Part of my personal commitment to become fully integrated into the landscaping industry has been to have professionals do a complete extreme makeover on my own property. The results are fantastic and the process was one that my wife, Karen, thoroughly enjoyed.
As she thoughtfully made decisions about different plant varieties and the style that she would ultimately decide upon, I remembered vividly the response by one successful landscape professional during one of our four focus groups last summer. When asked about the most important part of his job, he quickly replied, “Making housewives and homeowners happy.”
Karen had never experienced, or been charged with, such a large project, but became more and more engaged through every step. The project started more than a year ago, when one of the giant pine trees that used to stand in my front yard fell on the roof of the house thanks to 70 mph winds generated by Hurricane Katrina.
I was standing in the yard, surveying the damage at 2 a.m., when the decision was made that they all must go. After the tree service cut them down and ground the stumps, we solicited the help of a local landscape designer. She came over, sat in the yard for a couple of sessions and came up with a plan that she meticulously presented to us.
With her work done, we shared the plan with our landscape professional and the nursery that was recommended to us. After seeing the plan, both offered excellent ideas which later became incorporated into the plan.
Karen particularly liked the way that the nurseryman described the plant’s relationship to the architecture of the house and took many of his recommendations on plants with shapes that provided a particular accent. Good thing Karen was in charge of the project at that point. Our landscaping firm, The Cutting Edge, was ready to begin.
They came in, smoothed over the spots where the trees once were and placed sod in the bare patches. They dug out and removed all of the old plants, delicately avoiding the existing sprinkler system, and in less than a week, gave our home and our yard a whole new look. Karen’s pleasure with the finished project grew exponentially with each compliment she received from our friends and neighbors.
From my perspective, the landscaping work simply changed the whole “curb appeal” of the house. It made it look different – and better – reinforcing the advice that landscaping is perhaps the single most cost-effective way to increase the value of a house.