Summer is prime time for outdoor projects and well-designed landscaping is a key element of both curb appeal and the function of your outdoor spaces. Plants and “softscape” can accent or draw attention to a home’s best features, soften or camouflage awkward aspects of a building or site, and help create outdoor “rooms” for entertaining that are both beautiful and cozy.
Landscaping as a tool is frequently overlooked. It’s not unusual to see a new house or an entire community of homes with very basic/standard treatments using the cheapest plants. Cookie cutter landscaping, often out of proportion with a home, detracts from rather than enhancing the home’s design. Sparse landscaping, particularly on treeless lots, tends to make homes and neighborhoods seem cold, unfinished, and uninviting.
Gulick Group views landscaping as an important design element and creates custom landscaping plans for every home we build. We understand how to implement design that is crisp and clean without being cold for more streamlined styles like Contemporary Farmhouse. We also tailor each home’s landscaping with consideration of both the site and the overall community for a harmonious effect. Our goal is always to make homes both impressive and inviting, and to never leave a community looking half finished.
Softscape can screen utilitarian elements like septic tank or pool equipment, soften a slope that seems imposing, or compensate for a side view that appears awkward from the street. We’re careful to include plants that lend color in Spring, which makes a huge difference in a home’s appeal.
Smart Investments; Lasting Impact:
Investing in landscaping can make an enormous design difference at resale. Solid planning, reasonable maintenance, and high-quality plants give families beautiful yards for the long term that grow in and give a home character.
Plants Suited to their Environment
Pay attention to the sun, drainage, and soil composition on your homesite, and choose healthy plants that will thrive in your conditions. Try to choose plants that are large enough to look good when planted, while allowing for growth so the landscape remains balanced and beautiful rather than becoming overgrown or overwhelming in a few years.
Hardy Plants for Low Maintenance
Native species (or plants that thrive in the local climate) require less water, fertilizer and pesticides and are more likely to survive seasonal highs and lows. Dwarf varieties or smaller species reduce the need for pruning. While many specimen plants are beautiful, they often require more water, fertilization, and effort to keep that way.
Deer and Pest-resistant Species
If possible, be careful to use plants that deer don’t favor. Local nurseries and the State Arboretum of Virginia can recommend bulbs, perennials, shrubs, and trees that are less likely to be damaged or killed by deer, or suggest protective measures like fencing or netting.
A Backyard Oasis
It’s easy to overlook the importance of rear landscaping, but the right hardscaping and plantings make the difference between a space that feels like a field, and an inviting, sheltered retreat. Pergolas, arbors, plantings, and potted plants can all lend privacy, help define an outdoor living space, and create a flow between your outdoor spaces.
In communities, Gulick Group often designs a hard and softscape theme for the entire site, creating beautiful communities that really flourish over time. As you consider changes to your homesite, be mindful of how removing a large tree, a group of shrubberies or a fence may impact other aspects of your overall landscape design, and plan accordingly.
About Gulick Group, Inc.: Established in 1987, Reston-based Gulick Group has developed communities throughout Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, including One Cameron Place and Newport Shores in Reston, The Reserve in McLean, Autumn Wood, Grovemont, and the three Riverbend Communities in Great Falls, Red Cedar West in Leesburg, and Wild Meadow in Ashburn.