Landscaping 101

Don’t underestimate the power of a nice yard. Landscaping can increase your home’s value by 15%! If you’ve never landscaped your property, the steps in the process can feel confusing. What would look best? How can you hire the best landscaper? How much will it cost? Here are some tips to get you started.

Get Specific

Decide exactly what you want. The more detailed you can be, the better! Write down everything you want down to the last paver. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, pay attention to what others have done the next time you’re driving through your neighborhood. What do you like? What do you want to avoid? Use your neighbors as inspiration or look at some samples here. It’s good to be clear, but don’t get too hung up on your vision. Time, budget, and space constraints might force you to change course. Have a backup plan in mind.

Establish a Budget

Cheaper isn’t always better. Landscaping is an investment, and you don’t want to cut corners. It’s always better to pay a little bit more than waste money on poor workmanship and landscape design. Landscaping projects can be a big undertaking, but if the landscape design, architecture and construction is done properly it will pay dividends for years to come! Be sure to mention your budget in the first conversation with your landscaper– they’ll let you know if your ideas fit within your price point.

Research Local Laws and Ordinances

It’s your land– you should be able to do whatever you want, right? Not quite. Each state has different laws that dictate what you can (and can’t) do. Usually, ordinances are environmental and place limits on things like water usage and plant species. Read your local laws closely and ask officials about anything that may be unclear. Local landscaping companies know the local limitations better than anyone, so you should double check with them, too. It’s better to be safe than saddled with fees and fines.

Find a Reputable Company

Landscaping can be a big undertaking– don’t waste time and money on a bad contractor. Luckily, thanks to social media and online reviews, it’s easier than ever to find a quality landscaper. Everybody will tell you they do good work. Find someone who can prove it. Companies that have a landscape design process can be especially good. Look for a well-established business with positive testimonials. What do people in your community say about the contractor in question? Are their reviews consistently glowing? Can you find pictures of completed projects?

Get Everything in Writing

Once you’ve decided on a landscaping service, you’ll want to make sure you’re on the same page. It’s essential to have a clear contract in place before any money changes hands. Ask for a document that outlines costs, timeframe, liability, and the ins-and-outs of the project itself. No detail is too small to include. Look at your contract carefully and address anything you don’t understand or are concerned about. If everything looks good, you’re off to a great start. A beautiful yard is just around the corner.

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