What to Expect when you are Expecting...to Start a Landscaping Project
If you have been thinking about getting an outdoor project started this year, the process may seem a bit overwhelming. But not to worry, we are here to guide you through it!
Step 1: Getting Ideas
Before you start searching for landscaping contractors, it’s a good idea to get a general vision of what you want out of your project. Asking yourself a few questions will help to clarify things, such as:
What will be the primary use of the outdoor space? Will it for entertaining friends and family, an area to just sit and relax while drinking a coffee, or is it going to be a kid-friendly space? If you have pets you may want to think about incorporating ways to make it safe and enjoyable for your animal babies. Having a clear idea of the main purpose of the project should be understood and stated at the beginning so that at the end of the project you know you will be happy.
What is your budget? Sometimes it comes as a shock as to how much building an outdoor oasis can cost, so it’s a good idea to spend some time and think about your budget. In our experience most outdoor landscape project costs between $15,000-$80,000, with the average being around $35,000. If you don't have the resources right now, there are a few options when it comes to getting the project started.
Build in phases: A good contractor will help you plan projects so that it can be done in phases in a way that minimizes the potential chaos of having a partially completed project. Project phasing should be done in a way that makes it seem like the first phase was a stand-alone project. That way if things change and you can't continue building right away, it won't be as stressful or obvious.
Get the project financed: Sometimes it makes sense to finance a project and pay it off it in small amounts over a few years. Our company has a partnership with Financeit, a quick and easy way to get financing to build your dream project today, up to $60,000. (Visit our blog called "When you don’t have the budget" to get a more in-depth about this topic)
Visit local showrooms: Prince George has few great local businesses that specialize in outdoor spaces.
Island Cache Stone Company: For landscape supply such as paving stone, retaining walls, granite landscape features, benches, mulches, soils and much more, visit Island Cache Stone Company at 180 River Road, down by the Railway Museum. They even have a fantastic website with pricing!
Uncle Johns Greenhouse: For plants and shrubs, we recommend talking to the pros at Uncle Johns Greenhouse, they have a main location up in the Hart area just off of the highway heading North, 9367 Nielson Rd. They also have a satellite store located within Island Cache Stone Company's location on River Road. Convenient? I sure think so.
Decked Out Home and Patio: The next place you will want to check out is Decked Out Home and Patio, located at the bottom of Pedan Hill, across from Best Buy and Boston Pizza, 4004 Cowart Road. If you are looking to make your space really comfortable, this is the place to be!
A good contractor will help you set a budget for these locations and even visit these places with you and help you with options.
Step 2: Choose a Contractor:
If you are not a Do-It-Yourselfer you are going to want to find a good Landscape contractor. For an in-depth look into this topic click here. A few things to look out for:
Call-backs: Does the contractor take the time to call you back, even if they don't have the time or resources to help you build your project?
Are they asking the right questions?: A good landscape contractor will be asking a lot of questions to help determine your project needs, soil conditions, the life expectancy of the project etc.
Do they lay out their process in advance so you understand, their time frames, capacity and payment terms? You should be feeling comfortable with the business you are hiring to build your dreams. If you only have a lukewarm feeling about a contractor it may be best to keep looking.
Is the contractor Insured? A question that seems to never be asked, but is of the utmost importance is, "Are you insured and do you pay your WorkSafeBC premiums." You may be on the hook to cover these items, so don't be caught by surprise, ask the question and ask for written proof!
Written Proposal: Make sure you have a written proposal that outlines items such as: Cost, Payment terms, Project Tolerances, Safety and Environmental Considerations, Timelines and Project Wrap-up.
Step 3: During the Project
Expect Disruptions and Noise: Generally, an outdoor project can be very disruptive. Most contractors want to start as early as 7am so that they can get as much done before it gets too hot. A good contractor will try to minimize disruptions as much as possible and ensure that they keep the site clean, tidy and safe every step of the way.
Expect yard damage during the construction: Driving equipment back and forth transporting materials can cause damage to lawns, existing patios and driveways. A good contractor will try and minimize the effects of these as well using, plywood to drive over and planning the project in a way that keeps movement to a minimum. Clean up and yard repairs should be a separate line item in the contract to ensure that the site will be returned to a "like previous" state.
Crews staying on site from start to finish: Although not always possible, a good landscaper will start a project and stick with it until complete. They shouldn't be starting and stopping to go work on other projects.
Keep Up to Date: Make sure that the contractor is continually communicating with you about the progress of the project and giving you opportunities to speak your mind if you are not happy. Do not leave this to the end of the project where it can end up in a court battle.
Step 4: Project Completion
Final Walkthrough: When the project is complete this will be your chance to voice any last minute concerns before paying the remainder of the contract, although if given the chance throughout the project, this will not be necessary.
The Site is being left clean and tidy: Make sure that the contractor has fully cleaned up after themselves, including hauling away waste, excess materials, sweeping and power washing if necessary.
Write a review an tell your friends: If the contractor has a website, Google listing or Facebook Page be sure to write a glowing review if you are happy with the experience. But if you are not happy, talk directly to the contractor first before posting anything public. If that doesn't work then, by all means, express your concerns in a constructive way.
To easily schedule a consult with Northern Earthworks Solutions and begin a great landscaping experience click here.
Cory Klein is the Founder or Northern Earthworks Solutions and prides himself on creating great landscaping experiences for our customers. To contact Cory directly you can email or call (250) 961-2703.