07 . 30 . 16

The 7 Things You Need to Know About Landscape Design

Curb appeal sounds simple enough. A concept made popular by HGTV, creating appeal that can be felt by passersby, or “the curb,” involves close attention to what’s on the outside of your house. It’s a common term in real estate.


Curb appeal can also be a lot of work. In climates like San Diego, there are many factors to consider such as drought-friendly plantings and features that thrive in a desert climate. Just like an architect understands the inner workings of a home’s interior, a landscape architect or designer understands the outside. He or she works closely to consider water sources, sustainability, access, and blending the indoors with the outdoor space of a home.



Local landscape designers like John and Kelly Corning of Encinitas-based Kelly Grn Native Landscape Living and Martha Dudenhoeffer of Martha’s Creative Gardens & Landscapes in Del Mar specialize in making the most of a home’s natural surroundings.


Why Should You Enlist The Help Of A Professional Landscape Designer?

They’re licensed professionals who are expert in this area, and they often work with homeowners looking to increase the value of their homes. In fact, they recently worked with North County Real Estate Agent Brett Combs on his own home to both boost its curb appeal and improve its exterior appearance and functionality.

By enlisting a professional, you may be able to optimize your outdoor space while saving money, helping the environment, and increasing the value of your home. Whether you are listing your home for sale in the near term, or do not plan to sell anytime soon, this value can be realized in many ways.

Here are the top 7 things you need to know about landscape design before you get started.

1. Landscape Design Is More Than Gardening

Many homeowners are under the false impression that landscape designers serve a similar purpose to what landscapers and gardeners do. There are landscape designers and architects who create plans for outdoor spaces, and then there are landscape contractors that compile a team to complete the planned work. Neither actually does the planting, watering or upkeep. Those tasks are up to the homeowner or gardeners to complete.

2. Landscape Design Requires a License

Landscape design is a licensed profession led by figureheads such as Scott Shrader, whose work has been covered by national publications such as Architectural Digest, and who famously has designed spaces across California from Malibu to Coronado for the likes of Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsy and others.

Shrader has a masters in landscape architecture, but all landscape architects must obtain a license. This requires an accredited degree, work experience that is supervised by a licensed landscape architect, as well as technical exams. Many are licensed in various states under multiple jurisdictions so that they may work for clients in several different regions.

John and Kelly Corning of Kelly Grn Native Landscape Living and Martha Dudenhoeffer are licensed professionals who are based in North County and specialize in the area.

3. Landscape Designers Stay on Trend so You Don’t Have to

From outdoor fire pits to sustainable material use and drought-friendly design, landscape designers keep up with trends so you don’t have to. Is grass passe? According to a recent study by home remodeling and design platform Houzz, nearly half of people are replacing their lawns with hardscape. Are outdoor kitchens “so” 2012? Landscape designers will recommend plans and features that are current and will improve the value of your property today, so that you don’t have to worry about making choices that may date your home.

For example, check out the Outdeco decorative screen panel fence used in Brett's landscape remodel. Beautiful accents that are sustainable and functional can only be found by the experts. It's the finishing touch you didn't know you needed.  

4. Landscape Design Helps Your Home Go Green

The number of people who cite helping the environment as a reason for outdoor projects has declined over the past year, according to the Houzz study, but many are replanting their lawns with native grasses that resemble their green counterparts, without requiring so much water, Houzz says.

For Brett Combs' home remodel, landscape architect John Corning used a netafilm drip system to deliver water to all of the plants on the property. This specific dripline is great for sloping terrains, and features an anti-siphon tool that prevents debris from entering the tubing. It can adapt to any planting area shape, and withstand heat and direct sunlight. The best part? Netafilm drip systems qualify for use on LEED projects. 

Landscape architects and designers are up to date on the latest green technologies and designs, and can recommend a water-saving plan that is geared for your location. John Corning's pick for where to find the best drought-tolerant plants in San Diego? Cardiff Greenhouse located in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. 

In San Diego, where the climate is very dry and desert-like, local experts like John and Kelly Corning and Martha Dudenhoeffer are experienced in the types of designs that work well here, and can save homeowners on water expense as well as other maintenance costs. For Brett's home remodel,  John Corning suggested MP rotater sprinklers, which use 30% less water than traditional sprinkler heads. These are the types of savings you can benefit from when including a landscape designer or architect in your home renovation. 

5. Landscape Designers Know Your Market

Local landscape designers and architects know firsthand the water conservation efforts being implemented in San Diego due to the ongoing drought in California. They can bring their knowledge of the drought to their plans for your home’s exterior.

Landscape designers and architects know how to implement the newest technology for your area. For example, John Corning included an irrigation controller with a rain sensor when redoing the landscaping at the Combs residence. The sensor automatically turns off the irrigation for a certain amount of time once rain is detected. This requires no work from the homeowner, and helps to save water for the California drought. 

These professionals take the guesswork out of planning for drought-resistant plants and other features. They know your market better than anyone because they live and work in it every day. 

6. Landscape Design Keeps Your Home Competitive

If you’re not working with a landscape designer, you may be falling behind in your market. More than half of homeowners undergoing outdoor projects enlisted the help of a landscape contractor and/or an architect/designer. If you’re not working with a professional, that in and of itself may be a competitive disadvantage.

For instance, your landscaping might look great during the day, but what about when the sun goes down? Is your landscaping properly lit? If not, you're losing out on major potential when utilizing your outdoor space at night. To solve this problem, Brett and his landscape teams searched for the perfect company to highlight the gorgeous features of his new backyard. They turned to the best in the business: Auroralight located in Carlsbad. Auroralight offers durable, energy-efficient, and innovative lighting solutions to shine light on beautiful landscape projects. 

When Brett Combs went through the process of redesigning the exterior spaces of his home, it helped keep the home on the cutting edge. Many homeowners are realizing that professionals can add a level of value they never thought they could achieve through their homes’ outdoor spaces.

7. Landscape Design Shouldn’t Be a Quick Fix

Landscape design can be a way to add value to your property fast, but in most cases, by the time you decide to list your home, there isn’t sufficient time to complete a landscape renovation. At least not without a lot of stress.

Acknowledge your landscape design needs today so that you can enjoy an expanded version of your home, in full with outdoor living spaces, before you decide to sell. Landscape design may be a need-to-have for a home for sale, but it’s certainly a nice-to-have for homeowners who want to enjoy the fruits of their landscape labor upfront.


Where Can You Find The Right Landscape Designer?

If you’re considering improvements to your outdoor space, or you are looking for a way to improve the value of your home, contact one of North County San Diego’s premiere landscape designers: John and Kelly Corning of Encinitas-based Kelly Grn Native Landscape Living or Martha Dudenhoeffer of Martha’s Creative Gardens & Landscapes in Del Mar.

You’ve Got Curb Appeal...Now What?

For your North County San Diego real estate needs once you’ve achieved your desired curb appeal, Brett Combs of Del Mar-based P.S. Platinum Properties is available to assist you. 

Stay tuned for more from Brett Combs. He's divulging the local experts he trusts enough to tackle his own home remodel. Next up: professional lighting.