When Should You Seek Landscape Engineering?

If you're considering making some sweeping changes to your lawn's landscaping, you may already be perusing design websites for ideas. With the proliferation of DIY landscaping shows, there have never been more resources for the industrious homeowner to design his or her own dream garden. However, there are still some situations in which you may need professional assistance to ensure your new landscaping will look wonderful for years. Read on to learn when you should seek the advice of a civil engineer before installing your new landscape design.

You live in an area that receives moderate to heavy precipitation

If you're making major changes to your lawn, or if you live in a low-lying area that tends to flood frequently, you'll want to consult a civil engineer to ensure that your new landscaping has adequate drainage and aeration. 

The number of problems that can be caused by a poorly-designed landscape drainage system is nearly endless. From pooling water that attracts mosquitoes, ticks, and other pests, to rotting tree roots and premature erosion of your home's concrete foundation, failing to provide exit routes for excess water can have long-lasting consequences. And when converting from a lawn to a hardscape (utilizing pea gravel, paver stones, or other non-porous materials as a base), the water that previously dissipated into the earth below your lawn may now have nowhere to go. 

An engineer will be able to map the topography of your property to ensure that runoff is directed to an area that allows adequate drainage and won't permit water buildup. In some situations, the engineer may even install tubing from potential "pool" areas, just like a gutter downspout, to help prevent water buildup.

You're covered by a homeowners association (HOA)

If you live in a subdivision under the governance of an HOA, there may already be relatively strict rules in place regarding the type and design of your landscaping. For example, some ultra-strict homeowners associations restrict any landscaping that reduces the area of your lawn sod below a certain threshold. Others even have rules on how tall this grass can be, or what colors can be used in a landscaping design. 

By partnering with a civil engineer like those at Morris-Depew Associates Inc who is familiar with working within the constraints of various governing bodies, you'll be able to ensure that you don't inadvertently violate any community guidelines and subject yourself to fines and other penalties. You'll also have assistance in doing things like obtaining necessary permits from your city or county, or having utility lines marked.