Home buyers have a variety of helpful resources to choose from today. Builders, architects, brokers, agents, lenders and how-to authors all provide assistance. These professionals have handy building tips to share, but what about the yard? Isnít your green space or courtyard just as important?
Whether building, renovating or purchasing a house as is, donít overlook important assets from the outside in. For instance, to keep your house cool in summer, you will want shade trees on the south side of the building. The trees will block the sun from hitting your walls and windows. Deciduous vines on the south side are good too. They will lose their leaves in the winter, but provide shade in the summer. Evergreens are preferred on the north side of your house. Placing plants such as ferns, hostas and azaleas around the evergreens can create a refreshing woodland area and a cool breeze. Wouldnít an open summer window be nice there?
The shade trees on the south side of the house help keep the climate warm during the winter. Thatís because the leaves are fallen and the sun shines through. Same goes for the deciduous vines. Typical winter winds on the north side of the house are lessened with evergreens. Placed appropriately, evergreens are proven energy savers. To provide a pocket of air to insulate your home from the north-side cold, construct a trellis mounted a few inches from the north outer house wall so that evergreen vines can climb and be attractive year round. Is a fireplace on the north side of your building an option?
Another key concern is the history of the land. Get the soil tested. To know what problems may be present, check for hazardous metals. This is important if you decide to grow vegetables, fruit or herbs.
Know or plan the foundation of the house and study how you will get around. A good way to see if the existing plan is not working well is to look for foot and pet paths. Are short cuts typically taken away from the walkway? Think of the best way to exit and enter the house during the worst weather.
- Will you stroll from the garage, front door or back door to exit the house?
- Will you enter the house differently?
- How will guests enter and exit?
- Will the routes change with seasons?
- Will your pet create a new path?
A great way to study your design options is to photograph an area. Make a large print and put tissue paper over the picture to sketch your ideas. Your drawing will be more accurate and easier to estimate material needs than if you guessed proportions.
To nourish wildlife around your house, make sure you have native plants to accommodate nature. Include a source of water, such as a birdbath or fish pond. Chemicals are not necessary to create a beautiful surrounding that birds, butterflies and ladybugs will love you for. And by working with native sources to develop your outline, less maintenance will be necessary.
Of course you want to check the foundation, plumbing, wiring and so forth to analyze the value and needs of your building. But focusing on the skeleton of your real estate is worth your while too. Take the time to study what is feasible with nature. Personalize the property and be better prepared if you decide to hire a landscape architect or design consultant.
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