3 Essential Tips for Hiring a Landscaper

Hiring a Landscape Designer

Hiring a landscaper can be a daunting process, especially if you’ve never been through the process before. With 40 years of serving Colorado Springs and the front range, we’ve helped a number of first-timers through the landscaping process. Read on to find the list of tips we’ve put together to help first-timers through the process.

The Design

It all starts with a good design. A design helps get all the ideas and concepts on paper in a functional and organized way. It makes sure everything you’re looking for fits, has flow, and has an attractive form. Even for simple requests and layouts, well drawn and scaled plan serves to show exactly what the scope of work is and greatly serves to eliminate any confusion between the homeowner and the installer. Most HOAs also require a plan to be submitted for approval before any work can take place.

Another benefit of this process is exploring some of the features you are interested in. We can incorporate a number of fun elements into your landscape, like fire features, expanded patio spaces, outdoor kitchens, and more. If they don’t fit the budget once you get to pricing, there are still a few options.

The Pricing

Many people approach landscaping with a piece of advice that floats around pretty commonly, that you can expect to spend a fixed percentage (10%-25% is a common range depending on who is telling you) of your home’s value on your landscape. While that may hold true sometimes, it ignores the many variables you may run into, like lot size, new build vs. renovation, terrain challenges like access issues or need for retaining HOA requirements, and also anything outside a basic landscape you might want to include, like patio space or a fire pit.

Other times people will find pricing guidelines giving them ranges for the various aspects they can expect for landscaping, then find themselves surprised that the research they did doesn’t align with the prices they are getting in the real world. Any pricing guideline you are coming across online, such as a cost per linear foot for fencing, is more likely to be wrong than right. Firstly, any cost per unit is just an average at best, it doesn’t account for project scale and site conditions. Also, it doesn’t take into account that the costs of materials and labor are both extremely dependent on location. Lastly, pricing can swing fairly drastically from year to year, so if the info isn’t current, it isn’t relevant.

Once you have a plan in place, you should be able to get a quote that helps break down a number of the elements of your landscape. It’s okay if everything you wanted in the initial design doesn’t fit within the budget. There is the possibility to scale items back, select some lower-cost alternatives, or look at phasing some of these elements, rather than just eliminating them.

Other Considerations

  • If you’re budget conscious and looking to get the cost of your landscape down, often times a landscape plan aimed at cost savings will have a greatly expanded turf area. Sod and irrigation offer the lowest cost per square foot to cover the ground, and if budget concerns are an issue is often a go-to. You should be aware though that, at least in Colorado, those savings are going to be short-lived. The cost of maintaining that turf, specifically watering it, will catch up quickly. Colorado Springs has faced watering restrictions a few times in the past, and almost certainly will face them again in the future. With restrictions, it is sometimes not possible to keep overly large lawns looking healthy.
  • As you are going through the design process, you’ll want to consider how long you are planning on living in the home you are landscaping. For example, artificial turf is a premium product with a high price tag, but if you are going to be in your home for a while, you’ll recoup that money in saved maintenance and costs water versus a lawn, but if you only plan to be in the home for 5-10 years, you’re not going to realize that savings.
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