Most of the time when we think about landscape gardening we’re thinking of ordinary gardens, the type that any normal family would have behind their house. But there are places that have much larger gardens, or perhaps paddocks or fields joining their property. What are the considerations when you are having to landscape over a large area?
Planning and Large Area Landscaping
We’ve covered a few instances of this already. In our Case Studies section we’ve interviewed two families who ended up having to completely change a paddock and a field in front of their homes to improve privacy and insulation from road noise. In one of those cases the dreaded spectre of planning consent came up. What are the circumstances when you might need to consult planning authorities for landscaping?
The guidelines aren’t as hard and fast as with domestic extensions or garden buildings but there are two issues that might lead to planning consent being required. The first is change of use. If the land attached to the property is currently designated as agricultural land then you will need to apply for change of use if you want to landscape it as a garden. If you were to landscape it as pasture or meadow then you might well be all right, but woodland might not. It often depends on the rules in your region or area.
The second aspect is that planning consent may be required if the changes could affect your neighbours or cause a nuisance. Views aren’t necessarily protected but light is, so if you are putting a large bank in place, for example, neighbours could have an opinion if it is too high. Anything that is out of the ordinary could cause problems.
Trees and Hedges
Trees, in some areas, will automatically have preservation orders on them so you will have to apply for permission to take them down. Equally putting large trees or a hedge in may require planning consent, it would depend exactly where they are in relation to boundaries and roads as well as the guidelines that exist in your area.
The safe way out of this is to consult your local planning office before you do any work. They would much rather be consulted early on in the process than to have to go through a lot of paperwork and court cases after the event. You could also be asked to reverse the landscaping work if you lose.
Access for Earth Moving Vehicles
As to carrying out large area landscaping, the work is likely to require earth moving vehicles. Having a word with the neighbours to let them know what to expect would be a good idea. Talk to the contractors about the access they would need.
Width is a problem for many earth moving vehicles, and the weight can damage kerbs, pavements and drives, but they do usually have good turning circles for manoeuvring in tight spaces.
Disposing of Waste
You may also need to make arrangements for disposal of waste soil, earth and rock if you are digging out a large amount. It makes sense, if you can, to plan the landscape work so that you can use the waste you are digging out elsewhere in the garden. This avoids the disruption and cost of removing it.
Be careful about where you build up with the waste though. Some areas demand planning permission for terracing or hard landscaping that’s more than a foot about the original levels.
Take it Step by Step
It’s clear that there’s quite a lot more to think about with large area landscaping but a few simple steps should make sure everything goes smoothly. Talk to the neighbours, engage contractors who have previous experience of the sort of landscaping you want to do, and discuss your scheme with planners in advance.