By: Kevin Moore CLT, Carroll Landscaping, Inc.
One of the most difficult parts when creating your dream landscape is deciding the proper way to go about making your budget. Think about the process of buying a new car. Everyone goes about it basically the same way. Visits to a few stores or dealerships to compare prices, ask our friends and go online to research our purchase. Ultimately, we find the best deal and make our decision. A new car generally costs $25,000 dollars or more for a basic midsize model and the price climbs quickly from there. A new car is a commodity and if we go to look at the same make and model we will generally be able to compare what the dealership is willing to do for us and choose the best option. Landscaping is not that simple. Landscape designers have a wide range of ideas and prices can vary dramatically. Without completing a degree in landscape architecture, how is the average homeowner supposed to figure out what to do? Primarily we have to remember that Landscaping is not a commodity. Choose a qualified Landscape contractor who is willing to listen to what you want and need. An experienced contractor will be able to help you determine your budget after one or two brief meetings. Hiring an independent Landscape Designer or Architect is a good way to find out exactly what you will get from a finished project. Having a professionally drawn plan allows you to have a specific design that can be put out for bid. A plan lets you compare apples to apples and will give you a very realistic idea of how much you will spend on your project. A well thought out plan will also allow you to sequence your landscape job in such a way that you can work on it in stages. If your dream landscape costs more than you feel comfortable paying for all at once, breaking it down over three or four stages makes the cost much easier to swallow. Proper sequencing also insures that you won’t have to tear out half of stage one in order to build stage three. One of the hardest things for most homeowners to accept is how much Landscaping costs. We see a Patio estimate that prices out at $20,000 dollars and can’t believe it would cost that much. Remember the car? A new car loses its value as soon as you drive it off the lot. Most homeowners, assuming that your patio is installed professionally using high quality materials, will never need to redo their patio once it is completed. How many new cars will you have to purchase over the next 20 years? My last tip is a very simple one to implement. Make sure you find a contractor who is willing to pay attention to what you have to say. The cheap guy who gives you the best price is rarely the most experienced contractor who will give you the best value. A patio that is too small or improperly installed is not worth the money you save on having it installed. Spend a little more for piece of mind and wind up with an awesome finished product.