5 Conversations You Should Have to Reduce Landscape Cost
Over the years, many of our customers have asked: “How can I get my dream landscape without spending a fortune?” The good news is, there are a few tried and true ways to cut down on your landscape cost! The bad news is, as with all things, they come with trade offs. Here are 5 conversations we recommend that you have with your landscape company or contractor during the very first meeting to help keep landscape costs low and improve communication while you’re at it!
Some customers feel uncomfortable talking about money with their landscape company, but it’s one of the most important conversations you SHOULD be having. Providing your landscape company or contractor with a clear budget and expectations enables them to provide you with different options on how to accomplish your goals – without breaking the bank.
2. Plant Size
Purchasing smaller (younger) plants can save you a significant amount of money, at the trade-off of needing a few years to mature and grow into their new homes. Additionally, ask your landscaper about long term maintenance for the different plants they’re proposing to use. High maintenance plants will require more time and effort to keep healthy and looking attractive. This can mean extra long term landscape cost for the homeowner unless they’re willing to do the work themselves. Good news is, there’s a wide variety of low maintenance but highly attractive plants available to homeowners throughout most of the US.
3. Perennials vs Annuals
Annuals are plants that you buy year after year as they only live as long as the warm weather lasts. While annuals are a great way to provide summer long blooms and color, those yearly purchases can add up over time, especially if you’re filling a big area. Perennials are plants that come back year after year, costing significantly less in the long run. The trade-off here is variety – if you go the perennial route, make sure you like the design because you’ll be seeing it for the foreseeable future!
4. Mulch vs Landscape Rock
Mulch provides a number of benefits when used in planting beds: suppresses weeds, insulates roots from temperature fluctuations, holds moisture, provides nutrients for plants, as well as aesthetic appeal. Yet it needs to be replaced or refreshed, often on a yearly basis which can be a significant landscape cost over time. As an alternative, landscape rock can provide many of the same benefits and last for many years when installed properly with weed barrier. In this case, a slightly more expensive outlay may lead to a savings in the long run.
5. DIY Efforts
Many homeowners looking to reduce landscape installation costs have approached us about the possibility of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) portions of the project. This can be a great way to cut costs, but make sure you talk with your landscaper BEFORE attempting something or you may wind up making the project more expensive by mistake. For example: we recently had a client looking to replace an existing overgrown landscape around their home. In an attempt to cut costs, they used a Bobcat to pull all of the shrubs and trees clear. While this sounds like a good idea, it led to 2 problems: Firstly, the roots of some landscape plants are known to grow into the foundation of homes. An experienced landscaper should know which plants require special handling to avoid damaging the foundation when being removed. This client ran the risk of damaging their home, but fortunately didn’t. Secondly, the original bed still contained attractive landscape rock that could have been re-used. After tearing all of the overgrown plants out with the Bobcat, the rock was mixed with the soil to the point where it was cost prohibitive to separate it, clean it, and use it again. Ultimately, their DIY attempt resulted in their landscape cost being several thousand dollars higher than the original estimate.
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