Once you have built your one-of-a-kind custom home and the planning and design of the interior comes together, do not ignore the importance of the exterior and the landscaping. The exterior of your home is the place you first welcome people to your new home and the landscaping will set the tone for the home. Living on a lake in Southeastern Wisconsin also means enjoying the outdoors during summer and fall months, so it is important to create a space you will enjoy and make your own.

Landscaping Your Custom-Built Lake Home 


Even if you are a do-it-yourself kind of person and enjoy working in the yard, working with a professional landscape architect is an important step in the process. When living on lake, it is imperative to work with a landscaper who understands how to properly landscape a lakefront home. Take into account waterfront access, views, and future maintenance considerations. This must all be balanced with environmental concerns such as erosion, runoff, and wildlife habitats. The best way to balance all these needs is by leaving as many of the established plants as possible and selecting native plants when redoing portions of the landscape. If you choose the right low growing and accent plants for the right parts of the lakefront, you can enjoy your landscaping with very little maintenance for many years.

Other things to consider when working on your plan: will you entertain guests and how often? Are you looking for privacy from your neighbors? Do or will you have a swimming pool, patio, gazebo, fence, boathouse, or other hardscaping in your plan? What color combinations do you find appealing? How would you describe your style? The answers to these questions will help you define your landscape design. Your needs and style should take the lead when discussing the plan with your landscaper. 


Do not overlook the budget in the landscaping process, both before and after the work has begun. Know how much you want to spend, what it will be spent on, and how much landscaping costs. As with anything else, you get what you pay for. Beware of deep discounts; it never pays to cut corners because it means the job will not be done properly and failure will ensue. Pay particular attention to this when building retaining walls and having drainage put in properly. 


A master landscape plan is a helpful tool that can be the roadmap for years to come. This can also help you to budget. Once you have a masterplan, prioritize what is most important to you and start there. Unless you plan to have the entire plan installed at once, prioritization is a key to completing your dream custom yard. Prioritizing the installation process helps you to complete parts of the plan in a way that makes sense both aesthetically and financially. Determine your timeline and start with the hardscape and then you can create and add flowerbeds and plantings every year. 

Follow Up  

Once installed, there is always an establishment phase for plants and hardscapes alike. Pay close attention to watering requirements of new plantings. Also, understand the year-round needs for your new plants: pruning, fertilization, winter appearance, etc.  Decks, pavers, retaining walls, and other hardscape elements should be visually inspected for defects several times in the first year after installation. 

Enjoy the Process 

Having patience and taking the time necessary to complete new landscaping may be tough at times, but it will be rewarding in the future. Creating and following a professional landscape design and then executing it will ensure that you will have the exact outdoor space you envisioned.