It’s been over a month since we last wrote about our landscaping plans, but that ball has not stopped rolling.
After carefully reviewing the design, talking with neighbors and reading your awesome comments, we decided to make a few tweaks. Some plant choices and locations were changed but the biggest decision was to nix the patio area on the south side of the front yard. We realized that the entry stoop is large enough for 2-6 people to gather on and that we didn’t really need a second space. Plus, as soon-to-be parents we were nervous about having a hang-out space so close to the 36″ (+/-) drop from the top of the retaining wall down to the sidewalk. Finally, eliminating the patio (and associated grading and stonework) would save us a worthwhile chunk of change.
So our landscape architect Mark came up with the revised plan below [click to enlarge]. In lieu of a patio, we now have a simple path that connects the stoop to the existing sidewalk on the south side of the house. For the pavers, we’ll be using some of the smaller concrete pieces that we reclaimed from last year’s demo project.
With a finalized design in hand, we had two choices for moving forward: 1. buy the material and do the install ourselves or 2. hire it out. Since it never hurts to get bids, we contacted three different landscaping companies (that came recommended from Mark or other friends). To reduce costs, we limited our scope to the colored area you see below [click to enlarge]:
The side yard gates made a good demarkation line between Phase 1 and Phase 2. We still have some construction projects slated for the backyard so it will be a little while before we tackle that area. (Although I’m guessing a mobile toddler might dictate that schedule.)
Two of the three bids were similar in price (the third was just crazy), but all were more than we had optimistically hoped for. We thought about scaling back the scope or delaying the project yet again, but I think deep down we really just want it to be done. Done by someone else. So that’s what we’re going to do!
As fervent DIYers it makes us a little uneasy to hire someone to do the work (since labor is usually 50% of the overall costs), but we’re also really, really excited to hand this off to the pros. What would undoubtedly take us a couple of months of nights and weekends will take a professional crew 5-6 days(!) to complete. (Ok, sometimes I fantasize about sitting in a lounge chair with an umbrella drink while the work is being done, but the reality is that we’ll probably be plenty busy in the nursery or basement.)
Even though we won’t be getting our own hands dirty, we’ll be sure to document the whole process to share with you as it happens. This is a big milestone in our nearly 6 years of remodeling chezerbey and we can’t wait!