How to make the call for your landscape work
Saying that you need landscaping is like saying you need a new wardrobe. It can be overwhelming. We can become paralyzed by indecision, about where to start and all our choices, so we do nothing.
Your landscape needs might just be in a specific area or pretty much across the board (or yard). You might be missing color, you might have a lot of things that just don’t fit you and your lifestyle anymore or you might feel like something is missing, only you’re not sure what. And then there’s where to begin.
Write It Down
We didn’t invent the idea, we just happen to know it works. We do this for a living and still use it for our own yards. So grab some paper or your handheld and walk your yard. Don’t worry about what your list looks like or how it sounds, just get down your observations as they come to you.
What doesn’t work? What bugs you beyond measure? What would you do differently and why? And since most of us haven’t fallen completely out of love with our yards, what do you like? Maybe it’s the magnolia blooms every spring, the dappled light that comes into your bedroom in the morning, the privacy from your noisy neighbor. These are the things you want to preserve and in some cases, duplicate.
Get it all down. Then prioritize it. Label your top five priorities—the areas or issues you need to address most and add what it would take for you to feel better about them. If you can put the project into words, give it a name, then add it to your Project List. Once you have your project list, we’ll get to how to determine whether it’s DIY or you should call in the pros.
If you’re having trouble deciding what would fix things for you and your yard—you can’t quite label the project because you don’t know what it would take—you may want to start with a Snapshot Gardening Consultation. A Snapshot session is designed for do-it-yourselfers who don’t know where to start on a small project or area. You bring in snapshots of one or two small areas, discuss your goals and ideas one-on-one with a landscape designer, they recommend a plan and plants and you get a gift card to get you started. This is also a great way to decide if the project is too big, complicated or time-consuming for you to tackle on your own.
If you’re still having trouble deciding what it would take to turn your yard (and the way you feel about it) around, this may be a sign you need to bring in the professionals. An At-home Consultation is the first step toward a professionally designed and installed landscape, one that fits you, your lifestyle and your budget.
So you’ve identified your Project List. First things first. Assign each project a general amount of time you think it would take you to complete. Consider the time it takes to plan, gather and purchase materials and tools, prep the area, plant the area and put on the finishing touches. This is a guesstimate, but check here if you need a little help. One man/woman’s weekend might be another’s afternoon or series of afternoons. You know yourself and your schedule, so be realistic.
There’s also the question of when your project needs to be completed. If you have all the time in the world, great. If you’re having a graduation party or company coming, take that into consideration. Both DIY projects and hiring a landscape crew can require some time (i.e. to plan and do the job or to get on a landscape crew’s schedule), so give yourself as much time as possible either way.
And how much is your time worth? Sometimes we can quantify that (I make X/hour at work) and sometimes it’s a judgment call. What will you do with the time you don’t have to spend on landscape projects? Is the price for a landscape crew offset by the time you’ll have for family, friends and yourself?
If your project is complicated or requires some serious heavy lifting—working around or having to move a sprinkler system, building hardscapes or tearing out multiple beds of existing trees and shrubs—a professional landscape crew will be well worth your investment.
Professional landscape crews have them. You may not. And having the right tools, the best tools for the job, can make all the difference when it comes to timelines and results.
You can always rent, borrow or buy the tools you need. But if you find your shopping list growing—and the money you’re spending nearing the cost to hire professionals—it may be time to call in the experts.
See Skills/Strength. No project is worth a serious injury. If you’re not up for the heavy lifting or you’re using tools you’re unfamiliar with and uncomfortable using, you guessed it…call in the experts.
Details can make or break a project. Especially if you’re a perfectionist. You know what’s important to you and how much of a stickler you’ll be about the results, so go into any project with realistic expectations.
Some projects are easier to ace on your own than others. This list might help you decide what you can realistically tackle on your own.
Some people are DIYers to the core. It’s who they are. And sometimes there’s just no replacement for the satisfaction that comes from doing it yourself.
If this is important to you and you have the time, tools and information you need to make it happen, go for it. Enjoy the process and send us a before and after, we’d love to see the transformation!
For the rest of you, there’s always a landscape crew at the ready. You can start here and the sky’s the limit.