Gardening Articles: Landscaping :: Yard & Garden Planning

Landscaping 101 (page 5 of 5)

by National Gardening Association Editors

It All Comes to Life

Now's the time for you to face another kind of reality--the fiscal kind. Putting cost estimates together can be a very time-consuming job, and you may decide to leave it to a professional. This, of course, depends on whether you intend to do the work yourself or hire someone else to do it for you. Although this is largely a personal decision, it should be pointed out that most yard construction (with the exception of pools, spas, fountains, and sophisticated electrical work) is well within the ability of a person with average mechanical aptitude. If you enjoy these kinds of projects, by all means, have at it; you'll save considerable labor charges and experience a great deal of pride once the landscaping project is completed.

If, however, you decide you have neither the time nor the inclination to do the landscaping yourself, a variety of professionals and semiprofessionals are available. The type of help you choose depends both on the complexity of your plans and on any personal contacts you have in the field. You may be better off using someone with whom you have a relationship that goes beyond a mere contract. The vagaries of contracting any type of work to a person completely unknown to you are well documented. An already established personal relationship with any contractor could be your best insurance for the successful completion of your project.

You have many choices for outside help. They are presented here in traditional order of "professionalism" (that is, from the least to most amount of training and licensing required to use the title): nursery or garden center design/construction service, landscape designer, landscape contractor, and landscape architect. On the straight construction side (in the same order), there are handy people, such as carpenters, building designers, construction contractors, and architects. Some of these titles may differ from one part of the country to the other, but, regardless of the title, you'll be able to find someone at each level of skill and experience no matter where you live.

Once the construction of your backyard actually begins, an odd thing happens. As soon as the first section of fence is hammered into place, or your future lawn starts to fill in with the delicate shades of new blades of grass, your imagination takes over and completes the project in your mind's eye. That's why ground-breaking ceremonies attract so much attention. A landscaping project that you may have discussed for years is finally on the way to becoming reality. You may not be erecting a 40-story skyscraper, but as the creator of your own garden for outdoor living, you'll experience plenty of excitement as you take the first concrete steps beyond those vaporous ideas and paper plans. Here's to your own private ground-breaking ceremony!

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