Planning for an upcoming outdoor home improvement project, whether a complete front and backyard remodel or just adding a little something to your existing yard, can be a daunting task. There are many factors to consider when in the planning stages of an outdoor project to make sure you stay on budget, the build goes smoothly, that you get what you want, and that you are following all applicable regulations and restrictions in your area.
It’s important to have a budget set from the beginning. If your you’re working with a contractor, designer, or landscape architect having a budget will allow them to better help you through the design process by letting you know what you can and cannot afford. This can also help you narrow down your wish list. Want a built in barbecue and a fireplace but can only afford one or the other? This can help you figure out which feature you desire the most. Splurge on the item or feature from which you will get the most use.
There are plenty of outdoor projects that can realistically be undertaken yourself and there are plenty of resources to help you complete your own DIY project. However, don’t let yourself get in over your head. Take into consideration the size, scope, and difficulty of the features you want to install. Hiring a contractor will cost you more money, but with the right contractor, your project will be completed in a timely manner and will be done right. Be sure to check the state license on any contractor your consider on hiring. This project is going to bring your family enjoyment for years to come and can add considerable value to your home. It is best to make sure it is done properly to maximize that added value. Read the article “Picking the Right Contractor”.
It is important to carefully consider the size of your project area when coming up with a design. Having limited space may lead to limiting which features you can include in your design. If you have limited space and your priority is to have a patio space that can accommodate a large outdoor dining area for your large family, it would not be a good idea to cut into that space to put in a large boccie ball court that may not get as much use.
Your project is not complete when the installation is finished. With any outdoor project there will undoubtedly be some long-term maintenance to consider. This is an important thing to keep in mind when picking materials, paving options, plants, and many other aspects of the design. Do you want low maintenance landscaping? Then you probably don’t want to plant trees that require a lot of clean up like jacaranda trees. The long term issues of different paving option are important to consider as well. A concrete slab may be cheaper up front than concrete interlocking pavers but can cost you in the long run. Over time, concrete slabs will crack, requiring costly repairs to fix the unsightly cracks and re-staining to bring the faded color back to life.
The ongoing drought in California has forced us all to rethink how we use water. This is especially important when planning out a new landscape project. Selecting drought resistant native plants over water intensive plants and water-free ground cover over grass can save you a significant amount of money on your water bill while helping conserve a scarce resource for more important uses. Read the article: “Water Conservation with RCP Products”
It’s important to check for all permits, regulations, and zoning requirements with the building department of the municipality your project is located in. RCP Provides Information on Regulations & Permits in the San Diego area. This is important to take care of beforehand because failure to obtain the proper permits or have the required inspections done before you install materials can result in your municipality requiring you to remove the already installed materials and starting over. This is another benefit of hiring a contractor. A professional residential landscape contractor will already be familiar with these regulations and can help navigate the permitting process. If you live in a neighborhood with a Home Owner’s Association it is important to check with their requirements as well. Failure to do so can result in fines levied by your HOA.
There is a lot to consider when starting a big outdoor project, but it does not have to be overwhelming or complicated. RCP has plenty of resources to help homeowners get their next project start from contractor referrals, material estimating, knowledgeable staff, and so much more.