Building a New Home? Where You Place Your Trees Affects Your Lawn.
Are you currently in the process of building a new home? Or perhaps you’re buying an existing property? There is a lot to consider when building or buying. And while we typically take the time to closely inspect the home, the lawn and landscape generally doesn’t receive the same scrutiny. However, landscape problems can be just as costly down the road as defects in your home.
If you goal is to grow a lush lawn, be it in your front or back yard, there are some key landscape issues you’ll need to consider at the start of your home build or home buying process.
The shade trees in the photo above, planted by the builder, have grown large enough to shade out the lawn grass beneath it. Also, note that this tiny postage-stamp size yard is much to small to accommodate TWO live oaks! If the trees are allowed to continue to grow, they will overcrowd the home.
Shade & lawns don’t mix
Here at Soils Alive, we work on helping you build a strong healthy lawn and landscape by improving the health of your soil. But there is one problem we see in DFW landscape over and over that we can’t solve for you: Shade.
Warm season lawn grasses are sun plants. While there are some varieties, such as St. Augustine and some newer more shade tolerant forms of Zoysia, none will thrive in shade. It’s important to know that there are varying degrees of shade and heights of tree canopies, and your neighbor’s shade may be very different than yours. Don’t assume that because you see some shade in your neighbor’s landscape, that your lawn and landscape will respond similarly to theirs. As shade trees grow, they will outcompete your lawn. No amount of additional water or fertilizer will remedy dense shade.
When you have trees that have grown large enough to out-compete your lawn, you’ll be faced with deciding between the two: You may need to remove the tree completely, or accept that you’ll need to remove the lawn and transition to shade-loving plants and groundcovers
You want a lush lawn!
The orientation of the home placed on your new plot of land, or existing property you’re buying, will greatly affect where you place your trees to either shade your home, an outdoor area or other structure on the property. The size of your outdoor space will also dictate size and variety of the tree best suited for the space and your needs. Unfortunately, too often builders plan and install lawns, gardens and trees around new homes without any thought to the needs of the future homeowner.
For example: You want to grow and maintain a large front yard lawn. Because most grasses must have a good 6 hours of sun to thrive, you’ll want to be sure the placement of any large shade trees allows for full sun to reach the lawn grass where you intend it to grow. If you’d rather not maintain a large lawn, then place your shade tree wherever you choose; then transition the lawn areas to shade tolerant plants and groundcovers.
Home builders often don’t plant what’s right; they plant what’s cheap or required.
If you’re building a home or buying a home being sold buy a builder, know that their focus is not on the landscape. They will plant what is easy to procure, cheap and fast to install, or required by the homeowners association or local authority. They won’t consider whether trees are too large for the space, where they are positioned, or whether lawn areas will receive enough sun.
By working with Soils Alive at the start of the home building or buying process, we can help you evaluate the potential for growing a great lawn — before it’s too late.