Setting the Tempo for Major Housebuilders and Niche Developers
When it comes to building quality homes, the construction of the property or properties – albeit a pivotal element – is only part of the development story. The “what goes on around the outside” – the landscaping – is just as important. This is necessary to safeguard the quality of the finished result, so that it becomes a masterpiece in its own right and doesn’t forever remain an unfinished work.
Optimising the available space is the icing on the cake, regardless of whether the plot consists of a modest-sized back garden with room for little more than a small lawn, or one that runs into acreage.
In short, the exterior is worthy of just as much focus as the interior of the property itself. The two should dovetail. When one is out of kilter with the other, you have a problem.
WHAT TYPE OF LANDSCAPING SERVICES DO DEVELOPERS REQUIRE?
Landscaping is a coat of many colours. Companies who provide such services come in various shapes and sizes. Whilst each will have its virtues, not all would be suitable for developer-level landscaping.
Firstly, it needs to be a company that is compatible with the requirements of the construction industry, capable of delivering and managing large scale projects. For this reason, it is essential that the landscaper can provide a full range of services – encompassing the landscaping of multiple properties, the maintenance of grounds and public spaces, as well as associated consultancy services, such as arboriculture.
Of course, the construction industry is an enormous beast – ranging from nationwide housebuilders with new sites constantly coming on stream, through to regional housebuilders with plenty of projects on the go and more bespoke developers, specialising in the refurbishment of listed properties. What they all have in common, is that there will always be a need to design and maintain grounds – whether for housing or country estates – which encompass individual gardens, as well as the space between and beyond the living accommodation.
WHAT DOES LANDSCAPING ENTAIL?
The areas of expertise can broadly be broken down into three phases – planning, design and installation, covering all elements of what we would define as hard and soft landscaping.
For each individual home, this will include total garden solutions covering lawns, patios/decking, fencing, planting and associated garden outbuildings, such as storage or garden rooms.
Looking beyond the property’s immediate outside space and garden area, landscaping for developers should include paths, pavements, the arboriculture, turfing, planting of grounds etc. There is a lot to consider. Get it right and it should look spectacular. Imaginative landscaping that touches the right note sells properties. Great for developers and the home buyer.
LANDSCAPING OF DEVELOPMENT SITES
Above all, the objective will be to elevate the quality of the environment. Everything needs to be properly planned and well-considered, ensuring it can be professionally and cost-effectively maintained over the long-term. Once the developer has left the site, the landscaping needs to continue year-round.
First and foremost, the developer would be advised to collaborate at the planning stage with a proficient landscape consultancy. It is essential that the developer can show how the development will be integrated into the surrounding landscape.
Initially, there are likely to be all kinds of environmental considerations to take into account, in order to guarantee the project receives local authority approval. Factors such as appropriate landscaping, the protection of trees on the development site, environmental considerations such as wildlife preservation could all come under the microscope. An ill-considered application may be rejected, requiring resubmission and, thus, delays and lost revenue.
Other factors that need to be considered are tree preservation orders. Is the site in a conservation area, is the site of biological importance, is there zoning in place for existing woodland?
FUTUREPROOFING YOUR LANDSCAPING
In designing any landscaping scheme, it is imperative to give serious consideration to the on-going management and maintenance. How will this be carried out and will it cover both privately owned areas and those that may come under the public domain. This will almost certainly need to be made clear at the time of the planning submission.
WHAT IS HARD LANDSCAPING?
This would incorporate roads, drives, car parking facilities, steps and ramps, boundary walls and fences, drainage, street furniture (like lighting).
With “hard” landscaping elements their functionality and practicability are important but so are their aesthetics and compatibility to the surrounding vernacular and general environment, and proposed buildings.
WHAT IS SOFT LANDSCAPING?
Soft landscaping will almost certainly need to be created to enhance the environment, for instance preserving trees in such way that they don’t adversely impact surrounding buildings, services or the public at large.
It will also cover detail about areas proposed for topsoiling, new tree and shrub planting, fencing, protection of existing trees and shrubs, possibly even water features and children’s play areas.
Landscaping for the construction sector is always a fascinating and challenging experience. But with developer and landscaper working closely to set the right tone and tempo, spectacular outcomes can be achieved.
Everything you read about here is part of the Guildford Landscapes Group service. We provide a complete ensemble of landscaping expertise from which today’s housebuilders – both national and local – can adopt a pick and mix approach depending on the size, scale and complexity of the project.