Homeowner Use and Maintenance Guidelines
Providing complete details on landscape design is beyond the scope of this manual. Many excellent books, videos, and computer software programs are available that offer your this information. Local nurseries and landscape professionals can also assist you.
Think of proportion, texture, color, mature size, maintenance needs, soft and hard surfaces, lighting, fencing, edging, and water requirements in planning your landscaping. A beautiful yard requires considerable planning and regular attention. Most homeowners take years to achieve the yard they want. Planning to install items in stages can spread the cost and work over several seasons.
Whatever the source of your design, plan to install the basic components of your landscaping as soon after closing as weather permits. In addition to meeting your homeowner association requirements to landscape promptly, well-designed landscaping prevents erosion and protects the foundation of your home.
Before installing patio additions or other permanent improvements, consider soil conditions in the design and engineering of your addition.
We construct the foundation of your home, beginning with an excavation into the earth. When the foundation walls are complete, the area surrounding them is backfilled. The soil in this area is not as compact as undisturbed ground. Water can penetrate through the backfill area to the lower areas of your foundation. This can cause potentially severe problems such as wet basements, cracks in foundation walls, and floor slab movement. Avoid this through the proper installation of landscaping and good maintenance of drainage.
Backfill areas will settle and require prompt attention to avoid damage to your home and void the structural warranty.
Keep downspout extensions in the down position to channel roof runoff away from the foundation area of your home. Routine inspection of downspouts, backfill areas, and other drainage components is an excellent maintenance habit.
See also Grading and Drainage.
Bark or Rock Beds
Do not allow edging around a decorative rock or bark beds to dam the free flow of water away from home. You can use a nonwoven landscape fabric between the soil and rock or bark to restrict weed growth while permitting normal ground moisture evaporation.
Until your yard is established and stable, erosion will be a potential concern. Heavy rains or roof runoff can erode the soil. The sooner you restore the grade to its original condition, the less damage will occur.
Erosion is of special concern in drainage swales. If swales become filled with soil runoff, they may not drain the rest of the yard, causing further problems. Correcting erosion is your responsibility. You may need to protect newly planted seeds with erosion matting or reseed to establish grass in swales. It can take several years to fully establish your lawn in such challenging areas.
First 5 Feet
Place no plants of any type of sprinkler heads within 5 feet of your home.
You are responsible for changes to the drainage pattern made by any landscape, concrete, deck, or pool contractor. Discuss drainage with any company you hire to do an installation in your yard. Do not permit them to tie into existing drainage pipes without approval from Parasol.
During construction, we remove construction debris from natural areas. Removing dead wood, tree limbs, fallen trees, or other natural items is your responsibility.
Locate plants and irrigation heads out of the way of pedestrian or bicycle traffic and car bumpers. Space groves of trees or single trees to allow for efficient mowing and growth. Group plants with similar water, sun, and space requirements together.
Choose plants based on your local climate. Favor native over exotic species. Consider the ultimate size, shape, and growth of the species.
See also Property Boundaries
Check with your local building department and homeowners association before designing, installing, or changing landscaping for any regulations required to follow.
If lawn seeding is part of your home purchase, consider this just the first step in establishing your yard. Remember that the forces of nature are far stronger than grass seed. You will need to be overseed at some point, perhaps more than once. Heavy storms can cause washouts and erosion that you will need to correct. It generally takes at least three growing seasons to establish a good lawn, longer if weather conditions are difficult or if you do not have the time to devote to lawn care.
Before over-seeding, remember to fill any slight depressions with a light layer of topsoil. Minimize traffic of all kinds on newly seeded areas and avoid weed killer for at least 120 days. Keep the seed moist, not wet.
Newly placed sod requires extra water for several weeks. Water in the cool part of the day (ideally just before sunrise) at regular intervals for the first three weeks. Be aware that new sod and the extra watering it requires can sometimes create drainage concerns (in your yard or your neighbor's) that will disappear when the yard is established and requires normal watering.
Provide good soil mixes with sufficient organic material. Use mulch at least 3 inches deep to hold soil moisture and help prevent weeds and soil compaction.
In areas with high clay content, prepare the soil before installing your grass. First, cover the soil with 2 inches of sand and 1 inch of manure treated and odorless. Rototill this into the soil to a depth of 6 inches (rototill parallel to the swales). Whether you use seed or sod, this preparation helps your lawn retain moisture and requires less water. Installing a lawn over hard soil permits water to run off with little or no penetration, and your lawn will derive minimal benefit from watering or rain.
Apply appropriate fertilizer and weed and pest controls as needed for optimal growth. Investigate organic compounds for additional protection of the environment.
If Parasol included a sprinkler system with your home, we will arrange to have the installer demonstrate the system and make final adjustments shortly after you move in. The installer will note and correct any deficiencies in the system at the same time. Whether we install your sprinkler or you install it yourself, keep these points in mind.
You are responsible for routine cleaning and adjusting sprinkler heads, and shutting the system down in the fall. Failure to drain the system before freezing temperatures can result in broken lines, which will be your responsibility to repair.
Conduct weekly operational checks to ensure proper performance of the system. Direct sprinkler heads away from home. Trickler- or bubbler-type irrigation systems are not recommended for use adjacent to your home.
Automatic timers permit you to water at optimum times, whether at home, away, awake, or asleep. The amount of water provided to each zone can be accurately and consistently controlled and easily adjusted with a timed system. Check the system after a power outage and keep a battery in place if your system offers that as a backup.
The soil in your area may have stones and rocks. Removing these naturally occurring elements is a maintenance activity. If Parasol installs seed or sod, large rocks will be picked up and surface raking performed. You will need to provide continuous attention to this condition as you care for your yard.
Parasol values trees as one of the features that make up an attractive community and add value to the homes we build. We take steps to protect and preserve existing trees in the area of your home. Despite our efforts, existing trees located on construction sites can suffer damage from construction activities, which manifest months after the completion of construction.
Damage to existing trees can be caused by compaction of soil in the root zone, changing water flow patterns on the lot, disturbing the root system, and removing other trees to make room for the home. The newly exposed tree may react to conditions it is unaccustomed to. Caring for existing trees, including pruning dead branches or removing these trees altogether, is your responsibility.
Remember to water trees during the summer or during warm, dry periods in the winter. Mulch around trees and avoid tilling or planting flower beds around trees. This is especially important while trees are recovering from the construction process.
Trees and other plant materials that exist on the lot when construction begins and are not part of any landscaping installed by Parasol are excluded from warranty coverage.
A slight depression may develop in the front lawn along the line of the utility trench. To correct this, roll back the sod, spread topsoil underneath to level the area, and then relay the sod.
Before any significant digging, check the location of buried service leads by calling the local utility locating service. In most cases, wires and pipes run straight from the main service to the public supply.
See also Easements.
Waiting to Landscape
If you leave the ground unlandscaped, it erodes. Correcting erosion that occurs after closing is your responsibility.
Weeds will appear in your new lawn whether seed or sod is used. Left unlandscaped, your yard will quickly begin to show weeds. When soil is disturbed, dormant seeds come to the surface and germinate. The best control is a healthy lawn, achieved through regular care and attention.
Parasol recommends careful consideration of landscape design and selection of planting materials to minimize the demands of your yard on water supplies. Detailed information about Xeriscape® is available from reputable nurseries. This has the triple benefit of helping the environment, saving on water bills, and reducing the amount of moisture reaching your foundation.
Parasol Limited Warranty Guidelines
Landscape materials we install are warranted for one growing season. We will confirm the healthy condition of all plant materials during the orientation. Maintaining landscaping is your responsibility.