Some families may be tightening up their budget in order to remain conservative in with today’s questionable economy; however it IS still possible to hire a contractor to help assist you in achieving your landscaping dreams. This discussion will inform you “how to dress up your yard this summer without your wallet paying the price.” Try these simple tricks for kicking off your yard projects right this year! (And as always, feel free to chime in if you have any thoughts, comments or questions! We are always happy to help and hear other input from our customers!)
1. Outline your goals.
This is NOT where you identify what you want, but rather what you want to achieve with a landscaped space. So instead of jumping right to “I want to install concrete curb edging like my neighbor down the street” consider instead trying to outline what you want your space to feel like or accomplish in the end such as “I need a better transition from my sidewalk to the lawn on the west side of my home”.
2. Use your imagination.
Many times our idea of a perfect space begins with an image we saw or example we personally experienced and took a liking too. Stop by the grocery store and pick up the free magazines in the entryway. These monthly or quarterly distributions may have a picture that fits your dreams to a “T”. Otherwise consider taking the time to keep a collection of newspaper/magazine articles, postcards, personal photos, etc. that you believe encompass your dreams of a landscaped area. When it comes time to work with someone on the installation of products, show them the pictures that you are working from so that they can start to share your vision.
3. Research your options.
Personal preference is a big portion of every landscaping project. This after all, is your home and you and your close family or friends will be the ones most often interacting with the spaces you have considered developing. Be open-minded about your end result at this point. Most of the details of a landscaping job come together as the project is being constructed. The project should begin as an initial idea and maintain a margin for flexibility due to site restrictions and other obstacles that may occur.
Using local and available building materials can be a cost effective way to maintain your overall budget, but this may limit your pallet of choices as well. Sometimes it is best to research your options or find a local contractor that has a reputable background for quality workmanship with whom you can develop a close relationship and ask questions while pursuing your project goals.
4. Use referrals.
Often times your neighbors, friends and relatives can give you good insight on someone they used in the past; either giving you a thumbs up or down as to whether they’d use a certain contractor’s services again.
5. Choose a contractor.
The “do-it-yourself” job may sound the most appealing and inexpensive at the beginning of your landscape planning; however, many homeowners find the tasks necessary to achieving their vision become daunting and overwhelming. Sometimes shopping for the best price will not always get you the best end product. Be realistic about what your specific talents are and how much time you have to invest in the project. If you have already tried installing your own materials and a contractor has to come undo your work before beginning the project at hand, you may have indirectly increased your cost in the long run. Contractors can be a very useful tool for current and future projects and you are more likely to get the best value for your dollar if you are consistently using the same contractor to provide services at your residence.
Contractors also have access to different materials and materials at a discounted rate compared to the general public. You have the ability to get their expertise, materials and installation for a very reasonable price when you ask the right questions and find the experts in your area.
6. Secure the details.
Ask questions and make sure you are feeling on the same page as your contractor before proceeding with a project. Questions should be asked first so that details can be as secure as possible prior to the installation of any landscaping materials for your project. In a perfect world, you will know just where everything is going to be installed, but ultimately things may change throughout the actual installation.
7. Be available during installation.
This is crucial to the successful implementation of your landscaping endeavor. If a contractor or sub-contractor is planning on working on your property, you should make arrangements to be available (either by phone or in person) so they can get their jobs done efficiently and with fewer mistakes. Oftentimes a contractor may have a question that pertains to a detail that got missed during the planning stages and cannot continue work (or continues on their own judgment) without your approval. Be flexible and trust in your contractor, but remember that the final result is up to BOTH of you.
8. Enjoy your new space!
This last step is often the most anticipated one, enjoying the work that you and your contractor have put into making this project a success. Let your contractor know if there are any problems right away so that they may be corrected in a timely fashion.
Also understand the importance of a testimonial. Let your contractor know if they have done a quality job and what they can do to assist you further. They realize that you are a valuable client and you are paying for something that needs to continue working for you after they leave the scene. As we said earlier, even more than saving money, developing a relationship with your contractor is crucial to achieving a successful landscape design and installation. Remember, we are in this business because we love to create valuable space for our customers. Accelerated Green Works is a group of landscaping professionals committed to giving our customers the highest quality products and services. We look forward to hearing from you the next time your yard is in need of a little extra boost!
(And as I said above, we welcome any thoughts, comments or questions from our fans! Let us know if you have any other tips and tricks you’d recommend for someone looking for services.)