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From the Ground-Up

November 21, 2016

So, you’ve decided to get your landscape or hardscape project underway and it’s time to choose someone to do the job. Before you do, here are some much needed considerations to keep in mind. First off, when is the best time of year to do my project?

I hear this concern all the time from my clients and there seems to be endless discussion about it—it’s confusing at best. Truth is, any time is fine. Professional landscape companies put landscaping and hardscapes in year-round. Planting nursery stock of any kind is just as easy in the heat of summer or the dead of winter and so it goes for hardscapes as well. Having said that, keep YOUR needs in focus for project timing. If you really want to enjoy your new outdoor living sanctuary in all the glory of spring as life bursts forth, then you need to make contact with a company in the winter. The planning process, contracting, and execution all take a collective and substantial amount of time. These things don’t happen overnight.

The next step, choosing a company, can be the most difficult part of the entire process and one needs to be watchful. Make sure the company is a recognized professional in its field, go to their website, check their references, and observe their work on Houzz, Pinterest, Facebook and others. These days it’s easy to quickly see who you’re dealing with and if they’re a good fit for you. Now that you’ve done your homework, make the call and prepare to meet your representative.

What should you expect from your representative? Age is not the determining factor here. I’m 57 years old and I’ve been at this for nearly 40 years but I know many young men and women in this field who are absolutely brilliant at what they do. The representative must first be very attentive and focused on your needs, desires, and expectations. Never forget that at the end of the day you are the one who will live with the results. They should offer creative alternatives and embellishments, often times unknown to the client, which can enhance the end result. They should also be committed to telling you what you need to know, NOT what you want to hear. Insist on complete transparency throughout the process. This leads to a much more productive working relationship and an outcome that exceeds expectations. The final consideration is cost.

Cost-it’s important and nearly always a concern for every good steward. There are companies out there that charge very high prices for what they do and there are those who, even to the clients, seem uncomfortably cheap. Make no mistake about it, there is a direct correlation between price and professional work and a sizeable percentage of the work we do here at Acadia Landscaping is fixing other people’s mistakes. When you need a design, or plan, for your project, you can expect to pay a reasonable design fee that should be refundable against any work the company does for you. Discuss the expected costs with your designer. What good is a designed project that is not affordable—this is all part of real transparency. Keep in mind too, there is nothing enjoyable about a completed project that is disappointing to you because someone failed to honestly say what real costs were involved for meeting your needs and expectations. Always insist on “hard” proposals. Professionals know what a turnkey project costs at the beginning, not the end. Granted, some costs can’t be foreseen by anyone, but just short of those, you should always know your project costs before you begin. Now we come to execution!

Know going in that execution of this kind of work is difficult, grueling, and at the mercy of the weather. When it rains on Monday and Tuesday, don’t expect your company to operate an 8,000 pound piece of equipment at your home on Wednesday. Remember, they want to get the project completed as much as you. They should run a clean site! Nothing burns me up more than a sloppy construction site. I understand there are bulk materials needed but they can be neatly used and placed for the duration. You have to come and go freely to live your life during the projects execution phase and your company has to hold those needs in the highest regard.

When you’ve genuinely given thought to all these considerations, you’re moving forward with your eyes wide open and your about to experience the joy and excitement that will accompany the completion of a dream come true for you. Just one more example of how good planning always begins “From the Ground-Up!”

—Mike Martin, Acadia Landscape Co.

865-329-4002 . . . inquiries@acadialandscape.com







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203 Gore Road
Knoxville, TN 37919
865-329-4002

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