New home landscaping design: things to consider

We take a quick look at how developers can integrate quality hard landscaping into any new housing project irrespective of size. By considering your landscaping options the same as you would treat options inside the property, Brett Landscaping products can be specifically tailored to suit your customers pocket thereby adding value to your development and reducing overall environmental impact.

First Impressions

Homebuyers, when assessing a potential home, will spend up to five minutes walking towards it and looking at other properties on the development. During this time they will form an opinion about the property, including the likely cost of changing things that they don’t like.

With this in mind, how many people have you heard saying how much they love the aesthetics of asphalt as a view from their home?

It is our experience that a great many homeowners commission a contractor to remove the existing asphalt driveway and replace it with something more attractive in the first few years of moving in. This is typically going to cost in excess of £3,000 if replacing it with block paving.

The sad thing is that if they had been offered the chance of block paving before moving in the add-on cost would have been minimal as around 80% of the price of a block paved driveway comes from the cost of groundwork. This is also bad news for the environment as the old driveway surface will go directly to landfill at a time when most of the construction industry is trying to minimise waste.

We believe that an attractive block paved driveway offers the buyer an attractive, functional and long-lasting approach to the property, which will positively influence their opinion before they even step inside. In this way the buyers will be better conditioned to appreciate the lifestyle options offered for the interior of the property and see the house as a complete package.

The Brett Landscaping solution

The type of block paving used will generally be selected to best complement the nature of the property based upon size, texture and colour. 

In terms of size, the use of smaller blocks such as Aura can help to make a driveway appear larger.  Conversely, using larger blocks such as Delta can visually shrink a larger area.

When it comes to texture, smooth, flat blocks will generally work best with modern buildings – a great example would be our Beta block paving. In contrast, we have found that with period-style properties, or when refurbishing older properties, the more aged appearance of Alpha Antique or Regatta block paving can provide a great complement to the building’s character.

The range of colours can also be helpful in matching the paving to best suit the nature of the property; our Omega block paving range offers 8 colour options from basic single colours through to the range of multi’s which are a blend of three separate colours to create a more variegated aesthetic.

From the developer’s perspective, we generally offer a product hierarchy of good – better – best, as well as a large range of laying patterns available from our website which would work well in providing a tailored customer offer for new properties.

Preventing Flood Risk

It is now mandatory to consider Sustainable Drainage Solutions (SuDS) on all new housing developments in excess of 10 houses – but there are real benefits to the property developer beyond mere legal compliance.

When Part L of the Building Regulations was revised in 2002 many housebuilders initially sought to avoid the move to thicker thermal insulation values. Yet today, particularly as homeowners appreciate lower energy bills, its part in providing a better energy efficiency rating is now seen as a significant benefit within the sales package of a new property.

In a similar way, ongoing changes in climate patterns, allied to the development of more marginal land, is likely to create an ever increasing flood risk for properties. This makes insurance more difficult, not to say costly, to obtain for the homeowner so who wouldn’t want to reduce the risk of flooding, or the cost of insurance, on their property?

The problem is even more acute regarding drainage basins, where new developments upstream remove ever more greenfield land and increases the risk of flooding downstream for pre-existing homes. A recent report from the Committee on Climate Change found that up to 45,000 existing homes will be at high risk of flooding by mid-Century so if we want to keep building new properties we must consider SuDS at the design stage.

We believe that in 10-years’ time designing in SuDS for effective surface water drainage will become second nature by developers and seen as a positive feature of a development by potential homebuyers.

The Brett Landscaping solution

Our Omega Flow block paving range is available in 60 or 80mm versions and so is suitable for all trafficking environments. For estate roads 60mm will usually suffice – the 80mm option only really needs to be considered when exceptional traffic loadings are expected. We have seen a wide range of projects where designers have very successfully used the range of colours available in our Omega Flow range to demarcate public and private land.

However, the use of Alpha Flow has also been a proven winner on smaller developments where the designer has sought to achieve a rustic appearance – for example in small rural developments – where the multi-size blocks and tumbled aesthetic were a requirement of the planners.

Lastly, our new Beta Flow option offers a flatter surface with a clean modern aesthetic for the developer seeking to maximise ease of access or complement their own design.

Whichever option you choose you can be sure that our permeable paving range will meet the demands for surface water drainage for years to come. However we also offer our permeable pavement design tool, PermCalc, which provides a quick and easy way to investigate permeable paving options – and costs - at the design stage. This free to use software is based upon the national standards and is also used by a number of local authorities to evaluate permeable paving designs.