Designing your landscape can be an intimidating task. The decisions you make will be a part of your life as long as you own your home. In general, it is best to do all the landscaping you plan to do all at one as opposed to in pieces. Each part will affect the others, and adding features later will likely cost more than doing them from the start. Below are some possible options, tips and prices to help you get the best results!
Most new homes at a minimum will require 1 larger tree, 6+ shrubs, final grading with a certificate, and some grass and decorative beds in the front. Often doing this is the only way to get your deposit back if you payed one. You should have specs from your homebuilder which they will use to approve your landscaping. A basic yard will have this, grass in the back and rocks or mulch on the sides. Grass can be used on the sides but often wont live long due to lack of sunlight if your neighbours house is close to yours. Many will choose to include a deck, stone patio, extra planting beds, retaining walls, stone edging, boulders, stepping stones or other features. Below we will give you more details. Every job is custom so there are man combinations possible.
Every yard is a different shape and size and each homeowner is unique, but below are a few common configurations with rough prices based on a standard 2000 square foot yard (average for a single family new home in Edmonton.)
This would include a 2" caliper size tree (roughly 6 feet tall and with root ball weighing over 300 lbs), 6 shrubs, decorative rock or mulch in a plastic edged bed which contains the tree and shrubs, grass everywhere else. Also includes final grading, certificate and approval.
Everything in the basic, except decorative limestone rocks on the sides of the house.
Everything in the standard, except stepping stones on one side, and paving stone edging for front planter beds.
These are an excellent addition that will add usability, reduce mowing time, and visual appeal. they typically cost $16-20 per square foot, depending on size, machinery access and stone choice. We reccommend considering holland style stones as they are the least expensive, come in a variety of sizes, designs and colours. Cheap stones are usually the same quality as expensive ones just visually different. For premium consider lexington stones. We can provide you with stones from any supplier you choose. square or rectangular shapes avoid cuts meaning less waste and cost. CIrcle kits are available and often used for firepit areas.
Decks can get very specific, basic ones are quite cost effective, many will require more expensive features such as steps, railings or privacy screens. Most are built using pressure treated wood, many opt for composite wood for a maintenance free finish as well as a range of colours. There is a wide range in price of composite materials.
Retaining walls are mainly used to provide more flat, usable yard, but also are used decoratively or structurally. There is a wide range of material choices, concrete blocks are generally preferred and wood, natural stone or boulders are an option. Pricing varies a lot, but a good average is $50 per square foot (ex. a 10 foot wide, 3 foot high wall would be 30 feet.) We like the Keystone Compac 3 for a functional reasonably priced option.
Most new homes require 1 tree 2' caliper or bigger. For this we reccommend visiting blue grass nursery to view their selection. Some of our favorites are the Ivory silk lilac, amur maple or gladiator crabapple.
For shrubs consider spireas, junipers, karl foster grasses or barberrys for lower maintenance. If you asked me to pick 6 for you i would choose either: 2 karl foster grasses, 2 junipers and 2 spireas,
3 junipers and 3 spireas.
There are multiple species of spireas and junipers but they are similar and I like most of them.
Stone edging is used to separate landscape features, usually grass from rock or mulch. We can use most types of paving stones for this, 4x8 hollands are a good cost effective choice. Granite edgers are a bit more but great especially for curves. Stone edging usually costs around $10 per linear foot.
Many homes will include decorative rock or mulches. Our top pick for rock is 20mm limestone as its decorative, reasonably priced and easy to walk on. Bigger rocks are harder to walk across. If you prefer a lighter colour washed rock or alberta rainbow work just as well. For mulch cedar or black mulch are the common choices. Either may require occasional topping up, and if you want to minimize this consider paying a small amount additional for medium bark chips. Black mulch will stay relatively black for a very long time, possibly forever, while cedar mulch often discolours after a few years.
We prefer to always use sod supplied from Bluegrass nursery, it is an excellent colour, high quality and always fresh. It is a combination of Kentucky bluegrass, red fescue and ryegrass (mostly Kentucky bluegrass.) This is the only type we will provide unless you specify otherwise. Some suppliers sell grasses marketed as low water requiring, but we do not feel it is the best product for most but will provide if requested. Sod with install usually is $0.75 per square foot.
Maintenance free and always green. There are a wide varety of material choices. Most avoid it because of its cost, which is often 13 times that of regular grass or $10 per foot.
We recommend homeowners start by either driving by houses in their neighbourhoods, or exploring the internet to get some ideas of what they like. From there you can print a copy of your plot plan and do some sketches of what you like. At any point in the process, give us a call, text or email and we can help you design your perfect yard, free of charge.