You already know landscaping is more than simple external décor for your home; it involves various elements that can affect the value, safety and structure of your home.
If you’ve decided you’d rather leave the heavy decision-making to an experienced pro rather than attempt it yourself, here’s a list of questions that will help you get the most out of your first meeting with a landscape design company.
Show them what you’ve got
Dreams do become reality, but only with a solid plan. Ensure you have a clear idea of what you want, and are able to best convey it with the following tips.
- Make a list of 5-7 absolute priorities for the yard; whether these are desired additions or features to preserve, keep those things in mind to stay on track during your research.
- Put together some visual inspiration; scour magazines or the internet for pictures, plans or products –a picture is worth a thousand explanations.
- Establish a budget; select a few landscapers whose portfolios you like for an estimate. If an estimate seems significantly lower or higher than others, ask questions. Quality of materials and equipment, the level of certification of team members and the level of experience of the designers can all factor in. While they may seem more expensive at first, they could end up saving you quite a bit down the line.
Tell them a bit about yourself
A good landscaper should be interested in your lifestyle, especially when it comes to fashioning a custom yard that will fit your daily life to perfection. Tell them a bit about the important aspects of yourself.
- Show them your family tree (no pun intended); if you have children or pets, a caring landscaper will advise you on important safety features, such as which poisonous plants to avoid, or suitable fencing around your pool according to city by-laws. If you have elderly or disabled persons in your household, they will incorporate this information into the design so that all members of the household can enjoy the yard to its fullest potential.
- Give them a day in your life; let them know a little about your routine… Do you have a busy work schedule, but enjoy unwinding after work by doing laps in the pool? Do you entertain a lot on weekends, but enjoy a quiet cup of coffee on your patio on weekdays? Are you concerned about your carbon footprint, and would like to try your hand at growing your own produce? Your landscaper will be able to design your yard to best suit your schedule, your habits and your pass-times.
- Get healthy advice; if you have allergies or any other health issues, address them with your landscaper. They will be able mitigate these concerns so your pollen or grass allergy doesn’t go into overdrive all summer long.
Discuss practical matters with your landscaper, whether they are current issues or ones you are worried about. One of the main roles of a landscaper is to address all structural and safety issues during the planning and construction phases as well as giving it a visual transformation.
- Address draining problems, such as ‘wet pockets’, where mud or rain currently accumulate.
- Indicate any previously buried objects, such as wiring for external lighting, cable wiring or pirate treasure.
- Getting shade and light at the right time can significantly reduce your heating and cooling bills. If you aren’t getting adequate sunlight in the winter months and if your house is devoid of shade and overheating in the summertime, your landscaper could resolve that issue.
- Your concern for the environment can also come into play. Your landscaper will know how to reduce the use of chemicals in your yard, which building materials have the lowest environmental impact, or better ways to manage your water use, such as rain-water collection barrels.
- Your neighbours count too and a good landscaper will insure they limit the impact the work in your yard will have on your neighbours, both in the short term (by warning your neighbours there will be some work being done, by example) and in the long term (by deflecting drainage water away from their properties as well as yours).
- How much maintenance will you want to do? Calculate the number of available hours you will be able to dedicate to caring for your yard every week. Now subtract two hours and discuss that number with your landscaper. They can either offer routine maintenance if your dream yard requires more maintenance than you would like to commit to, or find alternative solutions to help you reduce the amount of work you have to do yourself. For example, if you hate mowing the lawn, but don’t mind a bit of weeding once in a while, your landscaper can propose a grass-less yard to help you maintain a beautiful yard with less hassle.
What other questions would you add to the list? Leave your comments below, and we’ll have a Plantenance team member answer them for you!