Choosing a landscape company for you home is a big deal. You’ve invested a great deal into your estate. It’s more than just a home. It’s a reflection of your style and hard work. You want to take care of your investment, which is why you want to insure that any professional you hire approaches your home with integrity, skill, and prestige. So how do you find that person or company?
High-end residential property requires an eye to detail and a commitment to doing what’s needed long before it’s asked. With that in mind there are several key things to consider when choosing a landscape company.#1 Do they have a history for caring for high-end residential homes and HOA’s?
High-end residential needs vary dramatically from that of other residential homes. Often needs include regular irrigation checks, ongoing trimming and care of ornamentals, assistance with pools and lighting, and seasonal upgrades and stonework. Look for a company that has a history tending to the needs of high-end residential homes and HOA’s as they will be familiar with the standards and list of items that need to be maintained. Its always good to get referrals or look for testimonials and portfolios of work done at similar properties.#2 What services do they offer?
As a busy professional you want to do everything you can to streamline your home life. A company that offers more than one service under a single roof minimizes the number of companies you have to deal with. Also, by offering multiple services by one company the cost per service is typically cheaper, as they are able to provide them at the same time, eliminating travel expenses and management costs.#3 Are they insured?
When dealing with machines and tools accidents can happen. Even the best-trained crew can occasionally cause a little damage. If they are insured it protects you the property owner from any liability. It also shows that they are prepared in the event that something does go awry.#4 Are they licensed?
Certain elements of the landscape require a licensed professional by state law. Irrigation and the application of certain grades of pesticides require that a licensed professional oversee the work. You can ask for license numbers and verify they with the appropriate state agency.#5 Is the company professionally managed?
How a company conducts itself says a great deal about how they will handle your property. A well managed company has a system for scheduling and following up on work, billing and managing client accounts, and has a website, business cards, answering service, and other professional attributes. A company that is invested in business tools and administrative support is also invested in building a happy customer base.#6 Are their staff and trucks professionally presented?
Even if they are at your home for just a short while, its important that everyone from the manager to the workman be professional looking. Marked trucks that are well maintained and clean work spaces are also a strong indication of their overall professionalism.#7 Do they have contracts with reasonable terms?
Although contract is typically a word most don’t want to hear, when it comes to landscape maintenance they are a good thing. Long-term contracts allow you to spread out the cost of seasonal upgrades and maintenance items across the full year. Often there are price breaks included for contract customers along with preferential treatment and ongoing care and maintenance. As long as everything that is included is lined out in detail and all terms–including cancellation policies–are put in writing, contracts make it easy for you to manage your cost and your landscape needs throughout the changing seasons.
Overall, it’s important to do your research and check the credibility and history of any company you are considering. You’ve put a lot into your property. Don’t take a chance with just anybody.
How Outdoor Kitchens Add Value to Your Home
Living in Central Texas comes with many perks–mainly less winter and more time to spend outdoors. Except for those 2-3 months of crazy summer temperatures, much of our weather is quite mild. That means that outdoor spaces are incredibly important to a home’s value, even more so than in other parts of the country.
There are several ways to take advantage of this great weather and add value to your home. One that has become increasingly popular over the years is the addition of outdoor kitchens.
Outdoor kitchens boost your home’s value in a number of ways.
#1. Outdoor Kitchen Increase the “Liveable” Area of Your Home
Outdoor kitchens extend your living space by drawing several of the main activities–cooking and eating–into the outdoors. They are wonderful for entertaining and for adding on to kitchen space without incurring the costs and headache of a home addition. They also make it easy for everyone to interact even while one or more are engaged in the cooking process. Often outdoor kitchens include a dining or living space as well, adding more space for entertaining, games, family celebrations, and recreation.
#2 Outdoor Kitchens Earn Their Money Back and Then Some
According to the National Home Builders Association, outdoor kitchens earn back up to 130% of their value. That means an overall price increase of up to 30%. Realtors caution that out door kitchens don’t always result in a price increase, but if done well with quality materials they can increase the overall value of your home.
#3 Outdoor Kitchens Are Top Selling Points For Home Buyers
Even if the outdoor kitchen doesn’t significantly increase the price of your home, studies have shown that homes with outdoor kitchens sell faster than those without. As new construction increases and the competition from sellers for buyers stiffens, every little edge matters.
And being in Texas we can’t help but point out how outdoor kitchens are a great place to watch some Texas football!
In any case, whether you’re looking to extend your living space, looking to add value to your home, or looking to sell quickly, outdoor kitchens are a smart investment.
photo credit: Landscape Design Advisor via photopin cc