Part of having a beautiful home is having beautiful landscaping surrounding it. However, creating cohesive and inviting outdoor spaces doesn't happen without investment, planning, and organization. To get your property to reflect your tastes and aesthetics, you'll need to think outside the boxwood shrubs and geraniums. And that's just one of the reasons to consider hiring a professional landscaping company to assist you.
While landscaping does include gardening, it's more than that. It includes your pathways, fences, water features, focal points, lighting, decks, irrigation ... basically, your entire outdoor environment. Landscapers are experts in horticulture, design, materials, planning, and budgeting, and they can make your home just as lovely outside as you've made it inside. But how do you know when it's time to go that route?
How handy are you? If you're a dabbler, you'll need to think hard about whether you're willing to take on some of the tasks involved in creating great landscaping. For the average homeowner, here are a few jobs to consider trying on your own — and a few that are better left to the experts.
Let's say you're seriously considering going with the pros, but you haven't quite made the decision yet. Here's why it might be worth the investment.
Get expert advice and planning.
An extensive landscaping project is a serious endeavor. A pro will be able to develop different layouts that meet your requirements and review and revise them with you. They know what plants should go where, how rainfall and irrigation will affect the soil, and how to create a beautiful space that is as low-maintenance as you need it to be. They'll also hire the specialists, purchase needed materials, file for permits, access specialty machines and equipment, and ensure that the project stays on-schedule and on-budget.
Save time and avoid hard labor.
Do you have the time to plan out the look for your entire property, research and file for permits, and shop around for the best materials and subcontractors in your area? And then to spend more hours digging, bending, lifting, carrying? Do you know how to get ahold of a backhoe, or break up and remove concrete, or choose plants that will ensure your garden has color all year round? A professional landscaper will be able to do all this, and more.
Enjoy ongoing upkeep.
A survey conducted by the National Association of Landscape Professionals found that 37% of landscape businesses are seeing maintenance rise to the top of their most in-demand services. When you hire a professional, you may also have the option to have them maintain your newly landscaped property, with plans that can range from a simple mow-and-blow to full-service care. The business you hire will go over your options with you.
Boost curb appeal and possibly home value.
A well-landscaped property is a joy to come home to. It's also necessary if you're considering putting your house on the market: A study by Virginia Tech found that good landscaping can increase your home's value between 5% and 12%. That translates into an additional $17,500 to a whopping $42,000 for a $350,000 home! If you just aren't the do-it-yourself type, hiring a pro to help you reap these rewards sounds like a great idea.
Downsides of Hiring a Professional
Yes, landscaping is expensive. You can be charged per hour, per square foot, or by the project. For a total redo on your current property or installation at a new home, you could pay anywhere from $3,000 to around $16,000 for the job. Add in $50-$200 per month for maintenance, and many might decide they can't afford a professional. Do keep in mind, however, the possible boost to your home's value, the time and labor you'll save yourself, and the fact that you determine the budget your professional has to work with.
Water conservation has become a big concern for homeowners across the country, not only those in areas prone to drought. The average household uses more than 300 gallons of water per day; about 30% is used outside the home. In drier areas, that can increase to nearly 60% of daily water use.
Xeriscaping is a hot trend in landscaping that helps reduce your water consumption. It coordinates the use of native plants, professional irrigation systems, and design to reduce runoff so that your yard will require less water to maintain, and replaces some of your flora with hardscaping elements like gravel or pavers. Talk to your landscaping contractor about xeriscaping options for your home.
Be sure to ask for referrals and talk to several contractors before hiring your new landscaper. It will take the right professional to work with you based on your wants, needs, aesthetic, and budget.