I have always supported the “Do-It-Yourself” homeowner. I’ve drawn plans for them, lent them tools, and given step-by-step instructions. Years ago I worked for a landscape firm that also had a nursery/garden center. That company would advertise to homeowners to bring in pictures and a sketch with measurements. We’d do a simple design for them and they’d buy the materials from us. If you get the right advice and guidance, this can be a great way to do it yourself, get awesome results and control costs. (It can be good exercise, fun and gratifying too…)
One tactic to consider for do-it-yourself jobs that have aspects a little over your skill level or muscle capacity (we’re not all Rocky Balboa) is to sub-contract the complex or “back-breaking” phase. Don’t be like the homeowner above who thought clearing the property of a few stones would not be difficult.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, take the time to get a simple plan for your landscape project. If you’re an experienced gardener, you can put something down on paper that illustrates the main elements of your design. Or try visiting your local garden center with pictures and measurements in hand. Most are anxious to help the do-it-yourself customer with the hope you’ll buy some of your supplies from them.
I think it’s smart to patronize a “good” local garden center. If you do-it-yourself you are going to have questions at the start, during the project and probably after in terms of care and maintenance. Garden centers get to know their regular customers along with their properties. This is very helpful when it comes time for them to answer your landscape questions and offer site-specific suggestions.
You could buy just the plant material at the local nursery, and then purchase the other “non-living” materials like top soil, stone and mulch from a “big-box” like Home Depot. Depending on the quantities you need of these materials, it may be even more cost effective to find “bulk suppliers” that will deliver large quantities at lower costs.
If you decide to do-it-yourself, we’re here to help. Use the comments section below to ask a question on any landscape topic.