When you’re ready to take your Union County landscaping project at your home to the next level, it’s time to go beyond mere lawn care and sculpt your property into the inviting place you’ve always wanted it to be. This requires landscaping to add permanent paths, patios and perhaps even an outdoor kitchen, fire pit or fireplace to your property. Designing and installing the perfect backyard haven is an involved process, but if you take your time and follow these steps, your Union County landscaping project will produce an oasis of your dreams before the season is out.
1. Assess Your Needs
Before you even consider calling someone to break ground, think about what you want to do on your property. Do you want a swimming pool for hot summer days, or do you prefer more low-key entertainment? Will you eat or prepare food outside? Do you have accessibility needs? Do you need extra seating room? Start by making a wish list of all the features your ideal project would have.
2. Get Inspired
There’s a wide world of design options out there, so you’ll need to think about everything from the paving materials you choose to the shape and size of your project. Check out the internet for landscape design ideas for starters, then cruise your neighborhood to look at homes you admire. You can also sign up for local garden tours and showcases to get ideas that have proven to be successful in New Jersey. Take photos and screenshots to put together a portfolio of ideas. You can also do Google searches for inspirational photos or visit websites like Houzz.com for unique ideas.
3. Find a Contractor
Once you’ve given some thought to your preferred style and the elements you’d like to include in your landscaping plan, it’s time to find a professional to help you get started. If there’s a local garden you admire, ask for the name of the designer and landscaper. You can also get recommendations from friends and family or search the internet for Union County landscaping companies. Your best bet is to stay local, so you know the person you choose understands the soil conditions in New Jersey.
4. Interview Contractors
It’s always a good idea to interview contractors in person to get a feel for their knowledge base, personality and organization. Invite several of your top choices to come to your house for a site visit. This is a way to see if they show up on time, call if they are running late and see if your personality matches well with the person that you may be entrusting with your investment. Who do you feel best understood your goals and was easiest to communicate with? Your gut instinct is often right when it comes to personality compatibility.
5. Vet Your Contractors
Before or after your site visit, check the credentials of your potential contractors by asking for and checking references from past clients. You should also ask to see copies of their license to practice in your state and proof of insurance. You may also want to look at their portfolio of work to determine which designer’s sensibility best speaks to your goals for the project.
6. Determine Your Budget
As you look over the estimates, consider not just the bottom line price, but also what you get for your money with each contractor. Does the estimate include clean up? Is there a separate charge for overtime work? What grade of materials are specified in each budget? If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification in writing so you can compare your options and decide how much you’re willing to spend on your project. If necessary, ask how design and/or materials changes will affect the price.
7. Choose Your Landscape Contractor
Make your choice based on the estimate as well as the contractor’s experience and qualifications. Saving a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars may not be worth it if a contractor’s lack of experience or ethics means potential problems during construction or after project completion. It is very common to hear stories of contractors that not only performed shoddy work, but did not honor their warranties when future problems arose after the contractor was no longer on the job site.
8. Complete the Design Process
Once you’ve chosen your contractor, you’ll need to work together to finalize the plans. This will include choosing materials for your landscape as well as the planting plan. You may also need to add outdoor kitchen appliances and other aesthetic and functional choices such as color, border and style selections to finalize the design.
9. Review the Plans
When your contractor presents you with a final drawing or diagram, look at it closely. Ask for a walk-through of your property to see where everything will go in person, and double-check the materials and plants selected. When you’re satisfied that everything is in order, you can give the go-ahead to break ground.
10. Prepare Your Property
Before your Union County landscaping contractor shows up with a backhoe, prepare your property and family for the construction project by removing any outdoor furniture and toys from the worksite. You may need to find alternate parking for the family cars during construction if your driveway becomes a staging area. Be sure to keep pets and children well away from the construction area, too.
By following these 10 steps, you’ll set the stage for success with your Union County landscape design project. Careful preparation and planning will ensure that you get the stunning backyard patio and landscape that you’ve always wanted, so it’s worth the extra effort.
Why Choose Parker Homescape?
We have transformed hundreds of landscapes in and around the Somerset, Hunterdon, Essex and Union County areas, including Summit and Westfield since our founding in 2006. Unlike many of our competitors, we undertake only one client project at a time, ensuring that every deadline is met and that every detail is considered. Additionally, a lead foreman with over 30 years of experience oversees your project from start to finish. This approach makes us one of the most sought after Union County landscaping companies, and translates into a seamless, stress-free experience for you and your family.
Whether creating an outdoor living space, installing custom landscape lighting or building a custom outdoor fireplace, we believe that each landscape project is unique. We proudly promise customized solutions, superior customer service and competitive pricing for each of our clients.