GLInorcal Landscape Construction

Beautiful landscape installations created in Marin County and the Greater San Francisco Bay Area.
Beautiful landscapes and gardens designed, built, and maintained for you. Estimates are always free.
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5 Costly Mistakes When Having Landscaping Installed

You've decided you're going to do it.  It's time to update the landscaping on your property!  Because it is outdated, boring, or maybe too water intensive?  No matter.  The point is you know it is time, and you want it to go as smoothly as possible.

Whether you are looking for a small update or a complete overhaul it is still an investment, and we know that you want to get the most out of your dollar.  One way of doing this is to make sure you don't fall into some very common and potentially costly mistakes!

On To The Costly Mistakes!

Photo by Urban Sprouts

Choosing the Cheapest Estimate

When getting into a project that may have a bigger dollar sign on it, it is very tempting to go with the cheapest option.  But, this can (not always, but often) bite you in the tush later.  

Generally materials and labor have similar costs from contractor to contractor, with some differences.  So, that really low estimate?  There is a big chance that something missing from the bid, pricing is based on cheap materials, etc.  What can happen is that you will end up paying more anyway, but you'll be blind-sided with the extra cost when you're already knee-deep in your landscaping project.  

Choosing the Cheapest Materials

That old adage, "You get what you pay for" can definitely apply to choices for your landscape.  Of course there are often low cost options, but choosing just on cost and not on things like longevity can end up costing more in the long run.  

A great example would be irrigation supplies.  So often they get pushed down the list because it isn't something that adds to your landscaping, visually, right?  But in reality, irrigation is what keeps your plants and trees looking amazing, season after season.  And cheap irrigation job or supplies?  Well you'll likely just end up spending more in the long run as they break down faster.  For more, check out and interview we did with about irrigation.

Original photo from Wikimedia

Not Checking References

In today's internet and Google-happy age, skipping the reference check is not as common as it once was.  However, it is still easy to become overwhelmed by choices and sign on the line before making sure that you've made the right choice.  

Typically when checking references you are looking for other client's reviews, which is very helpful.  But, I would also suggest including General Contractors and Landscape Architects/Designers in your request.  They will be able to give you a clearer idea of how your landscaper works within the overall scope of a project.  Do they have good relationships with others in the industry?  Are they sought after by others in the industry?  This will give you a very clear idea of your landscape contractor's skill.

Ignoring Personalities 

While checking references is important, so is personality!  Even on a small project you are going to be spending a lot of time with this person, so you'll want to make sure you won't have a personality clash.  

After all, we are emotional creatures, and the way we perceive the world is colored by how we feel.  So even if your new landscape were to be technically wonderful, there is a good chance you will not see it that way - then you end up unhappy with the product.  That's no fun for anyone.  Plus if you end up butting heads a lot along the way, that's just unnecessary stress and can lead to extended time frames.  Who needs more of that?  (Especially since your new garden should be a way for you to "get away from it all!")

Not Getting Involved

Now that we're getting to the end of this blog, I thought we could all benefit from something cute.  So here I give you "Baby Giraffe."

Back to the topic though...  The final thing I wanted to talk about is really the overall message of getting involved.  Now this doesn't mean that you should roll up your sleeves and dig in with the crew!  But rather that it will help you and the contractor if you understand the schedule, ask questions, and generally make sure that you get the scope of the project.  This way you won't be confused about how things are progressing, and whether or not you will be happy with the end result. 


Have any questions, or want to share your experience?  We always love to hear from you!

Beautiful landscapes and gardens designed, built, and maintained in Marin County and the Greater San Francisco Bay Area.

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