Tips for New Landscape Installations

home building preparation

Be sure your building contractor knows of your irrigation plans for your home landscaping before pouring concrete for driveways and walkways. By inserting a 2 to 4" PVC sleeve underneath your hardscaping, you can allow for access to beds that you may otherwise end up hand-watering. This also applies to any piping or wiring, such as landscape lighting, that you might want to access in the future.

Tree work should be tackled before new construction is started. Removing or pruning damaged trees will be much easier if you do it before construction is under way.

Whenever possible, combine the rough landscape grading with the grading the general contractor will be doing for construction of the house. Have the topsoil and boulders moved to the backyard prior to construction of the house if accessibility will then be limited. It makes sense to utilize equipment for both purposes at once and will save both time and money.

plant selection

For new landscape installation projects, we recommend using somewhat drought-tolerant plants in your outdoor landscaping. The plants that are native to the San Francisco Bay Area are generally drought tolerant, indicating the type of long-term conditions we might expect. There are many drought-tolerant plants that are beautiful and colorful specimens, in addition to being hardy survivors. If you are making decisions about your new turf installation, consider Dwarf Fescue; it is more drought, disease and traffic tolerant than other species. In the long run, you should enjoy a longer lasting and healthier turf. Dwarf Fescue grows more slowly than some others and may require less frequent mowing.


For irrigation in your outdoor garden, we recommend using a combination of drip and overhead irrigation. In some cases, existing sprinkler-type lines can be altered to accommodate drip systems. In areas where drip may not be appropriate, try to "zone" your plant selections so they have the same water requirements as the nearby plants. To promote proper root development, it is important to move and re-adjust drip heads as the plants grow. We also recommend an occasional deep soaking of the entire yard, especially areas that normally would only receive the limited water of a drip system.

A fully automated clock helps regulate the watering schedules for varying parts of the garden. To adjust the watering needs for your plant material while improving water conservation, a simple weather station may be added to your existing controller. This weather station automatically makes adjustments to your set irrigation schedule based on the current weather condition in your garden and adjusts as the conditions change. This results in healthier plants and turf while saving you time and money.

Today's technology has brought us Smart Controllers, which, in conjunction with a properly designed and installed irrigation system, will provide an even more efficient means to watering your garden. For commercial landscapes, the use of a Central System is a great tool to remotely make any necessary adjustments to the irrigation system.

erosion control

When determining the type of home landscaping you desire, there are many factors to consider on a hillside lot: drought tolerance, fire resistance, erosion control, deer resistance, views, etc. It's best to use someone experienced with these unique environments to help guide decisions that will ensure long-lasting success.

weed control

Start your weed abatement program as far in the future as possible. There are many different cycles of weeds that emerge corresponding with the differing seasons. It can take some time to accomplish weed control and may hold up your planting schedule if you don't start enough in advance. This will also allow for easier maintenance long term.

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