Tuesday, March 31, 2015


The first (and last) time I was approached by a professional landscaper, he lost the job before he ever began it.  Why?  We met, he said he'd come up with a plan, and within a few days he gave us a very elaborate and professional video presentation....and then gave us his bid....$85,000.00.  Yes...you counted right...5 zeros and an 8 and a 5.  This was for the backyard and 1/2 of it was already a pool.

He was so young and stylish and ambitious, that to this day I feel guilty for not telling him a very important #1 lesson from a cranky old poor lady....ask the simple question right up front....
No matter how big or small....we all have one don't we?

His assumption offended us.  We ended up doing our own landscaping, with our own ideas, 
for 1/10th of his price.  

Divide your budget into short and long term....landscape is a forever love and task.

The most important thing in a landscape project is to evaluate and select your style...usually this is based on your home.  Do you live in a rock house with French persuasion?  A Cozy Cottage?  A Rambling Ranch?  A Southwest Adobe? A Texas Hill Country Farmhouse?

Spend time driving around neighborhoods, browsing Pinterest or blogs....choose what appeals to you and save to a folder, whether virtual or real.  If your home is on the plain side, your little garden out front can define your style.

This could be a specimen tree, a fountain, a large pot, a statement rock, a garden statue or something zen. Your focal point alone can be the one wow factor on which all other elements build.

remember...think wow!

This is also the time you might incorporate other hard-scape into your home style...like window shutters or boxes, garage door hinges, porch lanterns and other embellishments that will make the world of difference to the entire feel of your nest.

After you have chosen your style and your focal point, begin to build around that.  If you have chosen a large Mediterranean pot, you might also consider a hedge of lavender.  Then you might find that grasses or more pots, or rocks might add just what you need!  Consider zero-scape and perennials, but don't be afraid to plant some annuals.  Annuals can be changed each season for a new and different look and can be quite rewarding if you enjoy gardening.

Things to consider if you are very busy or travel...make your plot easy to care for.  Also, if you live in a drought area...purchase plants that won't die if you can only water on a time grid.

Another tip....just because your local box store sells $12.99 Italian Cypress does not mean you will successfully grow Italian Cypress....in our landscape we have lost 13 Italian Cypress.  The first 5 taught us not to pay $100 a tree...the next 8 taught us that we don't live in Italy...this year we will replace them with something else, which will still be an experiment because all 13 we purchased were in our zone range.  BOO!

SPRING INTO ACTION MATTIE AND COACH BEEN...but be patient.  These things can take time and while it is wonderful to be able to landscape your front yard in a weekend...there's always a great deal of pleasure in having a worthy project...ongoing...that make your muscles tired and sore...that after being weekend warriors...you can sit back, together in your adirondack chairs with a nice glass of Merlot and an ice cold Miller's in an frosty OSU mug....and admire the results of your
landscape plan

***All photos are my own or via pinterest...if they belong to you, please contact me and I will be most happy to give full credit to you


Karena Albert said...

Gina you have been such a huge help with how to make decisions and include a focal pint and objects of art in the garden.

That poor guy, he must have really had his bubble burst; however I hope he learned a huge lesson, yes of course everyone has a budget!!

The Arts by Karena

Anonymous said...

wow, that fella's estimate is as much as some houses!

such beautiful inspiration photos,

helen tilston said...

Hello Gina

Your post is timely. We do need to concentrate on landscaping this year. $85,000 is a very unreasonable figure.
Wishing you a very Happy Easter

At Rivercrest Cottage said...

At least you got a quote. We met with a few "landscapers" who couldn't be pinned down on a written plan and just a general idea of what he or she would do...then never received a email or call back. We got tired of wasting time with them and just hired cement people and irrigation (in-ground sprinklers for people outside Texas) people ourselves, bought rocks and plants and did the areas one at a time. What's with service people these days???

bj said...

GOOD GRIEF...almost the cost of a small house. Well, surely he must know now to ask about how much a person can spend....'
I know ya'll did a great job....

Burlap Luxe said...

Gina, sometimes you just have to take matters in your own hands to get the job done at the right price :)
Your landscaping concept is spot on and your road appeal is fabulous, I love the front courtyard stone work curb appeal and plantings.
I am in the begining stage of getting things torn up and replanted, wanting to do a lower maintance landscaping with trees, planting beds and pea gravels, of course lavenders and French herb beds. I want our yard to feel as you live in France the countryside.

It's always very I spiring here, and I truly always leave motivated to get going on something creative.

See you soon and a Happy Easyer to you.


Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

Such a big job! But you are right of course. Little bits at a time is the only way to go even if you hire someone. Good thoughts here!

Sandi said...

Wow. Just wow. Maybe you look really fancy and he thought 85K was just about right.

Your yard looks great!

Heather - New House New Home said...

Great advice, my friend. I had a window seller give me an outrageous quote recently - my first home cost less than what he quoted for new windows. He didn't even ask if I had a budget.

Tina@WhatWeKeep said...

Yes, you must look fancy! hahahaha That's what we always say around here when the get these "special" quotes. Our Italian Cypress were lost, too. ;(

Algodão Tão Doce said...

É Páscoa! Cristo está vivo, o túmulo está vazio, Ele ressuscitou!!! A mais bela festa dos Cristãos.
Crentes no Amor de Deus Pai que nos deu seu Filho Jesus Cristo que permanece conosco pela força do
Espírito Santos, seguimos nossa caminhada na construção de um mundo mais justo, fraterno, humano,
harmonioso e de doação.
Todos somos promotores da Paz!
Feliz, Santa e Abençoada Páscoa.
Um doce abraço, Marie.

Ann said...

Thanks for sharing these useful and practical tips. And you are right that budget should be the first thing to consider.

Ivy and Elephants said...

Your ideas and vision is spot on, no designer needed! Now just sit back and watch the fruits of your labor.
Hugs and happy Easter!