As a new year approaches, you might be thinking about your lawn and landscape plans for the coming spring. In fact, you might even be considering whether you can tackle some (or all) of these tasks on your own or whether it’s worth investing in a professional.
In this “DIY world,” a lot of homeowners are taking matters into their own hands for projects around the house—but should landscaping be amongst them?
The fact is, there are a variety of ways in which DIY landscaping can go awry and end up costing you unexpected expenses (and headaches). We know this because we get quite a few calls from homeowners who tackled a project on their own only to bring us in later when things didn’t go quite right. We’d rather help you avoid the hassles up front if we can, which is why we believe it’s so important to be educated on what to expect.
Product Application can be Complicated
One of the biggest areas where homeowners make mistakes is in lawn care product applications. While it’s true that lawn fertilization, weed control, and even insect control products can be bought at the store, applying these products is sometimes more complicated than homeowners realize. Everything from proper application rates to the right timing makes a difference in your results—and there are a lot of ways that this can go awry.
The other issue with store-bought products is that they aren’t as good as what the professionals are using. It’s easy to assume that all products are created equal, but the materials that a pro has access to are going to be commercial-grade and much more effective. That means that you’ll get better results by hiring a professional.
There is Intensive Labor to Consider
Another point to consider is the fact that tackling many of these tasks can be labor-intensive. Dragging around heavy bags of lawn care products, pushing equipment, or attempting other landscaping tasks can be exhausting—and probably not the way that you feel like spending your only free time on the weekends.
But there’s more than just the laborious piece—it can also be legitimately dangerous. You may encounter unwanted pests like bees or wasps or be putting your back at risk if you’re lifting something heavy. You might also be dealing with products that are safe when applied properly but dangerous if you spill them or store them incorrectly. Again, there’s just a lot more to it than people tend to realize when they’re starting out.
The Results May Not Meet Your Expectations
One of the biggest downsides to DIY landscaping might just be the results. A lot of homeowners go into the process assuming that they’re going to get the same results as a pro, but the fact is, there’s a reason why so many people are willing to pay to hire a professional. Everything from the products that they’re using to their training and skill is going to make a big difference in the results that they achieve.
Some homeowners even assume they can handle smaller-scale hardscaping projects such as a paver patio. After all, pavers can be purchased at the local big-box store. But these types of projects generally wind up being more involved than the homeowner bargained for. Even a small hardscaped area must account for factors such as drainage, which can cause you major headaches down the road. There is nothing more frustrating for homeowners than to invest the time and materials into a project that they just need to have redone by a professional because it wasn’t built right the first time. When we’re the pros brought in to fix DIY mistakes, we do feel bad that homeowners essentially end up paying for a project twice.
DIY Landscaping can be Expensive
That brings us to the final point, that the DIY route isn’t always as inexpensive as homeowners seem to believe. Usually, cost is the number one reason why homeowners even head down the DIY path in the first place. But once they get into the project, it’s easy to see that it’s not exactly cheap. You still have to invest in products or materials—and those costs can start to add up, too. Plus, when you factor in the time (which is incredibly valuable, even without a price tag) that you have to invest—as well as your level of happiness with the results—it may all start to seem less desirable than you may have thought from the onset.
Making the Best Choice for your Property
In the end, we just want you to be happy with the results that you end up with. This is not to say that a DIY approach can never be successful. We’ve certainly worked on some properties (and with some homeowners) who handle some of their landscaping tasks themselves—and it works for them. Some homeowners, for instance, enjoy weekly mowing. And some homeowners do have the skills and know-how to tackle small projects.
The bottom line? We feel it’s important that you understand what you’re getting into. If you’ve done your research and you have a good understanding of what you’ll be doing then we absolutely say, “go for it!” But if you have some concerns or you suspect you might be one of those homeowners who end up being unhappy with the results then perhaps it’s best to leave it to the pros.