The first thing many developers do when starting a new community is to clear cut the property. That gives them a clean slate to level, plan and build upon. While it is easier and more cost effective to do this, our builder Mark tries to keep the land closer to its natural state while also maximizing the usability of the property. Saving trees when possible is not only better for the environment but for our residents as well.



Besides adding more shade and curb appeal, here are a few of the benefits of keeping an existing tree:


1. Homeowner savings: Strategically placed trees save up to 56 percent on annual air-conditioning costs. US Forest Service


2. Mature trees in a well-landscaped yard can increase the value of a house by 7 percent to 19 percent.


3. One large tree can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for up to four people. North Carolina State University


Mark's quest to save trees has led to some interesting conversations around just how far we should go to save trees. For example, one of our homes that is in the final phases of construction had a large tree in the back yard as well as two on the side. The back yard however had a variation of a several feet in elevation that needed to be adjusted. The choices were to remove the tree and level the lot or find a way to save the tree while making the back yard more usable. Many opinions were shared around how much time and cost it would be to save the tree but Mark had a vision of how to save the tree and wouldn't consider removing it.


During construction, the back yard kept the slope and tree as they were until the home was within weeks of completion. Several neighbors and potential buyers had wondered out loud how the back yard would turn out and couldn't envision a way to save the tree. Mark would assure them he had a plan to save the tree and improve the back yard in the process. When the time finally came to deal with the tree, Mark's plan was brilliant.


- The back yard's grade was brought down close to level while maintaining a proper draining flow.

- A retaining wall was built at the side property line.

- A retaining wall was built around the tree to preserve the land around it.


Back yard with fresh sod placement.

The end result is both practical and beautiful as the retaining wall can double as seating for back yard barbecues and events. Plus the tree adds shade to the yard. The solution has received many rave reviews from visitors, residents and the buyers.


We would love to hear your thoughts on tree preservation and / or Mark's solution in the comments.

Updated: Sep 3


Closed cell spray foam being installed at Stonegate

Your current home likely has rolls of fiberglass Batt Insulation on the attic floor above the living area. It may be the same type of insulation you had in your childhood home. It is familiar, seems to do the job and therefor is the obvious choice for a new home, right? We don't think so and here is why Stonegate chose Closed Cell Spray foam as the standard for our attic insulation.


Most insulation types, except one, have a R value (resistance to heat passing through it) of three or less. Closed Cell Spray foam has more than twice the R value per inch at over six.


A couple more notes on Closed Cell Spray Foam:

- It is four times as expensive as Fiberglass Batt insulation

- It is twice as expensive as Open Cell Spray Foam

- It is structurally rigid

- It does not require a vapor or air barrier


Matt Risinger is a builder in Austin Texas with a popular Youtube channel about construction. Here is one of his videos discussing his preference for Closed Cell Spray Foam.

Matt calls out that not only is Closed Cell Spray foam more energy efficient in terms of R value and acts as a vapor/air barrier, it also acts as a bonding agent, adding structural integrity to the home.


Another issue with insulating an attic space is where the insulation is placed. Many older homes, place Fiberglass Batt insulation on the attic floor to provide a barrier between the attic and living areas.


There are a few problems with this approach:

- The attic can reach temperatures over 130 degrees

- Improper sealing can allow air movement between the attic and living areas

- Air systems ductwork travels through unconditioned areas


The result is that the home is less energy efficient and A/C units need to run longer to cool your home as the air passes through the hot attic.


At Stonegate, Closed Cell Spray Foam insulation is applied in the attic at the roof and walls. Due to the insulation's vapor and air sealing qualities, outside heat is more effectively blocked from entering the home. This results in a sturdier roof, more efficient home, AC units being more effective and cost savings in your monthly electric bill. If you would like to learn more about our Closed Cell Spray Foam system or other energy efficient features, stop by or give us a call at 1-352-601-6420.

Updated: Sep 3

At Stonegate, when we say quality, we mean it. Our builder, Mark Fazzary, has a bit of a reputation for being picky. For example, Mark has been known to overbuild things by adding extra reinforcement, over sizing his AC units and insisting on solid wood interior doors. You also won’t find bi-fold doors in Stonegate because he hates how flimsy they are.


Check out the St Johns (C) if you are into an open concept floor plan. This 3 bed 2 bath, split plan greets you with a large open living, dining and kitchen area that you have to see to appreciate.

Mark personally checks the ongoing construction work and if it isn’t exactly how he wants it done, the crew knows what will come next. After a few colorful phrases we won’t put into print, Mark will provide detailed instructions for corrections or in some cases will tell them to “rip it out” and start over.


Here, the crew is applying closed cell spray foam inside one of the homes. Closed cell spray foam is not only more energy efficient than standard insulation, it adds structural integrity to the home that exceeds that of a standard roof.

What other builders consider upgrades, we call standard. Things like granite counters, solid wood cabinets, low E windows and closed cell spray foam insulation to name a few. We are so proud of our quality and value that we encourage you to check out other builders before coming to Stonegate, so you can truly appreciate what we have to offer.


Give us a call at 352-601-6420 to set up a tour of our models and see our quality in person. We look forward to building your next home.