When you are building a new home, the seemingly endless amount of choices you face can feel overwhelming. With everything going on around your home, it can be easy to overlook your landscaping. However, the landscape can have a massive impact on your property and home. When planning landscaping for a new home, you’ll have many options from soil type to grass type to the best types of plants and more. With all these details to consider, it’s always smart to involve a professional to aid in the planning.
In this blog post, Landscape by Design will cover important factors people building a new home in Fort Worth, Texas should consider about their landscape.
Landscaping for New Construction
Before you get started on planning new construction landscaping, you may need to clean up debris or repair damage from construction. In the following sections, we outline what you should think about when planning landscaping for new construction.
Planning Your Landscape
There are many things to consider when planning your new construction landscaping, the first of which is your budget. We recommend creating a rough sketch of what you envision. If you add a lot of decorative features to your yard, it can limit the amount of space you have.
How much you spend on your landscape can vary considerably. It’s important not to cut corners to save some money, as this can prove to be an expensive mistake in the long run. You’ll also need to also take into account the cost of maintaining your landscape. Remember that prices for materials can fluctuate, so be sure to allow room in your budget to accommodate.
Landscaping and the Environment
Your landscape and the plants you choose can have an impact on the environment far beyond your property. Consider going with an environmentally friendly native landscape.
Who will be using it, and how?
A good way to plan your landscaping is to think about who will be using it. Will it be a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the world—a place to enjoy a quiet evening outdoors? Or will it be a playground for children and pets? Or a combination of both? Think about this as you plan because, for example, different types of grass have different characteristics that may be better suited for one plan over another.
Consider Plant Growth When Choosing Placement
Most plants grow over time, so when you first plant them, remember they may end up taking more space than expected. It’s important to give each plant enough room to grow. And before you do any digging, be sure to call 811—the United States’ phone number to help people locate utility lines.
Be Careful Planting Trees Near Power Lines
Tree branches can dangerously interfere with things like power lines. In addition, tree roots can shift concrete paths and damage houses and underground utilities. It is critical not to plant trees too close to power lines, as that can be deadly.
Electricity can transfer through the trees to a person, animal, or anything too close by. Even if a tree is not physically touching a power line, energy can still enter it and then transfer to people, animals, or objects nearby. When planted too close to powerlines, this transfer of electricity can cause fires or high winds can lead to power outages. This article by the Western Area Power Administration provides more information on the subject. Before planting any trees, it is essential to talk to your power company or landscaping professional.
Be Aware of Property Boundaries
You must also be aware of property boundaries when considering tree placement. Trees can extend over fences or their roots can go into your neighbor’s property. Always check your property boundaries and make sure you are leaving enough room to account for the tree’s growth.
Be Careful About How Close You Plant Trees to Your House
While there are some rules of thumb on how far a tree should be planted from a house or fence, it’s always a good idea to consult with an expert, as tree size and width can vary and do costly damage.
How Far Should a Tree be from a Home?
Please keep in mind the following is a rough guide, and you should always consult a professional when planting trees.
- Small trees 30 feet or less: Plant at least eight to 10 feet from a house.
- Medium-sized trees up to 70 feet: Plant at least 15 feet from a home.
- Large trees up to and over 70 feet: Plant at least 20 feet from a home.
Another element of landscaping to consider is how much maintenance it requires. Maintaining landscapes can be difficult, physically demanding, and time consuming. It can also cost a good deal of money over time. If you plan on using a professional landscaping maintenance company, you will need to take that into account when considering your budget.
Different kinds of landscaping require different levels of maintenance. For example, if you have a lot of hardscaping, i.e., paved patios and stone, there will generally be less maintenance compared to plants and other flora. Please keep in mind that hardscaping will still need maintenance.
While not usually seen in landscaping, the soil has a significant role in your home’s yard. Some soils have more nutrients while others hold water better. In addition, soil can affect how much maintenance your landscape requires.
Soil Regions in Tarrant County
Texas has a lot of soil diversity. Tarrant County, Texas has three different soil regions. They are:
Grand Prairie: The Grand Prairie soil region is located on the western side of Tarrant County and makes up a good portion of it overall. You’ll find soils like clays, silty loams, and limestones here.
Eastern Cross Timbers: The Eastern Cross Timbers soil region is located between the other two soil regions in Tarrant County. It is mostly made up of sandy loam soil.
Blackland Prairie: The South Eastern side of Tarrant County is home to the Blackland Prairie soil region. Here, you’ll find dark black- to light-colored clays.
Tarrant County has multiple soil types, each with unique characteristics. By working with a professional, you can determine exactly what kind of soil you have and how best to work with it.
Below are several types of soil that you’ll find in Tarrant County:
Clay soil: Clay soil, ranging from dark black to light gray, makes up parts of eastern Tarrant County. Clay soil presents challenges for growing plants.
Sandy loam soil: The composition of sandy loam soil is approximately 10% clay, 60% sand, and 30% silt particles. Sandy loam soil does not hold large amounts of nutrients or water, which can be a challenge when you are trying to grow things. For this reason, plants grown here can require more watering and fertilizer than other soils.
Limestone soil: As the name suggests, limestone soil consists primarily of limestone. It cannot filter or absorb water well.
Silty loam soil: Silty loam soil contains many nutrients, making it excellent for supporting plant life.
The definition of soil quality is its ability to function in an ecosystem. It plays a role in how well plants grow in your yard.
Some physical indications of soil quality can include the following:
- The structure of the soil
- The depth of the soil
- The bulk density of the soil as well as its infiltration
- The soil’s capacity to hold water
By working with a professional, you can better understand your soil’s quality and the effect it can have on your landscaping.
Compacted soil is an issue you might encounter following construction, or on its own. It occurs when soil particles are packed too closely together. This does not allow room for water and air movement. Compaction tends to happen more with heavy soils such as loam and clay. Heavy equipment usage can also compact sandy soil. Growing flower or vegetable gardens is difficult in compacted soil.
Construction and Compacted Soil
Compacted soil is often caused due to a lot of heavy weight resting on the soil. When a new home is being built, large trucks and other construction equipment are constantly rolling back and forth over your future home’s landscaping. This can cause the soil to compact, making it harder to work with once the construction is done.
Fixing Compacted Soil
It is possible to fix compacted soil, although it will take time and effort. Because of the complexities of repairing soil compaction, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a landscape professional. In the following section, you’ll find some ways to alleviate soil compaction. However, this is by no means a definitive list.
- Add topsoil: Spreading new topsoil around two to four inches thick is a common practice to alleviate compacted soil. However, this will not benefit plants with longer roots.
- Add compost: When you add organic matter like compost, it can help create soil aggregates.
Grass Season Regions
The United States is divided into three grass season regions—a warm season, a cold season, and a transition zone in between them. The transitional region represents an overlapping of the warm and cool regions. These regions signify the grass best suited for them.
Depending on what map you are looking at, Fort Worth, Texas, is located in either the transitional region or the warm season region. The transitional region can present a challenge. To get the best grass for your situation, you should consult with a local landscaping company.
Warm Season Grass
Warm season grasses do well in the southern portion of the United States—including Fort Worth, Texas. They prosper in places with long summers and mild winters.
What Types of Grass Should I Use?
The following are recommendations from Texas A & M University for good choices of grass in Fort Worth, Texas:
Bermudagrass is a turfgrass with a fine texture. A popular choice for lawns, Bermudagrass can also be found on golf courses.
- Classification type: Warm-season grass
- Tolerance for shade: Low—Bermudagrass needs to be planted in full sun.
- Tolerance to droughts: High
- Tolerance to foot traffic: High
- Maintenance requirements: Bermudagrass needs an inch of water a week. Also, during the peak season, it may need to be mowed twice a week. Finally, it needs to be fertilized with nitrogen during the summer. It takes half a pound to a pound of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet during the growing season in summer, for a total of 2 to 6 pounds per year. For single application rates, the fertilizer applied should be between half a pound to a pound of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet.
- Height for mowing: From one to two inches when using a rotary mower
- Disease potential: Low
The Tall Fescue features a dark green color. Fescue varieties such as “turf-type” or “improved” provide better performance. There’s a chance Tall Fescue will become dormant in the summer months.
- Classification type: Cool-season grass
- Tolerance for shade: Moderate
- Tolerance to droughts: Low
- Tolerance to foot traffic: Moderate to high
- Maintenance requirements: Utilize the ⅓ rule: do not take off more than ⅓ of the grass blade each time you cut it. You should mow once every week. It requires two to four pounds of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet a year for fertilizing. During the spring and fall growing season, single applications should be half a pound to a pound of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet.
- Height for mowing: Fromtwo and a half inches to four inches
- Disease potential: Moderate to high
There are several species of Zoysiagrass. Because of its high resistance to foot traffic, zoysiagrass is a good choice for backyards that see a lot of action. However, its slow growth means it can take longer to recover from damage. Zoysiagrass’ resilience in droughts makes it a good selection for places with water restrictions.
- Classification type: Warm-season grass
- Tolerance for shade: Moderate
- Tolerance to droughts: Moderate to high, depending on the variety of Zoysiagrass.
- Tolerance to foot traffic: High
- Maintenance requirements: You’ll only need to mow Zoysiagrass once a week, as it is slow growing. In addition, the fertilization requirement is low. Every year it requires one to three pounds of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet. For single application rates, it is half a pound to a pound for every 1,000 square feet in summer.
- Height for mowing: From one to two inches
- Disease potential: Low to moderate
How to Care for New Grass
Newly planted grass will most likely require additional care. Below are several tips to help your new lawn grow.
However, it’s important to remember that different types of grass have different needs, so it’s best to consult with a professional when taking care of your landscape.
- Be sure to water your grass regularly, and do not allow the grass to dry out. Always consult with a care guide or a landscape professional about the right amount of water needed to water your grass, as too much moisture can flood it.
- Stay off of the grass until it has time to get rooted in.
Post-Construction Lawn Care
Construction will most likely have a significant impact on your landscape. For example, trucks can create ruts, especially if the ground is soft, and can also damage grass if it’s been planted. Workers may need to walk over particular sections of your lawn repeatedly. Supplies placed on the ground can cause indentations and damage grass.
In addition, loose nails may be spread throughout your yard during the construction process, posing a particular danger to children and pets. Because of the variables involved in different types of grass, it’s a good idea to get the help of a professional when taking care of new grass.
These are several things you may have to do post-construction including, but not limited to:
- Picking up nails: Given their size, nails can be incredibly hard to find, especially in grass. Just when you think you’ve found them all, you stumble across another. Metal detectors can be a helpful tool for locating them. Some hardware stores offer metal detectors for rent.
- Replanting grass: You may need to replant grass, as vehicle and foot traffic can damage it.
- Filling in ruts: Heavy trucks can cause significant ruts in lawns, especially if they have to drive repeatedly to the same location. In addition, they can also damage grass if it has already been planted.
Landscaping your new home may seem overwhelming, so don’t forget that a landscaping professional who can help is never far away! If you’re in the greater Fort Worth area, Landscape by Design can work with you. From native landscaping to new construction, we can be your partner in transforming an empty yard into a place that truly feels like home. When you work with us, you will experience the service that has earned us many five-star reviews and several Houzz awards.