Getting a grip on costs

You have lots of variables to consider, and costs vary wildly depending on the kinds of improvements you'll be making. A flagstone patio can cost 20 or 30 times what a ground cover would for the same area, for example, and generally speaking, landscaping an entire yard front and rear can set you back the price of a new car or two. But many smaller projects and improvements won't break the bank.

No matter the size of your project, you can save tons of money by doing the work yourself and by tapping the waste stream for materials whenever you can. See Chapter 2 for some inspiring waste stream resources.

Developing a good tight budget is difficult when you aren't sure what you'll be doing, so develop your design first. Then do your homework. Talk to contractors, shop for materials, and also consider the value of your own time. Don't get too detailed at this stage. When you know exactly what you'll be doing, you can crunch the numbers to determine the total expense and adjust your plan as needed.

If you'll be doing an entire property, this number will be big. If the number is too big, consider how you could lower costs without compromising quality (smaller plants, less hardscape, and a manual irrigation system, for example).

Or break the project into phases spread out over a few months or even years. For instance, you may tackle just the front yard during the first phase, and then follow up later with paths, patios, lighting, and other features. You have lots of options that help keep the money end of things on track.

ir Keep track of expenses with a spreadsheet. Log all the elements of the project and what they cost: the tractor used for demolition, tree trimming, topsoil, ir^ll irrigation equipment, contracted labor (which may be the whole job), incidental expenses like a portable toilet for the workers, and so on. The handy thing about having costs set up this way is that you can keep updating your costs as your design goes through its inevitable changes. You can also use it to track actual costs as the project progresses. Check out Chapter 3 for more help keeping cost in mind.

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.

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