Change What You Know About Outdoor Design; Landscape, Hardscape and Finding the Right Contractor.
Now that Arizona has nearly perfect weather and we are the envy of the country, it’s time to enjoy the outdoors. With the holiday behind us there is a renewed excitement in the air and the hope 2014 will be more prosperous for all.
If you are considering a landscape remodel, let me remind you this is the perfect time to invest in the outside of your home.
First … there are great deals everywhere. Many contractors are scrambling for business and this usually translates to big discounts and great value. Another reason to start your projects sooner than later: Shortly after the first of year, most suppliers evaluate their product costs and set new pricing for the upcoming year. That means price increase get passed on to the homeowner. So before these increases take effect, get with your contractor now, create a master plan, and lock in your pricing as soon as possible. Most contractors that have signed contacts will honor their pricing for several months even though they may see in an increase from the supplier.
What’s so popular in outdoor living these days? The hardscape of course! It is a proven fact that $25,000 of great hardscape is a better return on your investment than a $25,000 pool. To build these recreational items, here are a wide variety of materials being used today. Flagstone, travertine, canterra, pavers, concrete products, Saltillo tile, and a variety of faux stone are just some of the more popular materials.
The great thing about building from scratch on site is that no two BBQs, fireplaces, and especially water features are exactly the same. Let’s use the traditional beehive fireplace as an example. You could interview 10 landscape companies to build your fireplace and ask them to show you pictures, and not one would look exactly like the other. Why? The artisan who physically constructs the fireplace has his own style, which makes him unique. Of course there are quality differences, so make sure the company you hire has a proven track record of quality. Go see their work and do your due diligence before signing a contract with just anyone. Remember: You get what you pay for in hardscape, so make sure yo have covered your bases.
With regards to landscape (softscape), here is the other side of the coin. We have all heard how important curb appeal is to your home value, especially if you are planning on selling. What separates the men from the boys is simple” How does your home stand out against other in the neighborhood? Would someone driving by take a second look because something you did caught their eye, or would they not even bother turning their head? A good landscape designer is an expert at plants, trees, and lighting. They not only know where that plant or tree should be placed, but why it should be placed there. They know how much sun or shake that plant needs, its watering requirements, growth and litter rate as well as frost tolerance, to name a few. This why you need work with a seasoned professional and avoid doing things yourself, because there is a lot more than just diffing a hole and dropping in a the ground. How big is that reed or plant eventually going go get, does it have enough space to grow, will the root system become invasive to other tings buried in the yard? All these elements and more have to considered in q quality landscape plan.
I can almost always tell when visiting a potential new client whether their current landscape was done by a do-it-yourselfer or professional; however, there is also one other category of installer that needs to be brought to your attention. This would be the novice designer you called without knowing his or her true credentials. There are many landscape companies who hire people who were driving a UPS truck last week and have a business card with ”landscape designer” on it the next, so ask a lot of questions before moving forward. This is why I have used the word “seasoned” in this and previous articles, because the vast majority of so called “landscape designer” selling out there have no formal training at all. A couple of weeks in the field at best and then they are sent out on new leads and told to “Sell! Sell! Sell!” The unsuspecting homeowner doesn’t have a clue most of the time.
So before you use on the dotted line with anyone, make sure the professional you hire is exactly that” a professional who knows his business, builds hardscapes and landscape with quality and value, and most of all listen to your needs while paying attention to your budget. Good luck and remember – it’s a buyer’s market, so don’t hesitate to start your project now.