Questions Landscapers Should Ask Homeowners Before Starting A Project

An article by Business Wire reports the U.S. landscaping market has a forecasted growth rate of over 4% during 2020 to 2025. The referenced article highlights that households are increasingly prioritizing home improvement projects, specifically related to landscaping. Those looking to elevate their outdoor areas and ensure feasible landscape maintenance find it important to seek professionals who are adept at landscape design and construction. To meet people’s needs in the process of landscaping, these landscapers consider not just the overall layout of a space, but their client’s preferences and finances as well. Ultimately, well-designed and properly maintained outdoor areas require proper planning and collaboration.

That being said, read on to learn about the five questions you need to ask your clients before starting a project.

How do you plan to use the landscaped area?

A Hindawi article on landscape architecture explains that one difficulty landscapers experience is the disconnect between site analysis and design output. This means that while you have scoped out the space, your design may still not maximize the needs of your clients. As such, it’s important to ask your client directly about their specific vision for their outdoor area. They may use the space to provide entertainment for people, like hosting large parties or family barbecues, which can require a pergola or outdoor seating. Otherwise, they may simply want access to greenery to soothe their mood. Having children or pets can also influence your client’s design plans. Perhaps they want an open lawn that’s suitable for play or to install a swing set. As a landscape professional, you should be able to find a balance between beauty and function — this way you can also improve your client’s quality of life.

What do you currently like/dislike about the current landscape?

Having a good grasp on which fixtures your client likes about their current landscape is beneficial in the planning stages. For one, this information can guide design decisions like plant selections. Likewise, existing plants or features can be readapted into your design. The latter can definitely give your bid a competitive edge, especially if your client is attached to that specific landscape element. To take a step further in ensuring your client’s satisfaction, ask about a client’s previous experience with a landscaper. This way, you can take note of the issues encountered like problematic irrigation systems or the inability to minimize weed problems. Moving forward, identifying these problems enables you to better meet your client’s demands.

Do you want to build structures?

This is important since structures will dictate not just the landscape, but the subsequent budget and taxes as well. Patios, for example, can increase property taxes if you plan on using costly materials like brick. Similarly, installing a hot tub can reflect a higher value for your home, which may lead to increased property taxes. In this case, clients may have to speak to their financial advisors. Maryville University says that personal financial advisors are able to advise on their client’s property investments, mortgages, and savings. They would also be able to say whether your financial situation calls for a more affordable project. For smaller projects, advisors can recommend that their clients should get multiple quotes to find the most sensible price. Similarly, for wide-scale projects, your client may even need to remortgage their home to fund landscape renovations as we explained in our post ‘Building a Backyard Entertainment Center’. All that considered, you should encourage your clients to evaluate their finances— only then can you proceed with creating designs that include landscape structures.

What is your expected budget and timeline for the project?

Budget and timeline expectations will allow you to create a design with your client’s finances and resources in mind. For instance, typical lead times for a small project (which includes soil grading, trenching for drainage and irrigation, and hardscaping) can take two months. Projects can take longer if there are permit delays or unforeseen backorders. In addition to timelines, budgets should also be communicated. For reference, budgets can range from $2,000 to $100,000. A few considerations are as follows: lawn grading starts at $1,000, water fountain installation can reach up to $5000, and sod installation varies across $1,000 to $3,000. Beyond these details, remember to be mindful in asking about your client’s budget. Time your question so that the topic of money doesn’t feel jarring to your clients, especially if you want to avoid appearing like you’re only concerned about your pay.

Outdoor living spaces can provide healing when done right. To ensure that clients are left satisfied, landscapers should cover all the right questions in the planning stages.

Article contributed by Runa Jaclyn

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