Guest Blog By Jay Rhine, Rhine Landscaping 


All too often, homeowners fail to prioritize home building and landscaping because they cannot afford both simultaneously.

However, there are concrete (pun somewhat intended) situations in which the services of a landscape architect are critical to the success of your remodeling plans.

Here are just three landscaping considerations that often fall off the radar when planning a home addition:

Building on Graded Land/Soil

All landscapes and lawns are different, obviously, and various grading issues – such as slopes and hills – can cause disruptive setbacks in your home addition plans.

Many homeowners never stop to consider the soil level or the grade around their homes, or how the stairs from a new addition, such as a deck, will tie into the patio below.

Graded land can provide a certain aesthetic to your home’s surrounding. Granular soils can bear significant loads, but clay soil tends swell and expand when wet or in freezing temperatures.

When the grading of land is in question, it is often prudent to consult with a landscape architect.

One of the main issues a landscaper can help to troubleshoot is the grading of soil to accommodate your home’s new deck or addition.

For yards that grade downward, deck stairs must adhere to specific sizes and dimensions, while leading to a flat landing space at the bottom. Railings extending the entire length of your deck are also required.

Decks or additions built on land that is severely sloped will also require additional posts to maintain stability.

Landscapers may also employ a “cut and fill” process to either add or subtract soil from your lawn for leveling purposes.

In many cases, trees can also pose a concern. Landscape professionals will be able to work in conjunction with your home builder to devise the best course of action. Often, trees can be built around, and even incorporated into your deck’s design, as long as they are not being used for structural support.

Septic Sorrows

All too often, homeowners take a look at their landscape and believe they have room to spare for a pool and pool house, without taking into consideration the location of their septic tank or well.

Many septic systems consist of an underground tank and a drainfield. Septic systems also contain a septic reserve area that is mandated by the state and ensures that adequate space is available should replacement or repairs be required.

Depending on your property’s soil and its proximity to any protected land, this figure is typically around 10,000 square feet.

Other landscaping considerations include building setbacks – which denote how far a building or pool house must be from objects such as wells, easements, property lines, and city streets. Homeowners should also be cognizant of where their utility lines run, as they can pose issues, as well.

Landscape architects and home builders should work closely together in situations like these, to ensure the planned placement of your addition remains compliant with all regulations and zoning laws.

Considering the Big Picture

How is your new deck going to incorporate into your living space?

If you build it, are you committed to maintaining it?

A landscaping contractor can help homeowners see the big picture about the latest addition to their home, while helping to map out a plan for the future, such as tying in stonework and walkways with the new aesthetic, or how to implement irrigation systems in new plantings.

For more information, contact Rhine Landscaping.