Consult Before Construction!
Do you know that most Landscape companies are large firms with lots of overhead, a few highly qualified people who make a small talent pool with lots of so, so qualified labor? The up side, they carry insurance and lots of it. If you use them, ask for it and you want $1,000,000,000, in coverage but 2 million would be better. Especially in Austin when your house costs that anyway.
Did you know that a smaller company can be a better price, a better long-term relationship (lack of turnover) and a better over all value, If …you know what you’re doing? Many small landscape business like mine back in the day, carry a million in insurance and you need a copy of it if you’re concerned. Call the company to confirm its authenticity…I’ve seen it all 🤨
I’ve owned a small landscape business in Austin Texas for 17 years now and I did construction for about 12 of them, but I was a full-time, personal gardener for the first 5 years in business. I am a Master Gardener, Certified in water conservation, Oak Wilt prevention and native and adapted organic plant and soil care. My specialty is easy plant care because I raised two kids with Autism and I have other sh*t to do. Over the last year or so I decided I no longer enjoyed the construction aspect because as Austin grew, so did the greed and money available to take. Too many “landscapers” and contractors with little to no talent and a shovel full of fast talk and up-sells are working in our yards.
Why wouldn’t they tell you they know how to do something even if they don’t , they make a big profit and many times will never see you again. The real goal is establishing a relationship with these people for a long term relationship and self-education is knowing the difference between someone who says they know what they’re doing and someone who actually does.
In a one hour consultation I will send you in the right direction for plants, stone work, tree choices and so much more. Best of all, I’m not there to Sell you a Thing! I’m there to educate you with your budget in mind and your willingness to do any of the work or not.
A Landscape Consultation is remarkable tool for the home owner because an educated consumer is a scammers downfall, if you’re only bidding on what you need and not what they tell you to get, your already saving money.
I charge an average of $150-175 an hour for this information, but you can also do your reasearch for your hardiness zone and soil type. Visit the rock yards and learn how much materials really cost. Ask your laborer for a full bid including the cost of materials and labor so you understand what you’re paying for. This avoids “add-ons” after the sale which is a notorious trick of the trade.
I raised two kids with Autism with my husbands single income, while building a home and a business, so I know what it means to be on a budget and probably always will. Your money has value and so do your needs and that should be respected and given out of the passion for the job. I LOVE what I do because I am an advocate for my clients and I sleep well teaching them the many “tricks and thievery” that’s been demonstrated to me over my many years as a Contractor working with subcontractors, and as a company with my own crew.
Here are a few more quick tips:
1) Never use Landscape Fabric, it’s an Up Sell. People make a ton of money off of it by buying it by the roll and it’s worthless. Weeds plow right through it, it’s too hot for the soil and doesn’t allow water to permeate well at all. Garbage unless it’s for river rock on a hill, in bad drainage in a creek bed or around a tree.
Instead, use at least 4 to 6 inches of hardwood shredded mulch, ( no colors) this holds in moisture, prevents weeds and soil erosion.
2) Choose your plants from only native and adapted plant lists. Allowing your lawn guy to buy you plants from the Home Depot that are for hardiness zones n New Hampshire is not goin to help you in Texas.
My advice: choose from the many lists of plants native to your area and hardiness zone, and only support the nurseries that carry them.
3) No one likes maintenance, and the only reason people have to maintain their landscape plants and trees should be out of health and removal of dormant materials when needed. The reason however, that so many people are constantly in the beds with trimmers is because YOUR PLANTS ARE TOO CLOSE TOGETHER, or you planted the wrong plant in the wrong place. It’s not the plants fault that you let that guy or girl plant a 6×6 plant in a 3 x 3 spot. Worse yet, you inherited a builders bed or previous home owners mess who had no idea what they were doing and now you don’t either…the photo below very well demonstrated how quickly things can get out of control. Before you know it you’re Edward Scissorhands without the talent.
A Consultation is to decide what to keep and what to remove. I’m not telling you to rip it all out, I need to show you how to salvage what you have and what to add to make it better. Sometimes that is removal, but I don’t make money by suggesting it like the landscaper does.
I’m an educated Landscape Designer as well as having dug the actual holes, and carried the actual 40 lb bags of rock and mulch, I’ve also planted and cared for thousands of plants and trees and now I’m using that talent to save you money. I can do even better by providing a design or sketch for an additional cost. This tool can then be used for bidding and conveyance, or for doing it yourself over a few weekends or years.
If you can find a landscape consultant in your area, particularly one who is only there to teach you, take advantage of this valuable service because they are your first defense against contractors and uneducated “professionals “.
If you find a consultant who also does the work, that’s outstanding, just make sure you take 3 bids so you know what you’re paying for. Referring good people keeps good people working and that’s the advantage of media. It’s also your ally against unscrupulous landscapers and contractors who take from 10 to 20 percent on your sale, and additional sub contractors. The more you know, the faster you weed out the bad guys.
Lisa’s Landscape and Design
“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”