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Home Step 3. Understand your property
Step 3: Understand Your Property PDF Print E-mail

No, this isn’t some type of new therapy, although at the end of working through our system, many of our clients have gotten in touch with their inner gardener – which, by the way, reminds us of a wonderful book.

If you’d like to find magic in the myriads of gardening tasks and never look at a weed again in the same way, we urge you to read Diane Drehler’s wonderful book, Inner Gardening.

Hazels Home Garden TipHome Garden Tip: Another principal characteristic of an excellent landscape is to have it look like it was always there and you built your house around it. And to do that, you have to know and respect the features of your property.

Walk around every nook and cranny of your land and notice such things as:

  • Are there elevation changes?
  • How does the water drain? Does water consistently puddle in certain areas?
  • Why don’t you ever go to that one corner of your yard?
  • What are your soil conditions?
  • Which areas get sun and which get shade?
  • Is there an area that is neglected?
  • Is there a particular shape on your house that you can repeat in your garden to tie the two elements together?

You also have to consider what you like and dislike about your site:

  • Is there too much wind?
  • Do you hate that view out your bedroom window?
  • Do you enjoy watching the birds make nests in that old tree?
  • Do you want to hide your home or enhance it?

Even if you’re doing only a section of your yard for now, take the time to get to know your property. You may be able to tie an existing shape or material from another area into the current project to create more continuity.

This is a good time to check with your county, town and homeowner’s association to get a thorough understanding of the rules and regulations regarding your property’s development.
Here are just a few of the issues that you’ll want to know about:

  • What are the situations that require a permit?
  • What are your property’s set-back restrictions?
  • Are there any height restrictions on your property?
  • If you are located next to a utility easement, what are the restrictions?
  • If there are any bodies of water near you, such as a creek, wetland, pond, lake or reservoir, what are the restrictions? Even if you have a creek bed that is dry, you still need to check with your town and county.
  • If you are located next to a public area, what are the restrictions?
  • What information will your homeowner’s association require in order to approve your project?
  • Will you need the approval of your neighbors for your project? It’s always important to consider if their property will be affected in any way as you may open yourself up to a lawsuit, not to mention the ill-will you’ll spread in your neighborhood.

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