It started, the wave of phone calls to my office during the first warm week of March. Virtually all these prospective clients are astounded to hear we are booked for the next 8 to 10 weeks. I often relate to friends that owning a landscape firm in spring is like owning a toy store at Christmas time. There are more similarities than you may think but the main one is people get caught up in the spirit and often make poor choices they must pay for later.

The problem is you need to plan a little more ahead than March or April. Anyone from New Jersey knows if you want to rent a nice house down the shore you reserve it in January if not a whole year before! The same rings true with a quality landscape firm. They will have work lined up weeks and sometimes months in advance. Once you find that quality firm they will most likely recommend some planning and designing that will take more time. Most successful landscape firms will be scheduling August and September work by late May.

My advice is to have patience. Plan your projects and find the best landscape firm for you and not who ever can get there first. Plan and schedule this work with your preferred professional and then wait for them to properly install your project. In the long run you will most likely be far more satisfied with the well-planned un-rushed project.

Now I know there are weddings, graduations, and other “deadlines” people will have. By all means spruce up the yard. Prune, mulch, edge, plant annuals, etc. but hold off on that major project. Landscape projects are subject to weather delays. Springtime can be very rainy. Why risk it? Wait till after and install your landscape improvement with less stress!

So then how should you plan your landscape project? Reading. Buy garden magazines and browse through them, marking photos that inspire you. Visit some botanical gardens and arboretums. This always helps you see how large plants can get. Spend time at the bookstore and look through landscaping books and buy one or two that you like. Then visit the garden center and stone yard to view the raw materials. Research landscape firms on line. Many will have online portfolios and you can see if they match your ideas and photos you collected. Ask friends for referrals. Then contact the two or three best firms.

Always engage the landscape firm for design and planning first. Most of these companies will charge design fees. Remember, a “free” design probable has no value. Share with them your collection of magazines and books. Make it a collaboration of client and designer. The outcome should be a true reflection of you. Always look at rough drafts or concept drawings before a final plan is completed to ensure the plan has developed as you imagined. Be open and realistic with your budget so your designer can plan to stay on budget.

All of these things will take weeks or in some cases months, a process that for a spring installation should be started in early wintertime. I don’t need to remind you that your home is probably your greatest investment and your landscape is a big part of its value. So do not leave the planning and design of your homes setting to rushed choices and unplanned decisions. Invest time and thought into your landscape as well as your dollars.

Once your project is completed have a proven landscape maintenance firm care for your landscape if it is beyond your ability to do so. Make sure they understand the vision of the design. I have seen many fine designs that bad maintenance practices have ruined. This means do not underestimate the importance of proper maintenance and its impact on your investment.

Maintenance & Plowing

Regency Landscape offers high quality residential and commercial grounds maintenance and snow plowing services in the following towns:

• Long Hill Township
• Warren Township
• Bernards Township
• Bernardsville
• Berkeley Heights
• Watchung
• New Providence
• Surounding areas

Patio & Pavers

Regency knows that a well designed and installed paver project can add beauty and value to your home. Pavers may be used for eye pleasing patios, elegant pool skirts, meandering walkways and drive ways. Don't forget retaining walls and raised planting beds. The possiblities afforded by pavers are limited only by the imagination. Our Design/Build services are available in:

• Morris County
• Somerset County
• Union County
• Hunterdon County
• Middlesex County
• Warren County