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Now that Arizona has nearly perfect weather and we are the envy of the country, it’s time to enjoy the outdoors. If you are considering a landscape remodel, let me remind you this is the perfect time to invest in the outside of your home.

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 like BBQs, Fireplaces, & Water Features, there 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 BBQ’s, fireplaces, and especially water features are exactly the same. For example…let’s use the traditional beehive fireplace as an example. You could interview ten 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 fireplaces has his own style which makes him unique to others. 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 you have covered your bases by checking the Registrar of Contractors and the Better Business Bureau and references to name a few.

With regards to landscape, otherwise known as “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 standout against others 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 shade that plant needs, its watering requirements, growth and litter rate as well as frost tolerance to name a few. This is why it is recommended to work with a seasoned professional, because there is allot more than just digging a hole and dropping it in the ground. All these elements and more have to be considered in a quality landscape plan.

I can almost always tell when visiting a new client whether or not 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 that were driving a UPS truck last week and have a business card with landscape designer on it the next, so ask allot of questions before moving forward.

So before you sign 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 buyers’ market, so don’t hesitate to start your project now. There are great deals to be had!

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