A lot is happening at RF Landscape Services and we're gearing up for a fabulous year. With the weather being unpredictable and more mild than normal, you're probably ready to get your landscape ideas going. We are too, but we've got some ideas to help make the entire process easier. This is a three-part series carried over from last month, but we wanted to make sure you got them all at once. Give us a call with your ideas and let's get started. Spring arrives early in St. Louis and we're excited to work with you!
Pre-planning your Landscape Design Project
Industry research has shown that approximately 80% of all improvement projects are delivered late, over budget, without expected functionality or aesthetics, or they fail for a combination of these reasons. A major contributing factor to these failures is the lack of planning prior to project implementation.
When considering a home improvement project, it’s the contractor’s responsibility to help clarify the client’s vision. Many clients have an idea of what they want to accomplish or a rough idea for a budget, but bringing both together is a challenge. Working with a qualified landscape designer will help determine these aspects of your project plus others you may not have considered. These next three articles will cover the important considerations for a successful landscape project.
STEP ONE: Planning
Discuss with your landscape contractor your project vision. This mental idea should include the design purpose along with your personal expectations and usage once the project is completed. By clearly communicating your ideas, everyone becomes committed to the project’s success.
During this pre-planning phase, you and your contractor can focus on:
• How to accomplish your vision
• The options available to create your design
• Establish a workable budget
• Determine a deliverable timetable for the project
Once these details are reviewed, the next step is to reduce your mental vision to paper so it’s clearly understood by all. With this ‘blueprint’, you and your designer can review and alter the plan to create a clear picture of your project goals before the first hole is dug. This important step helps limit costly change orders. Change orders are the unexpected events that sometimes happened during a project that add cost to both the client and the contractor. Although some change orders can be expected during a project, detailed planning will help keep your project on track and within budget.
The more thorough this pre-planning phase is, the more successful the project will be for all.
STEP TWO: Budgeting for your Landscape Design Project
Once your vision and goals are established, the next step is to create an operating budget with your landscape designer. Don’t let your budget be a mystery! Get the best bang for your buck by being open and honest about your budget. A contractor’s first challenge is to understand your landscape goals. His second challenge is to find a way to make that vision work within your budget. If expense isn’t critical, he can still provide a clear understanding of what your project costs are going to be.
Often times, the cheapest way is not always the best choice for most projects. It’s important to consider the life of the project; cheaper may mean a shorter lifespan of materials. Your landscape designer will help explore these considerations and more with you at this phase of planning.
Other benefits of discussing your budget:
• Better value for money spent
• Creates a scorecard for the completion of the project
• Avoid cost overruns and unexpected delays
• Allows more creativity to explore options in terms of available materials
• Communicate on the same level with one another—helps the contractor operate more efficiently
• Efficient management of your project, including resources and sub-contractors, as needed
• A well-planned project is often cheaper to install, reduces costly delays and delivers a higher quality finished product than unplanned projects
PART THREE: Timetable for your Landscape Design Project
Now that your landscaping vision and budget have been reviewed, a project timetable helps bring it all together. Your landscape designer will also consider:
• What will cause unexpected delays--Permits? Weather? Other?
• Will there be any delays caused by coordination with sub-contractor schedules?
• Will any of these delays create additional costs that need to be factored into the budget and project completion?
• How will the construction affect your current lifestyle?
• Does this timetable agree with your deadline for completion?
• Does this timetable meet your budget expectations? (Will overtime be required to deal with potential weather delays, for instance?)
We understand you are excited to see the project completed. However, preliminary planning allows for a much smoother and successful experience. Discussing vision, budget and a realistic timetable will reduce time, money and stress and result in a satisfying experience for all.
For more information or to ask questions, contact Bob Franey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-487-6400
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