Backyard Landscaping

Backyard Design & Landscaping For Rochester, NY Homeowners

Many of the good things in life simply happen outdoors. We often forget just how good it makes us feel, and then when we do go out, we can’t figure out why we don’t do it more often.

Unique Backyard Environments

We create outdoor living spaces that are visually pleasing as well as functional

The relationship between your home and its outdoor surroundings is an important one. Many of the good things in life simply happen outdoors. We often forget just how good it makes us feel, and then when we do go out, we can’t figure out why we don’t do it more often. Life is busy, but we believe it’s better when it includes the outside.

Whether you want a family gathering place, a relaxing oasis, or a resort-like escape, we add value to your property – and to your lifestyle. From custom patios to seating walls to inground pool design we work with you to build a customized hardscape or outdoor living space, just for you.

Backyard improvements : A popular Trend

Outdoor living areas are the #1 home improvement trend

Homeowners are paying more attention to the link between indoors and outdoors. Outdoor spaces have become an extension of the home and are now living areas, recreation areas, and more.

Having a great ‘Space to Connect’ with friends and family helps life decelerate, replenishing a sense of well-being. It’s what makes Outdoor living space such a big selling point for homes. 

It’s also why patios get such a high “Joy Score” (9.7 out of 10) from the National Association of Realtors, which measures the amount of enjoyment homeowners get out of a remodeling project.

The American Institute of Architects, which monitors home design trends, reports that outdoor living space & outdoor improvements continue to Rank as the #1 home design trend. For more specifics, follow the source links below to the actual studies.

Outdoor Living Space Adds Real Value

Outdoor living areas will boost the perceived “living space” of a home, which in turn increases its value. In a recent survey by Realtor.com, 51% of home buyers surveyed, said that outdoor living space was the most attractive quality in a home, over even open floor plans and curb appeal.

“If you’re spending money outside, you’re going to get a nice return on it says HGTV “Curb Appeal” host John Gidding….” having an outdoor living space where ‘friends and family can connect’ adds ‘real value’ to a home. In fact, a mid range patio project, has a return on investment of 102%.”
 

“Today’s homeowners & home buyers value outdoor living space, especially when it’s well designed. In fact, studies done by national association of Realtors show a high rate of return ( around 100% ) on outdoor living areas.”

“…..outdoor living space where ‘friends and family can connect’ adds ‘real value’ to a home. In fact, a mid range patio project, has a ROI of 102%….”

Backyard Design .....What to consider

Space adds value....But.... only if it's functional space.

A good Design Ensures that you are not throwing money away on a Landscape that is never going to look right, no matter how much time or money you spend trying to maintain it.

Sometimes the architecture of the home really calls out for a specific way of designing and other times it’s not so obvious.

It can put a damper on the way a space functions if your guests can’t move around the outdoor and indoor areas in a logical way because it just doesn’t flow.

Consider issues that will have an impact on the function of your space, such as:

It’s helpful to think of landscape design as a recipe. If the recipe is substandard, then it won’t matter how much money or time you spend……it will never taste right and possibly it could be downright awful.

A good Design Ensures that you are not throwing money away on a Landscape that is never going to look right, no matter how much time or money you spend trying to maintain it.

” Spending more money doesn’t always equal getting more money back. In fact landscaped yards that look very Mish Mashed, can turn off some buyers because it can be perceived to be high maintenance.”

  “……Privacy alone raises property values by 3.6%….” According to Smartmoney.com

“…. Start with a good design and keep any things simple & elegant in order to appeal to the broadest range of home buyers…….”

Backyard Design enhancing the space

Waterfeatures for your living area

Water can be transformational in creating a mood and atmosphere that cannot be duplicated by any other outdoor feature.

N.A.R studies, lists a new pool as the most desired outdoor project for homeowners, with 92 % of consumers saying they want one.

That doesn’t mean you have to splurge for a pool. Just the sound of  water from a fountain or ‘Sheer Falls’ will provide your living space with…. “A sense of water”.

Plantings soften and define space

It’s also critical to remember the importance of greenery in your outdoor Living area. Planting areas are used to:

  • delineate and reinforce the concept of space
  • softening and scaling space
  • Creating vital privacy
  • Privacy adds Home Value

Visit our home page to for information on services we offer

Thinking about adding a pool in your backyard ?

What to know before installing a pool.

If you are thinking about adding a pool, spend time planning your overall backyard. Decisions that are made during the pool build, later become the overriding criteria for the rest of the project.

It still amazes me that such a large project, in terms of cost and impact on your property, is typically implemented with very little pre-planning.

On a majority of the pool installations, core elements that will impact spatial perception ( “feel” ) of your backyard & pool space are usually an afterthought.

The problem with that approach is that it can create a very “piece – meal” feel to your backyard….. Space design Core Elements include:

  • Pool height & grading
  • Layout of pool fence
  • Hardscape layout
  • Softscape layout
  • Pool Placement

Typically, the pool goes in without considering the rest of your yard, everything afterwards, becomes an afterthought.

I often see important design elements put together…on site… with some spray paint… as the project goes along.

“Most outdoor projects have a high ROI, but with pools, there seems to be a much wider range, averaging around 50%. The key to maximizing your ROI and enjoyment is the overall backyard design.”

“………Otherwise you’ll end up with just another Pool……….along with a much smaller Return on Investment….”

pool design mistakes. Grading and fence layout. No pre planning was done.
Decisions made during pool build influence everything that goes in afterwards.....For better or Worse.......

 Below……Notice the dropoff….. again dictating the look and “feel” of the overall space….$400 or $500 spent upfront on design and it would be much different for about the same overall cost.

Pool costs and Return on investment example
Above: Most modern pool projects still "visually read" like they did 30 yrs ago....... It's "just a pool"...............with one single function.
pool design pool installation Rochester NY
Above: Visually this pool "reads" as part of an Outdoor Living Environment that includes a waterfeature.

” …….Then it is No longer Perceived as “just a pool” and when you go to sell your house, that whole Outdoor Experience is seen as An Asset, Not a Liability.

Backyard Pool Design

Maximize your investment by changing the perception of your pool

When your pool is carefully designed to be integrated into your overall backyard living space, it becomes a valuable asset. Visually, it will “read” as a captivating water feature which is part of a multi functional backyard environment.

Then it is No longer Perceived as “just a pool” and when you go to sell your house, that whole “Outdoor Experience” is seen as an Asset, not a Liability.

Take that extra time for careful planning and you will get the right pool, in the right spot, with the right outdoor living area surrounding it. No surprises. No guesswork, no worries!! We have alot of very good information in the inground pools section of this website.

inground pool integrated into backyard living space
Above: Visually "reads" far differently than a typical pool. You don't have to spend gobs of Cash, but you need to plan things so "it's not just a Pool"

Do I need a designer to plan my pool space?

It can be tempting to rush to get your new pool in the ground, to be using it as soon as possible. However, the possibilities for the whole backyard become much more restricted once the pool is already in place.

The Benefit of working with a highly regarded landscape design/Build company, as opposed to your pool installer and then a landscaper afterwards, is that the designer will have the whole job in mind.

It’s an investment that is guaranteed to improve your end result. It ensures synergy in all phases of the project, not just the  pool portion of it.

Take that extra time for careful planning and you will get the right pool, in the right spot, with the right outdoor living area surrounding it. No surprises. No guesswork, no worries!!

We have alot of very good information in the inground pools section of this website.

New inground pool installation. designed properly and integrated into backyard living space. Adding to home value

” ………The Benefit of working with a highly regarded landscape design/Build company, as opposed to your pool installer and then a landscaper afterwards, is that the designer will have the whole job in mind.……

Front Landscaping Renovation. Sample of nicely redone front yard adding to home value

Landscape Quality

impacts home value

Does an exact Return on investment exist for Landscaping ?

“….In most housing tracts over 10 yrs. old, the landscaping is pretty much the same….( its not good ). The plants are growing, so that really isn’t the problem….But why do most of them look so bad and almost cookie cutter….?

Example of Poor landscape Design leading to overgrown Front Yard landscaping
This Landscape detracts from curb appeal & Homes Value
Typical track home overgrown Landscape example of poor Design
Typical overgrown landscape After 10-12 yrs. No added home value & instead negatively affects Home value.
Front After installing new landscaping
This landscape in Rochester NY was installed in 2007 and will continue to add curb appeal & Home Value

“….A good Design Ensures that you are not throwing money away on a Landscape that is never going to look right, no matter how much time or money you spend trying to maintain it…”

Bad design.....is expensive

The real cost of bad design

The cost of poor design….. is REAL, it’s just that the the bill doesn’t come due until the job starts to really mature. Drive into any housing tract that is over 5-10 years old, and you can see this for yourself.

Often, the fast, cheap drawing you got ends up costing you the most money. The biggest cost comes from the reduced return on investment you get once you sell the house. But it’s even more than that.

  • Opportunity cost: If your project doesn’t add home value….but it could have…it’s called opportunity cost. Research shows that this can be 5%-10% of home value…even a 1% difference would have justified paying more for a quality designer or architect.
  • Proof: Poor landscape design can actually decrease property values by up to 10-percent according to a 1994 study published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture
  • Renovation Cost: Landscape renovations are popular and most of the jobs haven’t been in longer than 10-15 years. If you decide to renovate, get a quality plan this time around. It will ensure that your not wasting more time or money.
  • Higher Maintenance: Bad design typically causes a lot of extra maintenance. Not to mention the frustration of spending time or money on something that is never going to look ‘right’.

“If you think that good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design…..”

  • Ralf Speth. CEO Land Rover
properly designed landscape example. Adds to home value
This Simple Planting Style will add Home Value.

do I need a designer for a backyard ?

The short answer is YES………….The benefits far outweigh the cost !!

Why you need a designer

Landscaping Adds Value....But it has to be done right

Put simply, landscape designers & architects can save you a lot of money over the life or your landscape.

A well-planned yard will look…..well… planned. When your Plantings and hardscapes are skillfully designed and integrated with your home’s overall architecture, your landscape grows and becomes an asset, adding Real Value to your home.

Everyone can “design” but not everyone is a designer

Let’s say you do decide to leave the design up to a traditional landscape company. It is highly likely that you will get a basic drawing……but chances are, that you are NOT dealing with someone who really understands design. 

A common result of that “limited design” approach can be seen in most housing tracts.  The projects don’t hold up over the long haul composition – wise”. The plants on these projects are thriving, so that’s not the problem. What’s missing is an underlying framework that organizes a project into an aesthetically pleasing composition.

Usually, when your design is handled by someone with mostly plant knowledge (Horticulture), but limited “design” knowledge, it ends up being the most expensive option. It’s Not expensive upfront, but in 7-10 years down the road, when the final “bill” comes “due” is when it gets expensive.

“If you think that good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.”

  • Ralf Speth. CEO Land Rover

 

“…………..It’s helpful to think of landscape design as a recipe. If the recipe is substandard, then it won’t matter how much money or time you spend……it will never taste right and possibly it could be downright awful……..”

 

How to find a Good Designer

To learn more about hiring a designer, what are the options. Including information on:

  • what the 3 most common options are for finding a designer 
  • what I recommend as the “safest bet”.
  •  average cost of a Landscape Designer

Here is some further reading explaining the basic principles of Landscape Design. (source): NC State University.

Jump here to see Costs for our Landscape and Design Service for Rochester, NY homeowners.

A Priceless first step

Landscape Design

“If you think that good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.”

Ralf Speth. CEO Land Rover

Landscape Design

2D Plan view

This is the classic architectural “floor plan view” layout. A 2D plan is like a floor plan for an outdoor area. A landscape design creates a visual representation of a site using scaled dimensions.

It allows for “take offs” when estimating the materials during cost estimation, ensuring accuracy in bidding. It is also important for laying out site features during the installation phase of your project.

I provide accurate linear and square foot measurements for Hardscapes which is better than relying on “take offs” from a third party. It helps eliminate uncertainty, which can cause bids to be “padded”. Just by having me do that, it usually more than covers the cost of a plan and you are assure of getting what you paid for.

Cost for 2D Plans

  • Backyard Landscape Design is usually $295 for an average Rochester, NY home site.
  • Inground Pool Design: Backyards that include an inground Pool are a little more. Usually $395 for an average Rochester, NY home site.
  • Front yard Landscape Design is $250 for an average Rochester homesite.
Custom Pool Design Example Rochester NY

A couple Notes for 2D Plans

  • Note: Some Renovation Plans for existing homes can be a little more. It depends on the amount of existing trees & site features.
  • Note: Sites with larger than normal grade changes can cost more to design if hardscapes or pools are being implemented.
3D design rendering for an inground pool installation in Buffalo NY
3D design rendering for an inground pool installation in Buffalo NY
3D design rendering for a Backyard in Greece NY
3D design rendering for a Backyard in Greece NY

Landscape Design

3D Renderings

One of biggest challenges when looking at a traditional landscape design is to get a real “feel” for what a complex design would look like in the actual space where the project would be installed.

3D renderings can be used in the design stage of a project to help visualize the overall layout. They are not used for project layout so you can consider them as optional.

A 3-D design can give an “in the landscape viewpoint” that helps give you a sense of ‘scale; and ‘proportion’ because it shows you the actual height of plants, walls or pergolas & other elements.

It is a worthwhile investment that is not meant to merely wow you with technology, but to aid you in truly envisioning the landscape.

A 2D plan is needed before a 3D Rendering can be accurately put together. A 3D plan is not needed to layout your project, therefore you can consider it as optional/add on.

Cost for 3D Plan/Rendering

  • Backyard 3D plan/Renderings are usually $250 for an average Rochester, NY home site.
  • Inground Pool 3D plan/Renderings: Backyards that include an inground Pool are $300 for an average Rochester, NY home site.
  • Front yard 3D plan/Renderings: are $250 for an average Rochester, NY home site.

we can help you design your space

Why are our projects always so different? Partially it’s the quality of the materials we use and the care we take in our installations, but mostly it is about creative and thoughtful design.

The right design will maximize the overall function and appeal of your entire property. It helps clarify your expectations, establish your budget and helps you to visualize and prioritize multi-phase enhancements.

Extensive time and detail is put into these plans so that your landscape will continue to add curb appeal, function & increased Home Value, Not maintenance and frustration.

It is for this reason we charge a fee for design work, which is around $250-$300 for a traditional 2D architectural plan for most front or backyard landscape Projects.

Backyards that include a Pool run about $395 Total due to the extra time involved, such as measuring and laying out grades, drainage, setbacks etc.

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Reach out.

Around $295 for a traditional 2D architectural plan for most backyard landscape Projects. We do offer 3D renderings for about $200 – $300 extra, but it’s more for visualization and not critical for planning and layout of the project.

$395 for a traditional 2D architectural plan which is what is used for planning and layout of the pool and surrounding spaces for your project.

Around $250 for a traditional 2D architectural plan for most Frontyard landscape Projects. We do offer 3D renderings for about $200 – $300 extra, but it’s more for visualization and not critical for planning and layout of the project.

We do Planting, Landscaping & Hardscapes installs, (other than concrete).  We will provide estimates for any of that work. We don’t accept every install, usually depends on our backlog.

Not at this time. We don’t always ‘take on’ every installation, even if we do the drawing. We’ve instead opted to keep the design fee reasonable in order to keep it “Fair”.

You choose the pool builder. They will install the pool, including backfill, rough grading and fence.

On projects where we are doing some of the installation work (like landscaping)….. we lay out fencing and concrete so it gets done according to plan.

We actually will be working for you. We manage a project with your best interests in mind. With that said, we work with whoever you choose as your pool builder.

No problem! As long as we are doing some of the other work (like Landscaping) I will layout the design for the mason to ensure it gets put in according to the plan.

Sometimes, yes. But it depends. More so in winter. Just shoot me an email. The fees will usually be a little higher because there is no installation aspect. I’m pretty familiar with plants in the East down to about zone 8. I worked in Hilton Head, SC. for 7 years.

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