Speak for the Trees: Consider Benefits of Trees When Planning a Home Addition

When a person first considers a home addition, the main thing likely to be on his or her mind is what will happen inside the house. After all, the main point of a home renovation project is to enhance the value and quality of your home.

What may surprise some is that what happens outside the home can be just as important in the success of your renovation and the safety and quality of your home for years to come. Surrounding land, and especially trees, will be a factor in what you choose to do when planning a home addition. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Consider the benefit of trees

While some contractors might be enticed by the clean slate of a tree-less lot, especially if it means less maneuvering of heavy equipment around trunks, the long-term benefits of trees pay out in large dividends. Aesthetically pleasing, sound buffering and barrier producing, trees also add to the environmental health of home and homeowner, including lowering surrounding air temperature through shade and evaporative cooling, reducing pollution as well as reducing stress. Established lots with healthy trees also bring more in resale value.

Make trees a priority at the beginning of a project

A successful project will mean planning around the trees proactively instead of trying to mitigate damage later. Flagging desired trees while taking into consideration road and utility line additions may help decide what home renovations will fit into an area. Surveying the site early in the planning process with your arborist and designer will help ensure tree health in relation to the desired footprint of your new home addition.

A comprehensive design/build firm like ours here at Tracy Tesmer Design/Remodeling will talk with you about your goals for your home addition or renovation, including what trees you want to keep versus what you might need to remove.

Hire a qualified arborist

A qualified arborist is a tree care professional certified by an accredited association who also has experience in a wide variety of issues related to the care of trees. Hiring a qualified arborist at the beginning of the design process will ensure proper planning and monitoring of tree protections as the work progresses on the renovation or addition.

An certified arborist can also tell you about numerous things of which typical homeowners aren’t aware, including critical root zones, grade changes, and using a “one-inch rule” minimum (protect 1 foot of root space on the radius for every 1 inch of trunk diameter).  While the cost of hiring an arborist can vary depending on services needed, the long-range payout you receive from your home environment is well worth the investment.

Understand the basics

A certified arborist and contractor/builder can work together to be sure that trees are protected from the results of excavation, grading and road building. Many people assume that tree roots grow directly under the tree and extend down vertically, deep under the tree itself.  

In actuality, tree roots typically only extend around 18 inches deep and extend horizontally like a blanket – under the part of the tree that can be seen, and even 2.5 times farther past the canopy. Understanding how roots support trees (physically and nutritionally) and how trenches and road cuts can affect root structure is helpful in keeping trees healthy and the home safe during and after construction.

Ultimately, it may not be possible to save all trees when completing a home addition, but the benefits to your finished project and to the environment can certainly outweigh the costs of simple pre-planning and establishing root protection zones.  To find out more or to discuss your home goals with us, call 678-450-1700.

Contact us today!