AMC Guest Article
Value in Your Landscape
Jeff Allen of JALA, Jeff Allen Landscape Architecture, LLC
In today’s economy many of us are looking to get the ‘The Best Deal.’ The best deals are not always the lowest price especially when you are investing in your home. Most clients discuss what they hope to get a return on from their investment and are not willing to spend a penny more. As a designer I recommend to my clients to look for value.
I define value both from a market stand point where prices are well defined i.e. stone/plant material cost per square foot to hourly labor rates. Beyond that I delve into a subjective value; the role of the process of that leads to the finished product. What was the experience during the design phase, construction phase and post construction. Were we responsive to your questions, concerns, did we give you all your options to make intelligent decisions that you are happy with the end result? Together these make an intrinsic value. Our role in this is one of advocacy for our clients and guidance for the contractor to ensure a smooth rewarding experience; hence it is good for everyone.
Many contractors are competing to stay in business and the successful ones are doing so by the value they bring to the table- expertise, professional accreditation, liability insurance coverage and dedication to their craft. When interviewing contractors (beyond seeing the quality their work-see my previous article on hiring a landscape architect) I look for intrinsic value mainly with regard to service. Landscape materials are relatively fixed based on current market pricing and your contractor should be able to obtain the best material at the best price effectively and efficiently. A landscape professional should have all of his professional licenses, insurances and have knowledge of local regulations. Most importantly how does your landscape professional communicate? This is critical during the construction and maintenance phase regarding scheduling, material samples for review, response to questions or concerns and follow up.
The post construction phase for gardens and landscapes is to me the most important. Your garden/landscape is a living system that requires care and is changing as it develops. The quality of a well-managed landscape/garden can increase the value of your investment where a poorly maintained one can cost more money to repair and in some cases reconstruct parts of the garden. I enjoy this phase as I revisit many gardens I designed to see how they have grown in. I love to ask my clients are you enjoying your new terrace, outdoor kitchen or herb garden. What I am asking is does the design meet your goals we established in the initial design phase, has your quality of life improved, have we created a positive impact on your life?
Valuable assets in your landscape:
A good functioning irrigation system
Article by Home Builders Association of Winston-Salem Member,:
J A L A, L L C J e f f A l l e n L a n d s c a p e A r c h i t e c t u r e
1000 West 5th Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101