Now that endless tutorials and how-to guides are available online for free, DIY home improvement is more popular than it’s ever been. There are plenty of good reasons to go for a do-it-yourself kind of project, and the most pressing of those reasons is money. Many homeowners find their properties in dire need of hardscape upgrades, but they understandably don’t want to invest thousands of dollars into hiring a team of professionals. However, hardscapes are a lot more complicated than a garden bed or a lawn. When a professional undertakes a hardscape project, they consider a long list of factors before they even begin drafting a design. Building a successful hardscape feature requires a lot of skill, time, and labor. If you want your hardscape to last, it may ultimately be worth it to invest in a professional hardscaping team. Besides, a well-constructed hardscape can add significant value to your property, making it worth the initial splurge. Here are some more reasons to forego a DIY hardscape:
Maintain a Timeline and a Budget
Life happens. Homeowners are often busy with work, school, childcare, and other preoccupations that make it difficult to invest a lot of time into a big hardscaping project. DIY hardscapes often take much longer than homeowners anticipate after all of the planning and troubleshooting they require, and plenty of amateur hardscapers end up going way over the budget they originally intended. Professional crews, on the other hand, maintain a strict to-do list and can typically guarantee a reasonable timeline to a finished project. All the while, the homeowner is free to continue working, taking care of family issues, and attending to anything else that comes up. Further, professionals stick close to their estimates and are already aware of how much labor/materials cost. When you agree to pay $10,000 on a hardscaping project, that’s what you’re going to pay—full stop.
More Flexibility in Hardscape Design
Amateurs are perpetually limited by their skill level. Simply put, it takes many hours of intense training for professional hardscapers to get to the skill level that they’re at. Amateurs might have big plans for a hardscape design, like adding in water features or lights, but they’ll ultimately be limited by the kind of special expertise that electric/water features require. And any mistake made during a hardscape install can be debilitating to the overarching design. A property with a botched patio or fire pit is unappealing to most. So, unless you are confident in your own expertise, it’s safest to leave it up to the professionals.
Access to Industry Standard Materials
Professionals have ample access to the most durable and quality materials on the market, and most have deals with manufacturers that allow them to buy these materials at a discounted price. Amateurs are not often afforded the same discount, and, most of the time, they don’t have access to the same standard of materials, or adequate knowledge about which materials are best considering the possibility of erosion, wear and tear, and climate related damage. And materials are key—the right materials help distinguish a thorough job from a rushed one.
This one is too often overlooked. Professionals are trained in hardscaping safety standards: how best to lift heavy blocks; what kind of precautions should be taken before wiring a light; how to avoid utility lines; and how to minimize environmental impact. Amateurs can easily underestimate how dangerous building a hardscape can be. In turn, they might hurt themselves or cause expensive damage to their property. Remember, when you’re paying a team of professionals, you’re paying for their labor *and* their expertise—and expertise is priceless.