Oct 23, 2006

Who's On Your Team?

Maybe it's just football season, but I've been thinking about teams a lot lately. If you've ever bought a home, you no doubt had an better time if you had a "team on your side" -- realtor, lender, inspector, locksmith, and so on. Same thinking applies when you open a bank or brokerage account: do you also have a financial planner? Estate planner? Accountant? For that matter, everyday life is a little easier when you have a team -- dentist, doctor, dry cleaner, coffee shop.

So I'm always surprised when I talk with people who want to transform their yards into something really special, but haven't given much thought to just who should be part of that team. Sure, you want a good landscape designer or landscape architect. But who's going to install that design? Your neighborhood mow-n-blow guy? Hmm.

Even if you do have a licensed landscape contractor in mind, who will they use for carpentry, masonry, even planting? For that matter, who's providing the plants? And for heaven's sake, who's going to keep the place looking amazing long after all the installers have gone home? Your neighborhood mow-n-blow guy?

It's not enough to just name names, though. You also need to think dollars and cents: are you OK paying less for lesser quality plants? Is spending a few hundred dollars a month on a good fine gardener worth it, if it makes you feel proud (and/or your neighbors envious) of your garden? There's nothing wrong with either of these choices (although personally, I really would appreciate it if you would spring for a decent gardener to keep up my design) -- but you do have to make them, and preferably at the outset of the process so your designer can respond accordingly. That is to say, if you don't have the budget for a gardener, I'm not going to pack your garden full of annuals.

One thing to look for in a landscape designer/architect is strong connections to these other members of your team. If you ever need references for contractors, suppliers, gardeners, or other "green" professionals, please let me know. Hey, I'm just happy to be part of the team.

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