5 tips for keeping a landscaping project on time, under budget

FResh landscaping can add a personal touch to a new home or spice up a backyard where you’ll have a happy meeting.

But if you’ve just entered the planning phase, a DIY landscaping project may be the way to go this year.

Supply chain issues brought on by a pandemic for materials like wood and increased demand from homeowners over the past year mean landscaping professionals are booked for months or even a year, said Kathy Valentine, president of Michigan-based horticultural company The Plant Professionals.

“A lot of people are like, ‘Hey, if I’m going to work from my laptop on my patio, the patio has to look a lot nicer than it is,” says Valentine.

A DIY project can mean more work for you, but it can also cost less while giving your patio a new look. Here are five tips to help you get the most out of your landscaping project.

1. Decide what you want, plan what you have

Free inspiration is easy to find, says Valentine. The homes of friends and neighbors, as well as sites like Pinterest, offer endless ideas for transforming the yard.

But recognize the differences between inspiration and the yard you’re working with, she says. You’ll spend a lot more money modifying your garden to accommodate a new feature than choosing a feature that works with your garden.

Valentine also recommends considering long term life plans when starting your project. Will this fireplace hinder a future swing?

2. Start small and build over time

Rather than bundling landscaping with construction work, more homeowners are requesting designs, but then either do the work themselves or hire a professional if time and budget allows, says Phil Shearon, President. from the Phoenix area Shearon Design Collective.

Shearon’s design service costs an average of $ 1,500, and once you have a professionally planned job, you can do it yourself.

Shearon recommends starting with a focal feature you are passionate about and building it over time.

Alternatively, start with a smaller project like a flower bed or garden to meet your short-term goals and save for big expenses, says Samantha Gorelick, a New York-based home gardener and certified financial planner with Brunch & Budget. .

3. Reuse, trade and sell

Before you throw away existing landscaping items that you don’t like, see if you can reuse or sell them, says Valentine.

Can you turn the stones around your flower bed into a walkway? Would those extra two-by-fours from an old fence work as a border around a raised garden?

Otherwise, try swapping something you have with a neighbor in exchange for their extras, she says. Or rely on the expertise of the other rather than hiring a professional.

When you study a project in a new home, you may discover old broken slabs or other little weathered material that you can resell, she says.

4. Find the little things that make a big difference

Start with new plants if you want to spruce things up with little cost and effort. Evergreen plants – which vary by region – rather than perennials or annuals will keep maintenance costs low because they don’t need to be replaced often, says Shearon.

But Gorelick says flowering perennials can inspire the post-winter dopamine kick we crave in spring.

“When winter drags on and the first small bulbs sprout in spring, it’s a real treat,” she says. “So this is something you can plant in the fall to serve your future in the spring.”

Landscape lighting can make a big difference in a yard, often for a few hundred dollars, Shearon says. Path lights can line a walkway, while ascending lights illuminating tall plants and trees can change the atmosphere at night.

“You see some of these amazing houses on Instagram and things like that – it’s always light,” he says.

5. Save on financing costs

If you need to borrow for your project, compare financing options to find the one with the lowest interest rate.

Home equity financing is usually the cheapest way to borrow, says Gorelick. Home equity loans and lines of credit have rates of around 4% or 5% and long repayment terms, which helps keep monthly payments low.

But if you’ve recently bought a home, you may need to go with a no-equity option, she says.

A landscaping loan, which is an unsecured personal loan that you use for landscaping projects, can be as small as $ 1,000 or as large as $ 100,000. Rates are generally between 6% and 36%, and the rate you receive is based on your creditworthiness and finances.

If an entrepreneur offers you financing, Gorelick recommends comparing that offer with personal loan offers, as you can pre-qualify for a lower rate.

She says she generally wouldn’t recommend credit cards for large purchases because of their high interest rates. But if your card offers rewards for home improvement or hardware store purchases, you could be making money on things like plants and mulch.

“If you want to put it on your card and you are able to pay it off, then, yeah, get the points,” she says. “I would only use it if you want to get points and not have to pay interest.”

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Annie Millerbernd writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected]

The article 5 Tips for Keeping a Landscaping Project on Time, Under Budget originally appeared on NerdWallet.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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