6 Questions to Ask Before Your Next Landscaping Project
No matter the size of your landscaping project, it is an investment and should be addressed as such. If you were looking to buy a new car, you would not buy the first thing with four wheels you see on the lot. There are questions you ask yourself. Do you need an SUV for extra room for the kids? Are you going to need a truck bed to load down on those Saturday work days? Is gas mileage more important to you? Just like buying a car, there are questions you need to ask yourself before undertaking a landscape project. Here are a few that I hope will help you in making your decision:
1. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OR INTENT OF THE PROJECT?
If you are looking to do some improvements to your home, there is inevitably a reason that you want to do it. You may want to increase the property value to sell it. You may need to address some problem areas, such as drainage. Or maybe you want a great space to entertain and enjoy the outdoors. Whatever your reason, be sure to inform your landscape professional not just WHAT you want (addressed next), but also WHY.
2. WHAT DO YOU NEED AND WHAT DO YOU WANT?
We hear often from clients a long laundry list of features they want included in their landscape design, but when it boils down to it, they may not have it in their budget to make every one of the features a reality. This is where you need have a priority list. What is needed vs. what is wanted. Providing your landscape company with an idea of what is of highest importance to you helps to make decisions in what can be cut from the project to fit the budget, or "budget engineering".
3. WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET?
If you are like most people, you may have no real idea of what a landscaping project can cost. It is a good idea to set financial restrictions since landscape work can vary from a few hundred bucks to hundreds of thousands. Don't hesitate to tell your landscaping company how much your max is. Ultimately, it will allow them to give you the best end result within the confines of your budget. Any good landscaping company will be honest about what the project will cost and not jack prices up just to maximize their own gains. Also, if you're looking for a $15,000 fireplace for $500, they can tell you up front that it will not work and spare you the time and energy of realizing that later on. With a proper budget, they can tell you whether or not it may be feasible to get the final goal through multiple phases.
4. DO YOU NEED A LANDSCAPE DESIGN?
Although not always necessary, a landscape design or plan is to eliminate any confusion of what product you are getting. With new technologies, you can even see 3D images of what your property will look like with the new additions. You should be able to receive detailed information about what you are getting, including plant sizes, quantities, placement, and even pictures. I would be a little nervous with a landscaper that will not give you anything on paper. If you decide that you do not need a landscape design, at least have them give you plant sizes and quantities.
5. WHAT IS YOUR TIMELINE?
Most good landscaping companies are in high demand from their existing clients and other referrals, so sometimes they can be booked up to a few months in advance. If you want a beautiful spring garden, go ahead and call and get the ball rolling in the winter. Besides their logged work, landscapers work in a very dynamic and every-changing environment. They have to adjust schedules according to the weather very often. This can also push a project deadline back. Two words: PLAN AHEAD.
6. HOW WILL YOU DECIDE WHO WILL DO THE WORK FOR YOU?
There are many ways to approach the search for a landscape contractor, and like most things in this world, you likely get what you pay for. If you are only considering the price, there are many corners that can be cut in landscaping that can come back to haunt you later on. When getting multiple bids on a job, make sure to compare like materials, apples to apples. Make sure your landscape designer and landscaping company is dedicated to giving you a product that will deliver years of satisfaction. Look for companies with happy, polite employees, ample liability coverage, client support personnel, product warranties, and ongoing training for their employees. This may cost a little more up front, but you won't regret it.
I hope this can help you make your next decision for landscaping, and if you would like to talk to us and find ways that we can help you with your next landscaping project, we'd love to give you a free consultation. Contact Us