Landscape Design & The Law

Last week, I wrote about the first step in creating a DIY Landscape Design: identifying your wants and needs.  This week, we're going to dig into a verrrrrry important aspect of design that, well, might not seem all that fun. . .but as a homeowner, you definitely need to know about it!

Today, we're going to talk about the law and landscape design, so that you can design wisely and protect yourself.

There Are A Lot of Rules Out There. . . 

Unless you live off the grid or really, really far away from anybody, you probably have to follow local ordinances and observe some safety measures when it comes to building on your property. You might even have to obey restrictions imposed on you by a homeowners association!

While the rules vary, generally you're going to find restrictions on the following sort of things:

  • Placement and height of structures (like fences, sheds, retaining walls, etc.)
  • Outdoor lighting
  • Digging near buried utility lines
  • Decks and patios
  • Placement and type of play equipment (like basketball hoops, swing sets, etc.)
  • Width of sidewalks and pathways

The list could go on and on, but just to give you an idea, here's an example of HOA requirements, and here's an example of a local ordinance about residential irrigation.

Know the Law, Protect Yourself!

Even if you're hiring someone else to create and install a design, you should still review the plans carefully, and verify that they are in compliance!

This is because it isn't uncommon for designers and contractors to have a line in their contracts (and you should ALWAYS sign a contract!) that releases them from liability if there is a violation.  That means you, the homeowner, would be legally liable and responsible!

Most designers and contractors will do their best to make absolutely sure that their design is in compliance, even if their contract releases them from liability. They're not out to fool you!  But, as you can imagine, there are a LOT of ordinances and requirements out there, and if you as a homeowner are educated about them, you can provide a second set of eyes. . .and that means a stronger design in the end!


Linda KelsoComment