History has taught us from the time of the Pyramids until today if you want a magnificent structure to stay up over time preparation of the foundations is one of the most important things. An old saying comes to mind, “The wise man built upon the rock, where the fool built upon the sand.”
Likewise, it doesn’t matter if it’s a dip or a large pool, a cabana, or an open barbeque area with all its hardscape area with all its drainage allowed for. The last thing we want is a twenty-foot sinkhole appearing from nowhere because we cut corners and didn’t put in sufficient drainage lines. Now, you need to consult with a professional on this topic unless you are a structural or civil engineer. Okay, you are not building the Sydney Opera House, but respect is due on this topic.
Apart from footings, foundations, and drainage, you also need to think about other items such as electricity, especially if you’re going to have mega parties at Thanksgiving or Christmas time, and you wish to light up your garden area as Chevy Chase did in National Lampoon. I’m willing to bet you don’t have sufficient electrical supply to do this – but do you? This is another topic shortly – renewable energy and its benefits. But let’s think about what makes up a beautiful front and rear yard. A 40’ x 18’ enclosed front yard to a urban townhouse can be made to look extremely nice and that including an off-street car space. Well, here is my shortlist.
- Maximize the garden area to the fullest and plan to include the property side and rear fences.
- Utilize those fences by using vertical gardens and lighting on them.
- Gardens can be either deep or thin; the foliage of the shrubs will camouflage things.
- Preferably use solar lights.
- Put a sizeable open cabana in the rear corner of the property and let the garden flow through it.
- Concrete paving is dull; a combination of fancy concrete, timber, or tiling with white polished river pebbles around the perimeter can add a positive talking point over that Belgian beer.
- Solar-powered-up lights at tree bases look attractive as well.
- And then there’s that outside patio, be it open or covered.
- Even a sunken focal fire pit with fixed seating and LED lights built in.
- Have you considered your own private veggie patch or even a greenhouse?
- And finally, how much open area do you want your family to play in, especially if you have a Labrador or the like? The dog(s) love playing with young children on a beautiful sunny day.
So, get a pen/pencil, some grid paper, pull out the survey drawing you had done when you bought your house, write a list (in priority) of what matters and what doesn’t, and let your creative mind go to work. If you think you haven’t got the time or skill to do that, engage your local architect – he has years of experience and may be able to throw ideas your way that you had not even thought about. Plus, he knows what’s in vogue and what isn’t.
Remember, even though you are spending money, your house is your castle and your private wealth fund – it’s going to escalate in value over time, and the longer you hold onto it the more it will be worth at the end.