Hire a Landscaper, but Consider These Things First!
Before you hire a landscaper just kind of willy-nilly, arm yourself with some good info. You’ll save yourself time, money and – potentially – a lot of aggravation!
Before You Hire a Landscaper
Before you hire a landscaper, you want to be armed with information on how to develop your landscaping plan. This is likely the single biggest hurdle facing someone who knows that they’d like to renovate all or part of their yard.
When you aren’t quite sure what to do, how to start or how to figure projected costs, take these steps:
I. Start with an Assessment
Figuring out your landscaping plan begins with an assessment. You can start by taking an inventory yourself of your property’s challenges and features and then prioritizing what you think you’d like in your landscaping master plan while you also give some thought to what’s possible given your property. At the same time, begin giving some thought to your budget and what’s affordable for you.
This assessment along with thought about your budget is a great launch pad for starting a conversation with a landscaper and should be done before you schedule a home consultation. We offer a Landscape Assessment & Planning Guide as a free download. You can get this free tool here.
II. Book a Landscaping Consultation
After you’ve done an assessment, schedule an on-site consultation with a landscaper when you are ready to start getting outside ideas about your property. Be sure to ask if there is a charge for the consultation and what you’ll “get out of it” once it’s done.
You may have heard that you can get a landscaping plan for free from local nurseries or garden centers. Many of these outlets may have designers on staff and some may even offer you free plans, but before you start implementing a free plan, remember that there can be “hidden” issues in landscapes that require an experienced eye to catch.
In a nutshell, if you want to start implementing a landscaping plan tailored to your specific needs and the challenges of your property, consider your landscaping plan as an investment and a blueprint.
III. Consider Each Landscaper’s “Style”
Some landscaping neophytes worry that a landscape designer or architect will project his or her tastes or style onto your project. While every professional will bring his or her own flavor to a project, designing to your style is the charge of the landscaper. Because it goes without saying that each professional’s creative and practical conclusions would not be identical in a design and style plan, when looking at professionals you might consider the overall flow of their design work. Try to take a read on the landscaper’s sense of artistry and flow, then imagine how he or she might plan your project within the parameters of your tastes and preferences.
IV. Find Out Who “Owns” the Landscaping Plans, Once They are Developed
Regardless of who may be assisting you in creating your outdoor master plan or landscaping blueprint, find out if you are granted copies of the design in the case of disputes or in case you decide you want to tackle some of the projects yourself.
V. Consider Design Trends
Outdoor living areas are trending as extensions of the home itself. May of the newer trends ncorporate a seamless, expansive look that spans the interior and exterior spaces. We strongly suggest that you browse Pinterest boards and/or Houzz to get some inspiration.
VI. Consider Researching Options Before Making Final Decisions
If you have the time and are interested in a uniquely-you design to your project, think about researching softscaping styles, hardscaping materials, accessories and plants that will work in your zone before or while you are talking with a landscaper.
You might find yourself drawn to a particular style of hardscaping materials, particular plants or landscaping styles. When you do, convey them to your landscaper. Print out pictures of what you like and label plants and materials so that your landscaper can help deliver what you most love.For example, there
For example, a garden may be just one or two elements within your overall plan. Consider that there are a multitude of garden types alone to choose from, such as:
• Entry Gardens
• Evergreen Gardens
• Perennial Gardens
• Bonsai Gardens
• Rain Gardens
• Edible Gardens
• Shade Gardens
• Butterfly Gardens
• Native Gardens
• Rooftop Gardens
• Container Gardens
• Seasonal Displays & Rotations
VII. Consider the Landscaper’s Expertise
Keep in mind that a large part of the reason to consider using professional assistance is for the knowledge and expertise that a landscaper brings to the project.
On the softscaping side, a landscaper has a wealth of knowledge about plants and their needs; their experience can save you time, money and grief by preventing you from making costly mistakes.
On the hardscaping side, a landscaper possesses the wisdom to guide you on materials that will work given your particulars, the experience to advise you on the placement of those materials, and the insight to know how to both
prevent and to solve landscaping problems.
And remember this important tip: If you’re not sure whether you are dealing with a landscape architect, landscape designer or landscape contractor, read up on the definition of each title in our previous post and be sure to ask your landscaper about his or her credentials. Who you are dealing with can make a huge difference!
Creating your outdoor space takes some time, patience, vision and creativity, whether you are landscaping a whole yard or just landscaping small areas. When you’re ready to move ahead, our team is highly experienced in all facets of landscape design. We’ll be happy to talk with you in person or over the phone to discuss how we can help you with your planning and outdoor overhaul. Feel free to call us or contact us online to get started with a discussion about your Chicago landscaping ideas and needs.