Landscaping Project Budget Killers


It’s possible to have a great outside space without breaking the bank.

Ideally, all of our clients call us up with an idea for their outdoor project, we create a plan, do the work, and everyone is happy. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Sometimes we get calls from a DIY homeowner that started a project that’s too big for them, nothing wrong with that.

Sometimes we get calls from homeowners when a project has gone badly with someone else. We always hate hearing about jobs gone wrong, but we love being able to fix it and make homeowners happy. Even if you don’t work with Total Lawn Care, here are some steps to follow to make sure your next landscaping project stays on budget.


Know your budget!!

This should be a no-brainer, but so often we see people start a project with the outcome in mind instead of the budget. Your budget is the foundation of any project. That foundation must be firm and set for the project to be a success.


Do your research

There’s no end of information available to homeowners right now. Spend
some time online looking at websites or Pinterest for your own landscape ideas. If you live near a major city, find out when the next Home Show is in town and take an afternoon or a weekend walking around, taking pictures and getting ideas. Visit your local greenhouse or nursery and get an idea of what options are available.


Know what you want, and what you don’t want 

After you do some research, you’ll have some ideas – and probably lots of questions! That’s fine. Show your contractor your ideas, share your questions, and get some recommendations. Let the project be a collaboration. Don’t let a designer or a contractor talk you into adding elements because “You just have to have this to complete the look!”

Most contractors and designers are going to suggest additions and extras for projects, it’s a common trait of creative people. If one of those suggestions for a project really adds to the project, and you have to have it, great! Ask how it can fit into the budget, or what has to be changed to make room for the new addition.


Ask about options

Now that you have an idea what you want, check with your landscaper about the options available to you. If you saw a look that you loved online or at a Home Show, odds are your contractor knows a few different ways or products that will satisfy what you want that fit within multiple price points.


Get multiple quotes

Call a few different contractors in your area, talk with your friends and neighbors. Interview a few different contractors, see how they work and how they communicate.  If you aren’t sure what to ask a potential contractor, check out our post here and find out which questions you should ask any contractor before entering into a working contract.


Eliminate mid-project changes or additions

Changes halfway through a project don’t just add material fees. They also interrupt scheduling.  Specialty tradesman may have to be called back to a jobsite, that adds costs to a project and can sometimes drastically interfere with a project schedule.



Don’t be in a rush

If you have a plan for your landscaping that is beyond the limits of your budget, that’s ok. If you communicate that with your contractor and be realistic with your goals, a solution can almost always be found. If your dreams are slightly over your budget, financing may be an option. Many projects operate in phases, ask your contractor what they need to get started and if they are willing to work out a payment plan. If, however, your “grand plan” is drastically beyond your budget, ask your contractor which parts of the project can be implemented first. A “master plan” created by a professional will layout the steps to create a project of any scale, without repeating steps and doing the same work multiple times.


All contractors should be upfront with cost increases for any project additions. Be careful of any contractor who quickly says “yes” to any additions without giving a cost estimate.