NATURE DESIGNS: Estate Property Must-Haves for Landscape Renovation


By Steve Jacobs,


Any time a home goes through a renovation, the landscape must not be overlooked. Since technology advances at the same rate for interior and exterior products, it is essential to include landscape projects in an overall renovation budget.

There’s an old rule of thumb about investing 10 percent of the value of the home into the landscape. Estate properties, on the other hand, can be calculated as high as 20 percent, with the actual figure based on the potential listing price of the property after renovation (not the buyer’s price).

Here are some things to consider when renovating your landscape:


Adding a “Smart system” for irrigation control is a functional component of landscape design, allowing for remote control over the entire system. Conventional spray systems can also be converted to drip irrigation where applicable to reduce evaporation and runoff, especially near the house foundation.


Zonal controls allow for different moods and usages and are highly recommended for estate properties. LED conversion can save 80% on energy and lamp replacements. These new lighting systems can replicate the same color as incandescent lighting. Plus, when lighting is done right, it conveys a sense of ambiance and luxury.


Many colored concrete and stamped concrete applications will show their age within 10 years, devaluing a home’s worth. Overlay repairs only further devalue the look and value of the estate. Homeowners should consider traditional brick and mortar construction over manufactured pavers or veneers. When paving is made of quality construction, it lends an overall luxurious feel to the entire property.

Pools and Spas

Pools are luxurious by nature, so when it comes to their upkeep, it should be equally high-end. Homeowners can add whisper-quiet, variable speed pumps to reduce up to 90% energy usage while reducing pump noise of their pools and spas. Utilizing an ozone system, salt system (chlorine generator) or a UV filter instead of chlorination will reduce your chemical usage. Pool covers also reduce evaporation and increase safety. With young families, they are an absolute must. Homeowners should also consider solar heating as it reduces energy costs and appeals to home buyers when the property is ready to be sold.

Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor kitchens are the quintessential component in luxury entertaining. Barbecue options with infrared heating and searing, warming drawers, rotisseries, and zonal controls are an excellent way to add luxury to an outdoor kitchen. Proper lighting can also set the perfect mood for weekend getaways right in your own backyard.

Fire Features

Building codes have gotten tougher after the 2003 San Diego Cedar Fires. Make sure there is 10’ of clearance between a fire source and any combustible material. Homeowners should consider using succulents or other low-fire plants throughout their landscaping plans. Remember, homeowners should always clear brush within 50-100’ of their residence.

Water Features

Fountains, waterfalls and other water features should be considered when undergoing landscape renovations. Homeowners should also consider auto-fill options to keep basins in fountains or waterfalls filled which reduces the stress on water pumps. Plus, whisper-quiet, variable speed pumps give you the flexibility of providing just the right flow rate, ensuring that the perfect look is conveyed.

Entry Gates

Entry gates are not only beautiful additions to the landscaping of your home, but they are also a luxury staple when it comes to adding curb appeal to your estate. When determining which entry gate is right for your home, be sure to consider fire regulations regarding access to your property.

Front Door

Your front door should be welcoming and well-tended. Shrubbery and any landscaping leading up to the door should be tidy, fresh and inviting.


Make sure that adjoining areas between your home and your neighbors are landscaped to buffer sounds and views. The value of your home increases when landscaping is not only beautiful, but also offers privacy and sound control.


Desirable views should be protected and maintained. Think about how trees or fences affect your current view. If views are impeded, or other landscape changes are considered, call Nature Designs to discuss how we can improve your property with either more or less landscaping.

Nature Designs has been providing landscape renovation services to San Diego homeowners for 30 years. We are trusted advisors when it comes to improving estate properties with renovation and eco-friendly solutions – through design, construction or maintenance.

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