After years in the landscape industry, we have seen design installations fail as a result of a poor plan and budget. A client’s plan and budget should be based on goals, and those goals are different based on many factors.
Before you hire a designer/contractor, ask yourself the following questions: How are you paying for your landscape installation? Are you paying cash? Do you plan on to put this on a credit card or possibly take out a loan? Is this an investment property that you plan to hold onto and rent or are you selling soon? Is this property a “starter home” or is it your “forever home”?
If your property is an investment property that you are holding onto, we recommend installing a low maintenance landscape that looks good but saves water and reduces maintenance.
If your property is a starter home, we recommend a landscape that makes your front attractive, and your backyard stays plain but neat. Remember, when you sell this property, the new buyers will more than likely personalize the back to serve their lifestyle.
If your property is your “forever home”, there are no limits. Go ahead and get that pond, fire-pit, and outdoor kitchen. Oh and don’t forget landscape lighting. Sure, the price tag might be higher for this type of installation, but it’s your “forever home”. We have worked with clients who spread out the installation in phases over a three year period.
Honesty is the best policy. You should be honest with yourself and your contractor. You should know how much you can afford to invest, and you should communicate that to your contractor.
Trust us when we tell you that there is no contractor/designer that wants to spend hours designing a landscape that is out of your budget so that he or she has to go back to the drawing board to design something within your investment range. This type of problem can always be avoided by being upfront with your contractor about your budget.
Since there are many variables that directly affect the cost of your installation, we suggest that you talk to a designer/contractor that charges a design/consultation fee. It’s much better to pay a small fee for these services, and realize that you might need to wait some time before you take on a project. Most designer/contractors will deduct this fee from the installation if you decide to hire them for the installation phase of your project.
Whatever you do, have fun thinking about and talking about your landscape and enjoy both the design/budget process and the installation process. It can become overwhelming at times, but the end result is always rewarding.