Nowadays, new construction homes are being built year-round. Even in the coldest of winters and in snowy or wet conditions, contractors are at home sites building away. As Spring is in full swing around the country, new construction landscaping has begun for those who've moved into homes during the winter months. As each builder is different when it comes to landscaping their new construction homes, be sure to discuss what is offered as well as your expectations. Your home price and home value should have some type of landscaping built into the equation. Make sure the details are clearly stated on your sales contract.
National Builders and Landscaping
Many national builders, such as Pulte Homes, offer a complete landscaping package as a part of their new construction home building process. They will arrange to have city sidewalks completed, complete your driveway, pour concrete for the walkway from your driveway to your front door and for your front porch, grade your lot, bring in dirt, plan some front and back yard landscaping beds to plant a few bushes and trees, and sod your lot. Some will even build a small-sized patio in your backyard. Private builders typically work with their buyers on landscaping packages and charge an a la carte price for their landscaping projects.
Hold Back Some Escrow at Closing
If you move into a new construction home before the contracted landscaping is completed, you can request that some money be held in escrow from the builder after closing. This will protect you, as a buyer, to ensure that the landscaping is completed when the weather allows.
Driveways, Concrete Walkways and Sidewalks
If you are building in an incorporated part of your city, city sidewalks are standard. Your builder will work with the city to have your sidewalks poured, usually before the final grading is complete and dirt is brought in. They will also pour the concrete for your driveway or have your asphalt driveway complete before the final grading is done. This is also true for the walkway from your driveway to your front door and your front porch.
Dirt and Grading
Builders will complete your final grading and bring in the dirt for your yard. This is called "blacking out." Final grading is important because you want your yard to have a slope away from your home on all sides. This will prevent water from building up by your foundation. If you have a basement, it will help prevent water from getting into it.
Builders will then often carve out some areas in your front and back yard for landscaping beds. They may add a few bushes, trees and perennials to the beds. Some builders will even put down a layer of mulch or other ground cover in your landscaping beds.
If you are having an irrigation system or sprinkler system installed, it is a good idea to have it done before the builder sods or seeds your lot. This way, they won't have to dig up sod or disturb seed that has just been laid.
Laying Sod or Grass Seed
Some builders lay sod around your entire house. Some just sod the front and seed the back. Again, be sure this is discussed and stated on your sales contract. Whatever is decided upon will require watering, so the seed takes, and the sod established roots.
Patio or Deck
Finally, you'll be ready for your patio or deck. It might be a good idea to have this done before your sod or seed is done as well.
Go Above and Beyond
Be sure you and your builder are on the same page when it comes to your new home's landscaping. If the builder's basic landscape plan isn't what you envision, you're not obligated to stick with it. An article written by Joyce Starr on lawnstarter.com called Lawn, Landscape Tips for New Construction, Remodeled Homes says it's important to "imagine your end product, sketch your landscape plan." The more landscaping you have, the higher your home value.