Situated in the heart of Houston’s 610 Loop, West University is an exemplary city in its own right. Tree-lined streets and upscale homes characterize this community that is also known by its proper name West University Place and by the truncated nickname West U.
In describing West University landscaping, you would use terms like comfortable and luxurious, refined and sophisticated. Features of West University landscaping include luscious plant materials, custom ornamental iron fencing, luxurious outdoor rooms, inviting outdoor kitchens and eye-catching outdoor water fountains.
It is a long way from its early beginnings in the 1920s. Then a 100’ x 200’ lot in West University cost about $1,000. Early residents had to contend with basically living in a swamp. The myriad problems they faced included poor drainage, no schools and no fire protection.
From this humble start, a model city grew. West University is now desirable for its proximity to a diverse business community, cultural attractions, scientific facilities such as the Texas Medical Center, and educational institutions, including Rice University and its own highly-regarded school system.
Just as the first settlers discovered, today’s West University homeowners have found that a properly-designed drainage system is elemental to their landscape design. This region of the country has to regularly deal with deluges of rain counterbalanced by periods of drought. In those wet years, standing water creates problems for a house’s foundation and acts as an incubator for that dreaded native inhabitant, the mosquito.
While torrential rainstorms create obvious drainage issues, the ricochet between wet and dry years causes the region’s clay soil to turn into a nearly-impenetrable surface, thus exacerbating drainage problems. Once again, a good drainage system is the solution.
Tree preservation is another important consideration for West University landscaping. There are many things that can be done before construction and during construction to mitigate the damage to the existing trees on a site. Hand-digging around roots and setting up temporary irrigation systems, to name two.
West University strictly enforces its rules regulating landscape projects. The city code is filled with what is and is not permissible, a set of rules that protects everyone’s property value. They govern all aspects of building, including the location of structures, height of structures, tree removal, general permitting and excavation equipment and usage.
For homeowners contemplating landscaping projects, it is essential to hire professional landscapers who understand these rules and will abide by them. To do otherwise means risking fines, delays, frustrations, angry neighbors and budget over-runs.
One example of the city ordinance is the requirement concerning lot coverage percentage. This term refers to the calculation of the precise amount of the property that can be covered with impervious materials. Its purpose is to address drainage problems before they happen, something that would make the first residents of West University very proud.
All of West U has much to be proud of. With West University landscaping, a sense of luxury is communicated in several ways. It is conveyed with interesting softscapes, rich material choices, classy outdoor accoutrements and simple details. The landscapes define seamless integration, lush but always appropriate.