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Re: trees and other design elements

I think that's probably right, Kitty. Most people want their property to look just like every other piece of property on their street. Some kind of safety in numbers. There are probably 200 houses in the development I live in and only three or four of them are "different." And only two that have done away with the front lawn.

Most of the landscapes we do at work [that's three or four a week], are cookie-cutter designs for cookie-cutter tract houses in named, often gated, developments. $5,000 worth of trees and shrubs, 4,000 square feet of lawn [usually St. Augustine "Floratam"], and a $2,500 irrigation system. Most of this stuff, which is selected and approved by the house buyer, is rolled into the mortgage loan. Most builders pay for the lawn and the irrigation outright, and grant the house buyer an "allowance" for the shrubs and trees, all of which are included in the sales price of the house. The only additional cost the buyer may encounter is any landscaping beyond what is covered by their allowance.

I called where I live a development, and it is, but it's an old one, developed back before real estate marketers hit upon the notion of giving every group of 12 streets some kind of development name--I suppose because it sounds more appealing to advertise "a Home in Pelican Point" than "a house on Darwin Street."

One other comment: Even among the moneyed clients, there are very few who have wanted gardens, except for rose gardens, herb gardens, fruit orchards, and the like. In five years, we've had a total of one person who wanted a cut-flower garden and no more than five who wanted all shrubs and trees [no lawn], four if I can't count the guy whose only lawn was a putting green.

On Saturday, January 31, 2004, at 12:35 PM, Kitty wrote:

I think many people are influenced by the media as to what their home should
look like. Check the magazines. You're *supposed* to have a patio and
landscaping. So they have it done even if using it doesn't appeal to them.
I believe landscapers often realize that their clients just want the pretty
picture with low maintenance and that the broad expanse of sunlit lawn still
rates highly with their customers. So they give them what they want. And,
as has been mentioned, many people are afraid of doing things out of the
ordinary for fear of repercussions to property value. Your area is
relatively new and upscale and it would seem to me that most buyers would
not want to take big chances.

Which makes me think of a recent community issue here. As our city expands,
new developments go up in every direction. Occasionally this will include
new apartment complexes or retirement communities. One national chain built
a lovely complex of retirement apartments with the building' sided in their
trademark soft yellow w/white trim. The neighbors were up in arms!
meetings called! petitions to the city to force them to change the color to
blend with the neighborhood! How could they side the complex in that gaudy
brash color when everything else - absolutely everything else - is boring


Island Jim
Southwest Florida
Zone 10

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