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The Value of Hiring a Landscape Professional

Source: Lifescape Colorado

With spring right around the corner it is almost time to start enjoying the wonderful outdoors that Coloradans love to enjoy.  From outdoor patios to water features, we take pride in our landscape.  For those of us looking to beef our own landscape up a bit, now is the time to begin consulting with a landscape professional.  Hiring a landscape professional to design, build and maintain your landscape can save both time and money.

Improving your landscape design it is not something that you can just return; it is more important than ever to get it done right the first time.  Here are some things to consider before hiring a professional landscape designer.

Do Your Due Diligence – I can’t say this enough….DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE!  Make sure you check references and view previous designs they have done.  A great landscape team will certainly have both quality references and designs and will also be happy to share them with you.  If you run into a landscape professional who acts cagey when you request references….run!

Shop Around – Several people may not know that you can work very closely you’re your landscape designer and team.  If they are truly interested in bringing you the best design they will want to make you feel included.  This also means you should not just pick the first landscape professional that comes to your yard.  Feel free to visit with several designers before making that final decision.

Gut Feeling – Rely on your gut to tell you if they are looking out for your best interest or if they want to take you for a ride.

How did you feel when you initially met them?  Did they treat you in a professional manner and did they seem knowledgeable?

A true landscape professional will consult with many other professionals to guarantee the perfect design.  Professionals such as an architect, interior designer and a general contractor will all have valuable input that can help ensure a better design and fewer unplanned expenses.

Professional landscape designers will also understand your needs and deliver quality customer service.  Some designers will create exceptional designs but may not consider your input and will be tough to work with.  Others will be the nicest people in the world but lack the experience to deliver a beautiful design.  Make sure you select the designer who is right for you.

Use Your Eyes – Appearance matters.  And I’m not just talking about how the designs look.  Make sure to consider their appearance as well.  From the state of their vehicles and their uniforms to the condition of the equipment they are using.  Take the entire picture into consideration as this will likely tell you if they take pride in their work and more importantly…your design.

Atmosphere and Materials – A trained and experienced professional will understand all the different materials that should be incorporated and have access to the latest high-grade materials, which means your project is crafted with quality, long lasting materials.

Consideration of things such as climate, changing conditions and lighting must also be included in the designer’s assessment.  Landscape is about much more than just beautiful trees, bushes and hardscapes.  The ability to select the right materials for the right place and right time is essential.

Taking all of this into account will not only ensure you end up with a beautiful design but will also guarantee that your design will stand the test of time.  Sustainability is always at the heart of a true professionals work.

The Best Boost To Your Home Value

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There are many ways to add value to your home but you may be surprised to find out the best place to spend your money is on the exterior.  So you may want to think twice before you remodel your kitchen and consider renovating your landscape before you finish the basement.

The landscape, when done correctly, can increase the value of your property by 20% or even more.  Even if you have a pretty decent landscape you can still increase the property value by consulting with a professional that can improve the design.  Design elements such as lighting, placement and condition can go a long way.

So what’s one of the best elements to incorporate into your design?  In one word…trees.

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The value a tree can bring to your property can be quite substantial.  Some trees, depending on type, quality and placement, can add more than $2,500 of value.  Conversely, if you have some old and unhealthy trees they can subtract from the value of your property.

The next best element to incorporate would be plants and bushes.  They can provide some really great curb appeal as well as a great compliment to trees and mulch beds.

Another great element to consider when designing your landscape is lighting.  Properly placed lighting can do more than just guide you along a path but it can also guide your eyes.  Lighting brings the outside of the home to life and also allows you to create focal points in across your yard.  On top of adding a bit of beauty and value it also adds a deterrent for burglaries.  Your home is twice as unlikely to be burglarized if properly lit.

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And finally, the last element to consider adding to your property is hardscapes.  Strategically placed pathways, walls, terraces and outdoor rooms can bring together the perfect design by providing division and a place to relax.  Too much of anything can be boring and hardscapes provide a great way to break up certain elements in your yard that on their own would look too spread out.

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So if you are looking for the best return on your investment be sure to consider your landscape.

Setting Up Your Hardscapes

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When creating the perfect landscape it can be easy to focus on the trees, shrubbery and flowers and forget to focus on what can really bring your yard together…hardscapes.  Winter is the best time to begin construction on your design.  Lifescape can build your hardscapes so that you are all ready to go for that beautiful spring weather.

Here are some tips to consider when designing your yard for this spring.

Master Plan/Phasing

Take the time to develop a through plan as it will pay off with a great space and also save you money from redoing work if phased correctly.  Even if you are just focusing on one small area of your yard for now you want to make sure to take think about the big picture.  Create a plan that you will tackle in the long-term and then begin to take on small tasks one at a time.  By focusing on the big picture in the beginning you limit the possibility of having to redesign years later when you think of another great idea.

Select a Style

When designing be sure to think about what you want your outdoor room to be.  Do you want a kitchen, fire or water feature?  Perhaps a nice patio space.  If so, for how many to dine?  Do you want to incorporate an overhead structure for shade?

Also consider the different materials to use based on longevity, cost and its aesthetic: stone and pavers can offer great solutions to replace cracked concrete.  Consider pavers to replace an old driveway.  Creating an outdoor room will add value to you property and will give you the opportunity to enjoy more time outside!

Finding that perfect feel is all about balance.  Before starting a new project go ahead and think about the entire style of the design.  Are you looking for that nice contemporary look?  Or perhaps a bit more traditional?  An earthy organic feel?  Or maybe that broad-based eclectic look?

As you put together your design also be sure to think about the placement and lines.  You may be looking for a style in which you want to incorporate L shapes and blocked shrubbery or you may want to go for that natural organic look where you want to incorporate big boulders and gravel paths.  Whatever you choose, make sure to keep the design to a balanced theme.

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Consider Drainage

Drainage can be an easy thing to overlook.  During your planning you want to make sure to consider the drainage patterns your new hardscapes will create.  You certainly don’t want to end up in a situation where water pools or even worse washes away your mulch.  You may even want to incorporate a runoff where you can collect the water to use on the property.

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Consult a Professional

Don’t be scared to ask for help from the professionals.  While you may be able to create a very beautiful landscape it never hurts to consult an experienced designer who understands all the nuances.  It can be as simple as you don’t know what you don’t know and by hiring a professional you may not only come away with a beautiful design but you can also learn a thing or two.  Lifescape offers master planning, phasing of projects, drainage expertise and remarkable construction.

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Jumpstarting Your Design

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Last week we spoke about planning for the upcoming spring rush.  This week we will be discussing the best places to focus on to bring your landscape alive.  From the types of trees and shrubbery to the areas for hardscapes, we all want to nail that perfect design for our yards.

For anyone with close neighbors who are looking for a bit of privacy you will to consider both the types of trees and shrubbery and its placement.  Also take into account that while you may be looking for some quick growth to get the look you want, you may be sacrificing quality.  Trees and shrubbery that grow quickly are often those that are weaker and will not last as long.  Look for trees and shrubbery with a slower, denser growth that will inevitably be stronger with a longer life.

Source: Lifescape Colorado

Some examples of this would be evergreens such as Green Giant western red cedar, Japanese cedar, white spruce, blue spruce, junipers, pine, pyramidal oak, maple trees, viburnums and privet.

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For anyone with less yardage to work with will want to take advantage of the space that they have by dividing the yard into different zones.  The best way to do this is with strategically placed hardscapes, lighting and furniture.  When done correctly you can turn even the smallest yard into the perfect place to entertain.

Plan Now To Beat The Spring Rush

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While most people wait until spring to begin thinking about their landscape it is always a good idea to start planning in the middle of the winter.  This time, with most of the leaves down, will allow you to get a better view of your landscape that will help you determine the areas of your yard that you would like more foliage.  It also is a great time to begin speaking with professional designers and landscape architects as they can get quite busy as the spring sets in.  Some will even get booked up for the entire season.  So this is certainly not the time to procrastinate if you want to ensure that your yard is one of the best looking come spring time.

Some of you may think that it will be much easier to plan and execute all of this yourself.  While it takes some people out of the equation the simple truth is that the professionals can help you be extremely efficient with both your time and money.  The best thing you can do right now is begin analyzing your current landscape, develop some ideas and then contact a qualified landscape professional to help you optimize your design.

By working with a professional they will not only ensure that your design is cost effective but will also make sure that your design is both innovative and sustainable.

Lifescape has developed a specific plan for each of its clients over the past 40 years and it has proven very effective.  Our 5 stage process helps us deliver the highest quality designs for our clients; from the initial consultation, design and budget planning, construction planning and project construction all the way to the aftercare and maintenance.  This process will leave no stone unturned and will leave you with a beautiful and sustainable landscape for years to come.

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