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February 19, 2007

Know Thy Project (Wants & Budget)

After participating in forum with local contractors and garden designers, the subject of client wants and budget planning was a key part of the discussion. As the client going into a new landscape project (and major investment of time and money), the more informed you are, the better off you are in terms of creating a successful project. A successful project is not only one where when people step into the back yard and there is a jaw drop and wow factor. A successful project is also one that is done on time and on budget, with a good contractor and/or designer, with high quality craftsmanship that delivers on your needs.

To achieve a successful landscape project there are a couple of key elements that require some thought(preferably prior to starting the process):

1- Wants: What do you want for your new landscape/garden? Do you want the English Country Garden that you have been brainstorming about with cutouts from Sunset Magazine? Do you want a utilitarian space that solves some of your yard's problems and makes the space more usable- a place to play, to barbecue, to entertain, to store? At a minimum, develop a general overview of your wants and write them down- share them with your contractor and designer.

2- Budget: How much do you want to spend? This is a tough question, you may not know anything about the cost of landscape projects. Can I get my landscape project done for $10,000, for $50,000, more? Do research in magazines, with friends and neighbors, call local contractors, relate experience from past home improvement projects.

Once these first planning steps have been accomplished now its time to put together a great team to design and build the project. Key factors are finding professionals that are going to be easy to work with, provide good service, and deliver a quality project. Interview contractors and designers through consultations to find a good fit. Nothing can sidetrack your project faster than getting a contractor who doesn't respond to phone calls, doesn't follow-up on promises and doesn't perform quality work.

Next Steps: Read our past articles on budget and selecting a contractor-
"How Much Does it Cost- Budget and Landscape Projects"

"Hiring a Contractor- The 1st Meeting"

Posted by Michael O'Connell at February 19, 2007 07:19 PM


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