want to be private, and then choose landscaping to work with these goals. If you need help deciding which privacy plants will benefit your landscape, North Carolina State University offers an informative guide. 

4. Hiding Windows With Landscaping

Just as you may want to hide certain areas of your lawn, you may also wish to hide certain windows of your home. Most homeowners do not want bedroom windows visible to neighbors or the street, but they also do not want to leave their curtains closed all the time. Planning your landscape to hide these areas will give you peace of mind and allow you to let in that natural light we all love.

5. Prioritizing

There are a lot of things to consider when planning a landscape. However, sometimes you cannot realistically accomplish all of your goals. Oftentimes, you have to compromise between different goals. To create the best landscape possible, you must prioritize which goals are the most important to you. With the help of a landscaping service professional, you can develop a plan to best accomplish your goals.

home landscaping

Top 10 Tips for Landscaping a New Home

Now that you’ve completed the pre-planning process, it’s time for the exciting part: actively planning your new landscape.

1. Establishing a Landscaping Budget

Before planning or purchasing anything, it is important to establish your landscaping budget. Without establishing a budget first, you may spend too much and have to skimp on other areas of your new home. You may ask, “how do I decide how much to invest in my new home’s landscaping?” While that is entirely up to you, your financial situation, and your goals, the American Society of Landscape Architects suggests you invest 5-10% of your home’s value in landscaping.

2. Choosing a Landscaping Professional

Now that you’ve established your budget, it is important to choose a trusted landscaping professional. While you may be tempted to handle the landscaping yourself to save money, there are numerous benefits to hiring a professional:

  • We can help develop a plan and design your landscape before starting.
  • Professionals are experts at helping you reach your goals.
  • We can often get materials cheaper than you can buy them at big-box stores like Lowe’s.
  • You already have enough on your plate in buying a new home. Letting us handle the landscaping will take the stress off your shoulders.

With the help of landscaping professionals and resources like Mississippi State University’s planning guide, you will be on the road to a beautiful new landscape.

3. Establishing Your Lawn and Landscape Goals

Before breaking any ground, you need to develop a list of your specific goals for your landscape. Without these goals in mind, you will have no direction when planning your landscape. You also may fail to meet one of your goals if you do not have them written down. After making your list, share it with your lawn care service provider so they can help you develop a plan.

4. Landscape Designing

After establishing your lawn and landscape goals, you are ready to design your landscape. Landscape design comes with many decisions, including choosing a type of grass, which plants you want, and where to place your beds. You want to lay out a plan that will best complement your home and your property. It may seem like an overwhelming process, but getting expert help from a landscaping professional will make the process smooth and easy.

5. Choosing a Grass

One of the first decisions you need to make is what type of grass you will have on your lawn. Your lawn takes up the majority of your property, so you need to choose carefully. First, decide what you want out of your grass:

  • Do you want your grass to be green in the cold weather or in the warm weather? Most grasses thrive in either warm or cool weather.
  • Are you looking for low-maintenance grass? Some grasses require more attention, such as more frequent mowing or fertilization.
  • How tall do you want your grass to be? Different species of grasses have different heights, so you want to choose a grass that will best suit the look you are pursuing.

After deciding what you want out of your grass, look into different options to decide which is best for you. For information on choosing a grass that will grow well in our area, refer to Clemson University’s article on selecting a lawn grass.


6. Soil Testing

Since you’re moving onto a new property, it’s likely that you don’t know a lot about your soil. However, getting a soil test, a scientific analysis of your soil, can lead to great recommendations for growing your grass. It will tell you which fertilizers will work best at what amounts, and it will help you avoid over-fertilizing your lawn. In the long run, soil testing will lead to a healthier, more beautiful lawn.

7. Deciding on Your Plants

One of the most exciting parts of designing your landscape is choosing your plants. Many people choose to line their house with shrubs and trees, and some scatter green foliage around the shrubs. Flowers are also a great addition to add color and life to your landscape. However, before choosing your plants, you need to research which plants grow well in our area to avoid plant death. If you are unsure about which plants will look best in your landscape, Rivers Lawn and Landscape is here to help.

8. Choosing a Ground Cover

While your grass takes up most of your property, your ground cover takes up a large area, as well. You have several options for ground cover: most homeowners choose pine straw, mulch, or rock, and each kind has varying benefits. If you are unsure about the benefits of each type of ground cover, we’ve got you covered:

Benefits of Mulch
Rocks vs. Mulch: Pros and Cons
Benefits of Pine Straw

Rock by RLL

9. Considering Irrigation and Fertilization

After designing your landscape, you are probably excited to get started. However, you need to consider the livelihood of your plants. You want to avoid establishing your landscaping now and dealing with dying plants in a few months. Proper irrigation and fertilization can help to ensure that your plants live up to their greatest potential.

10. Getting an Estimate

With your landscaping plan in place, it is time to consult with a landscaping professional and get an estimate. Consult with us at Rivers Lawn and Landscape, and we will offer your estimate free of charge.

Getting Started

Now that you have your lawn and landscape planned, you’re probably eager to get started. By following these steps and planning ahead, you will be on track to establish a beautiful lawn and landscape. If you need help planning and designing your new landscape, reach out to the professionals at Rivers Lawn and Landscape. We are committed to making your dreams become a reality.