How to Create a Realistic Landscape Budget
Investing money in your landscape makes financial sense. However, like any other investment, you’ll want to do it in a way that fits your budget.
It can be challenging to pencil in numbers for a landscape budget if you have never done any major landscape projects in the past. But, a good place to start is a very general number.
According to House Logic, a budget of 10-15% of the value of your home is a realistic starting point. While this may seem like a lot of money, keep in mind that a good landscape design can increase your property value by as much as 28%.
So with a professional design you stand to see a very good return on your investment. Also, you need to know the 15% number is not going to cover the cost of a high-end custom outdoor living space complete with swimming pool, outdoor kitchen, and dining areas.
But again, a solid design and a quality finished product will greatly increase the value of your home and your ability to enjoy outdoor living.
Experts recommend you set a budget before meeting with landscape and pool contractors. Knowing your budget helps to set realistic expectations.
Due Diligence Required
Knowing your budget helps to set realistic expectations and also to have all of the potential contractors providing quotes and designs for roughly the same finished product.
Be certain that all of the potential contractors are licensed, insured, and hold the proper industry certifications. Next, visit the contractors’ websites to see examples of their work and to review their services. Look for landscape contractors who specialize in outdoor living construction services such as outdoor patios, fireplaces, and outdoor kitchens. Additionally, look for landscape contractors who have an established place of business. If something goes wrong, and you need to track down your contractor, you want to know they have an actual office or shop where you can go visit them.
Work in Phases
One of the most important parts of your landscape project is going to be a professional quality design. This plan will include everything you would want to have in your dream backyard. And in many cases all of those features are going to cost more than your current budget will allow. However, that doesn’t mean you need to give up on even the smallest features of your dream outdoor living space.
It simply means you need to work with a contractor who is willing to complete your full design and then begin the build process with Stage 1. Working from a complete plan, but installing in stages, allows you time to save for additional features and work toward your goal of the perfect backyard.
Check with Your HOA
If you live in a community with a Home Owners Association (HOA), it’s important that you understand what your HOA requires you to include in your landscape and also what they do not allow. In most cases, landscape contractors are familiar with larger HOA guidelines, but ultimately it’s your responsibility to be sure your property meets the requirements.
It can also be helpful to understand the submission and approval process your HOA follows for new landscape designs. Knowing about any plant count requirements and hardscape limitations imposed by your HOA can help you to fine tune your landscape budget before speaking to any contractors.
A budget is an itemized description of anticipated expenses for your landscaping project. Your budget should be realistic, organized, detailed, and easy to track. Establishing a budget helps you determine what’s required to complete the landscaping project and should include how much each item should cost. Build in some flexibility wherever possible to ensure your project can handle the unexpected.
Start with a general list of what projects you’d like to complete, such as:
• irrigation installation
• lawn servicing
• tree removal or limb pruning
• general maintenance
• new plants and shrubbery
• water features
• new dirt or mulch
• hardscaping projects like patios, pathways, rockery, or arbors
• organic garden setup
• edible plants
• fences or retaining walls
• address drainage issues
• flower bed preparation and planting
• exterior lighting
• outdoor entertainment features like fire pits, built-in seating, or outdoor kitchens
When prioritizing your needs and wants, ask yourself these questions: How long do you plan to live in the home? What will be the long-term maintenance costs? Does it make financial sense to do everything at once or in phases over several years?
Delays in materials or shipping can increase your costs. If your budget is flexible, you may be able to afford overnight shipping or change your material selection. Seasonal changes may also affect your budget, especially if you’re trying to hire a professional during their busiest time of year.
Hire a Professional
One of the best ways to avoid costly mistakes is to hire a professional to design a master plan, which not only helps you visualize the possibilities but also maps out the steps to achieve them — and get it right the first time.
A master plan also helps you understand where the money goes, which isn’t always where you can see it.
Your pre-planning meetings should be detailed and thorough and allow time for any drawings to be made. Your professional will advise you to how long this project will take to complete and provide you with a quote or bid for the project.
Havenscapes’ design plans will include existing structures, such as a pool or patio, as well as all details needed for the addition of any new greenery, lighting, walkways, or a variety of architectural or outdoor entertainment elements.
Havenscapes’ landscaping design experts are here to breathe new life into your backyard or lawn. Contact us or call our office at (405) 418-4880 to schedule a free, no-pressure consultation.