Landscaping can be a big investment. Before you spend time and money to transform your yard, you want to be thoughtful about the process. You don’t need a crystal clear vision of how you want your yard to look, but it’s important to consider the following factors before calling a landscaper.
1. Why Now?
What prompted you to take action on your landscape at this time rather than last year or in the future? Clearly understanding why you want to invest in your landscape helps you and the designer decide what elements can go and what can stay.
Do you need more space for children or pets to run around? Are you needing more functional space for entertaining? Are you selling your home or did you recently move in? Have you always wanted to beautify your property and finally have the time and money to do so? Designers can better generate ideas for how to enhance your yard when you articulate your purpose for the upgrade.
2. Your Budget and Timeline
Most of us have no idea how much a project is going to cost, but we do have an idea of how much we are realistically willing to spend on our landscape. If an estimate from a company you like surpasses your budget, you might be able to have the work done in phases. Regarding timeline- if you need the work done ASAP it will likely cost you more, so plan ahead!
Keep in mind that while “a guy with a truck” might be your cheapest option, it’s worth it to find a reputable firm that’s insured and that treats its’ workers fairly. Poorly done work will likely need to be redone and if it’s not guaranteed, then it may ultimately cost you more than going with a quality professional in the first place. No one wants to invest time in planning a project only to find that the team you’ve chosen doesn’t have the capacity to follow through.
3. Post-Installation Maintenance Needs
If you’re seeking a new lawn or new plantings and you want them to stay beautiful post-installation, landscape maintenance is a must. You’ll need to consider what level of maintenance you are willing/able to do yourself OR to hire a landscaper to do. Hiring a company that can design, install, and maintain ensures consistency along the way.
A new lawn or new plantings will require irrigation and possibly winter protection. In general, traditional lawns tend to be highest maintenance whereas ground cover can do well in shadier conditions with less water. Similarly, an very formally designed installation of non-native plants will require more maintenance than a more natural-looking design featuring native plants, as the former are more prone to disease.