Planning Your Landscape Project, Peer Landscaping, Fort Myers

March 31, 2023by PeerLandscaping

We wish we didn’t even have to mention Hurricane Ian, but six months later, here in Southwest Florida, we are all still dealing with cleaning up and fixing up our houses and our yards. Ian wiped out a lot of trees and plant life, as well as damaging houses. A lot of people are finally getting their damaged homes fixed and can just now start to think about their property’s landscape needs. If you are one of those people, and this is the first time you will be hiring a landscape design-build company, we’ve created this guide for you. Because, before you call and start to get various quotes for your landscape design-build project there are several important things to consider and some decisions you should make beforehand to ensure you get the gorgeous property you’ve been dreaming of.

Dare to Dream

Of course the first question you need to ponder is your goals for the garden. What does your dream landscape look like? What goals do you have for your landscape project? Have you fallen in love with our incredible tropical plants like bromeliads and palms? Have you always wanted a cutting garden full of flowers to fill your home’s vases? Do you want really low maintenance or do you love puttering around in the garden so that maintaining some plants that need more attention will be fine for your project? While you don’t need to make any final decisions ( at Peer Landscaping we love brainstorming with our clients, so these questions are really just a jumping off point for you and for us), it’s a good idea to have some idea of what you want. We suggest taking a Sunday drive and snapping a few photos of the landscape designs you really love! Go visit one of our many local Fort Myers nurseries and garden centers. (we don’t recommend going to the big box stores because they often carry plants that don’t do well in our Zone which is Zone 10) Do some research on the Web as well. Look up landscape design ideas, but also look up what plants do well here in Southwest Florida, which plants need extra care, and which ones need shade or full sunlight? Speaking of that, for a few days, pay attention to where the sun is on your house and yard at different times of the day. We will need that information to determine which plants to consider for which parts of your yard. While you are at it, look at the existing plants and features of your property. Are there plants or trees that you want to remove? Consider the design of your home and your own personal taste, and let us know if you want a resort style landscape or more of a cottage look? Figuring out what you want will help you determine what type of landscaper you need to hire, and it will help you start to look at your budgetary scope as well.

Budgeting for Beauty

peer-landscape-design-fort-myers-flOnce you have some idea of what kind of landscape you want created, it’s time to look at your bank account and figure out your budget range for this project. After all, you don’t want a designer to create a beautiful sketch and proposal, and then discover that as much as you love the design, you simply can’t afford it. Figuring out your budget before we meet, ensures that our proposal will be in line with your bank account. Here’s what you should think about when preparing your budget, as these are what we factor into our costs:

  1. Design consultation/Design creation—Our initial consultation is free, but creation of a specific design for your site takes time, and planning. We use computer aided design software to provide you with a 3D view of our design and how it will look specifically with your home and yard.
  2. Permitting fees—Depending on the scope of your project, we may need to obtain permits or pay for fees for zoning or environmental impact surveys.
  3. Site prep—This consists of a number of things our workers must do to prepare your location for plant install including excavating the area to be planted, removing existing plants and debris, and grading and preparing the soil.
  4. Cost of materials—Depending on your project this may include the cost of pavers, concrete, and other hardscaping materials, enriched soil, fertilizer, mulch or stones, and of course trees, plants and shrubs.
  5. Cost of Labor—Landscape install can be labor intensive depending on the complexity and size of the project.

One more thing to consider is whether or not you will maintain your garden yourself, or need a little help with maintenance. What are you willing to pay to not have to do any of the maintenance? Keep in mind, landscape design is an investment in your home that does raise its overall value and curb appeal.

The Right Fit for the Right Job

Peer Landscaping Fort MYou’ve seen plenty of landscaper trucks driving around Lee County, and you may think you could hire any one of them to design a new landscape for your home. However, different types of landscape companies offer different services, and those guys with the big lawn mowers on their flatbed trailers likely won’t be the same guys who create landscape design. So let’s differentiate the kinds of landscapers so you can begin your search successfully.

  1. Lawn Care Maintenance: These companies typically focus solely on your lawn, and offer services such as mowing, weed whacking and trimming. They sometimes also offer fertilization, weed control, pest control and aeration.
  2. Arborists: These companies specialize in tree care and maintenance, providing such services as pruning, tree trimming, tree removal and stump removal. They may also provide diagnostic services to diagnose and treat trees that have disease or fungal issues. Peer
  3. Landscaping has arborists who are part of our Fort Myers Garden Service, so if you have questions about this type of landscaper, give us a call.
  4. Irrigation companies: These companies design and install irrigation systems to keep your garden and lawn hydrated and green.
    Hardscape specialists: These companies focus on designing and installing only the hardscape elements of landscaping such as paver decks, patios, retaining walls, sidewalks and walkways, ponds, fountains and other water features.
  5. Maintenance companies: These companies, like our sister company, Fort Myers Garden Service, focus on maintaining existing landscapes by providing services such as pruning, mulching, fertilizing, and planting annuals.
  6. Full service design/build firms: This is the kind of company Peer Landscaping is. We work with clients to create custom designs and we also install landscape projects. We can handle the hardscape elements, and provide guidance on trees, shrubs, flowers and more.

As with any project you have, you want your landscape project to be handled by the type of company that specializes in what you want to build. So before you call any of the companies in Southwest Florida, be sure you know what you need.

Timing is Everything

When you are thinking about your goals, one of the important considerations is your landscaping timeline. There is much more to this than you likely considered. For example, right now many Southwest Florida homeowners are having work done to repair the damage from Hurricane Ian. So we, at Peer Landscaping, are having to plan new landscaping installation in such a way that the new plantings won’t be affected by other work you are having done. We don’t want to install fragile new plants in places where they may be trampled by contractors putting on your new roof, or installing new hurricane windows. So we must discuss the timing of all of the other repairs being done to your home and work around it. The next timing question is are you having landscaping done for a particular goal such as you have guests coming to stay with you, or you have a backyard party planned, or maybe even a family wedding is planned for the backyard. Are you doing it for curb appeal and want to put your house on the market on a specific date? Gardens don’t grow overnight, and certainly installation involves some excavation and construction, all of which can have your yard looking like a work in progress for some time. When you ask us how long installation will take, we must take several factors into consideration ourselves. These include: designing and installing a landscape project depends on the scope of the project, the size of yard we are landscaping, availability and delivery of plants and materials. If you do indeed have a tighter timeline, bring it up at the beginning so we can plan for that because the time it takes for a landscape design to look more established depends on the type of plants we choose, how mature the plants are when we plant them, and where they are planted. If you’ve got an event planned or want to sell your home soon after, it may make sense to splurge on more mature plant and tree specimens, and fill in with ornamental grasses and groundcovers which grow more quickly.