I found this great article and thought it was full of great information. In the current real estate market everything is important when you are preparing your home to sell - remember the old saying "you never get a second chance to make a first impression"? Well that is SO true and important when buyers drive up to your home - what is their first impression? Landscaping is so important.
I will be happy to decide what and how much needs to be done - give me a call!
By JULIE FLAHERTY
LOOKING to landscape your property? The first step may be to brace for some sticker shock, especially if you hire a professional.
''People have no idea what it costs to put in a landscape,'' said Deanna Glory , a landscape designer from San Francisco who has worked on projects costing from $5,000 to more than $50,000. ''It is generally two or three times what they were thinking.''
Most design firms offer a range of services -- from design to installation to maintenance -- but not everyone will need to buy the whole package. If your budget is not big and you still want professional results, one alternative is to pay only for a good design; prices vary, though a plan typically costs $200 to $1,500. ''They have a road map and steps and plans to carry it out themselves, either all at once or in smaller increments,'' said Daniel Lowery, a landscape designer in Seattle.
The professionals fall into two basic categories: landscape architects and landscape designers.
Most states require landscape architects to be licensed or registered, which usually means that they must hold academic degrees in landscaping architecture, pass a board exam and have one to four years of experience. Landscape architects generally charge more than designers, but if your dream garden involves complicated ''hardscapes'' like bridges and pools, your state may require a landscape architect to do the work. You can find some professionals through the American Society of Landscape Architects at www.asla.org.
Landscape designers may or may not have the same education and experience as an architect. So you may want to screen them for their experience in the kind of project you need.
''Be very specific about what your expectations are,'' said Denise Calabrese, executive director of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, which also has a list of members, at www.apld.org. ''Talk with them about what other designs they have done that are similar to yours, and talk with their clients.''
Some designers have internal ''build teams'' that can do the complete project from design to installation. Other designers work independently but often have lists of contractors with whom they work regularly. A designer may charge a separate fee for overseeing installation.
What if you want to save money by doing most of the work yourself? Bruce Butterfield, director of research at the National Gardening Association in South Burlington, Vt., suggests starting small. Trees and shrubs, after all, are living things that need the right light, water, soil and climate.
''It's not directly comparable to putting down laminate flooring or carpeting,'' Mr. Butterfield said.
The size of the project is often a good indicator of when to hire outside help.
''In most cases people are better off doing the personal gardening stuff themselves, rather than trying to move 600-pound trees around,'' he said.
The Associated Landscape Contractors of America, which offers certifications for landscape professionals, has a database of members at www.alca.org.
You can also try the landscape and nursery association in your state. JULIE FLAHERTY