Photo: Jeremy Levine Design, Flickr.com
Landscaping is an important part of your home’s look. A neat, well-organized yard with flowers and trimmed bushes makes your home look much more welcoming to neighbors and guests. If you live in a warm climate like Virginia Beach, where people spend lots of time outdoors, a landscaped yard is a must. And if you’re looking to sell your home, landscaping can boost your home’s appeal and attract potential buyers.
A professional landscaper can give you a free estimate of what he thinks it will cost to do work on your yard. However, if you’re not sure what kind of landscaping will best suit your home, you can get a design consultation.
Some contractors charge hourly rates to consult and create a rough layout for your yard. Such consultations typically cost between $50 and $75 an hour. Other companies may charge a flat fee of several hundred dollars that will go toward the total cost of the project if you hire them to do your landscaping work. Some companies offer a free consultation if you visit them in their office and provide pictures and dimensions of your yard, instead of having them travel to you. High-end landscape architects sometimes charge a percentage of the project cost. For example, if your project costs $30,000, they may charge you a design fee of fifteen to twenty percent, or $4,500–$6,000.
Besides for the consultation fees, some contractors charge extra to render the official design plans into blueprint or electronic form. These plans can cost between $200 and $400.
Though you can design your yard yourself and perform the landscaping on your own, there are many advantages to hiring a professional designer. A good designer takes many factors into account, including soil conditions, drainage, slope and level of maintenance desired. A professional knows what plants and flowers are best for your region and for the amount of sunlight that your yard receives. He is familiar with local stones and materials for creating patios, retaining walls, decks, and other yard elements. He keeps up with new products and has innovative ideas. If he does not provide the materials himself, he can probably direct you to the right place where you can purchase them at a reasonable price. He can use trees and other natural barriers to reduce noise and increase your privacy.
Once you have the designs, you can choose to do the landscaping on your own if you have experience and the proper supplies. Even so, you still may need to hire an electrician or a plumber if you plan on installing lighting or a fountain or waterfall.
A quality designer can also save you lots of time and money by installing low-maintenance, long-lasting greenery and walkways. An experienced landscape designer should be able to provide a superior design that best utilizes your yard’s natural elements and fits your personal needs and preferences so you and your family can enjoy your yard for years to come.