The adage “What you see is what you get” doesn’t apply to good
landscaping. It’s more like “What you get is far, far greater than what you see”. A well designed landscape adds beauty and value to any property. But as with many artful trades, the visual result represents a fraction of what the project includes. Before hardscapes can be built or flowers planted, proper grading, drainage, footings and utilities have to be engineered and installed. Of course, choices of plants and hard materials are important, but these considerations are icing on a bigger cake. Designing and planning for what “lies beneath” precedes everything – and can often determine the long term success, or failure, of a project.
Grading creates the shape of what’s to come by either “cutting” or “filling” the landform. Soil can be added or subtracted, sculpting the earth to suit its desired new end use. Proper drainage manages precipitation and storm water runoff so as to avoid both flooding and erosion which can wreak havoc on plants and homes alike – both yours and neighbors’.
Excavating 42” down below the frost line is critical for proper footings that stabilize all hardscapes: patios, decks, walls, steps and landings.
Skipping or cheating on this step results in shifting or failure of principal structures in the landscape. Add utilities: irrigation and water lines, electrical and gas conduits, cable, sound or lighting lines – all out of sight, but never out of the designer’s mind. They may not be pretty, or cheap add-ons, but the future of your project depends on these choices being well conceived and executed.