Start at the End

20 Sep 2014

Tips and advice from our garden experts

By PATTY CRAVEN and NICK POPOVICH of DIG Landscape

 Basic gardening and landscaping tips, Charleston SC

Wow, there’s a whole heck of a lot of new construction going on again. I believe I read that Mount Pleasant is the fastest growing municipality in our state, and even one of the tops in all of the country. And, oh yeah, by the way, my wife and I are adding to that statistic. The building boom is now personal as we are wrapping up construction of our family’s new home in the Old Village. Most importantly, we vow that this house is finally it! Any one else out there experiencing this?

“Experiencing what, exactly?” You may ask. “The Process” is to what I am referring ― the myriad of choices and decisions, styles, colors, you name it, that have to be addressed. It is a process, one that is exciting and fun at the beginning, but as you near the end? Well, maybe not so much. And what is one of the remaining parts of the process as completion looms? The landscape of the precious home comes way at the end, when budgets are overspent and the paint has yet to be touched-up. We must carry on, though.

In a way, though, it’s quite helpful to delay landscape final choices. I know that it is invaluable now to be able to look out of second floor windows to views that are both positive, and ones that are not so great (i.e. neighbors trash can). Exterior spaces are now experienced physically so that you can really see where a walkway needs to be to reach a destination that is logical, and a bit more aesthetically pleasing.

I also know precisely where I wish (and need) to have some fencing. I have experienced the path of the sun over the house, and how it affects our outdoor usage. A tree will now be wisely placed and planted for just the right results of shade. Even plant choices are affected at this stage of the game, whether it’s because of budget, screening needs, color of the house, etc. I am putting my money into a palette of a few larger (more expensive) specimens for screening purposes, and a less vigorous collection of smaller (but fast growing and less expensive) plantings. The variety of plants is smaller but the resultant look is clean and quite purposeful.

So yes, while the landscape is at the end of the building process and can be easily shoved aside as a matter of importance, an initial design at the time of the rendering of the home’s architecture is a great aid in the end. Just realize that changes can, and probably should be made as the project draws to a close. If all of the landscape can’t be implemented at once (as is my case), don’t fret.

Just try to do the most important first: capture and frame those views, lay that irrigation system, and defer to smaller plantings as necessary that relate well to the fewer, but stronger appearing, specimen trees. Even a low-voltage lighting system can be installed now. Having just a few fixtures now with the ability to add in the future is a good thing. It can be nice to add to the landscape over time to really make it your own.

So I hope all of you new homeowners feel a bit better. Just keep to the basics and the “less is more” axiom. I just have to think, though, if my wife hadn’t chosen that upgrade closet system, I could have another palm tree right over there…

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