As a landscaped designer and consultant, people frequently come up to me with numerous questions regarding their garden problems and what they can do to solve them.

Since I tend to be a social kind of guy, I usually take some time to try and answer their questions for them on the spot, but most of the time it is best that I visit their home and see for myself what the underlying issues really are.

I often hear about the hard work they put into gardening, and the woes that seem to mount up every year, and how discouraged they become watching their lawn develop browning out areas, or how their rhododendrons suffer so much die back during the winter, or when should they cut back their deciduous shrubs because they are growing at a rapid rate and are becoming unsightly.

These are questions that have numerous causes as to why they develop in the first place, and oftentimes are difficult to answer in a simple few minutes of time spent in a grocery store parking lot.

Normally I suggest an on site consult so that I can see for myself the circumstances they are up against, and can come to some conclusion as to what the problem is, why it happened in the first place, and how they can remedy the situation themselves.

This is where my story begins.

Countless times, I find that people are intrigued with free information and think that gardening and planting should be simple to accomplish. but it’s not that simple. It involves lots of hard work and lots of research in planning and executing the final results.

I try to convince people that a quick consult will save them time, effort, and money in the long run, however when it comes to talking money, all of a sudden the garden isn’t such a project after all.

I shake my head in amazement at how they can be so concerned about their gardens and property, but when there is a price tag attached to information, they become squeamish and shy away from making any sort of commitment to the solution of their troubles.

So, they go on their way and who knows what ever happens.

At that point, I have given them about a half hour of free time and come away without any compensation for my experience and knowledge as a horticulturist.

What are people thinking when they approach an expert and begin loading them down with questions, then walk away free as a bird not offering any compensation for the time that I have spent with them? Do people not understand that as an expert in my field that this is my life’s work and what I depend on for my income?

Folks, landscaping is a science, an art form, and a tangible end product that results from experience and sensitivity to the special environment of your home in particular.

Every property owner has different issues that can propose future problems if not approached properly. Every land form and property changes from one yard to the one next door. It is not a wise decision to make, that any plant will work, or I can grow what I want and I expect it to grow. Not so…

You need to make proper decisions as to what will grow in your yard. Are there any land formations that could possibly cause drainage problems and cause my birch tree to die unless I rectify the problem?

These are questions that can be answered and should be answered by an expert, one who knows for certain if and what your yard will accommodate for plantings and design.

I speak with people all the time about consulting a professional, be it myself or someone else in the field, which can solve issues before they happen.

When making a consideration to spend a large amount of money, anywhere from a couple thousand dollars to a much larger amount of money on their yard, does a couple hundred dollars for a design and consultation seem so outrageous to make sure the job is planned and planted properly to begin with?

Think of it as an insurance policy that unlike most policies, end at the end of the year and you have spent hundreds of dollars for nothing but assurance that your home or life will be protected.

This is an insurance policy that comes with expert advice and an on going relationship with an expert that can and will sacrifice time to answer your questions, simply because you made a wise decision to hire him in the first place.

With this said, you now have a landscape you can be proud of and will grow proportionately over the years. In 3-5 years you won’t be ripping your hair out because your lawn guy planted a 40 foot arborvitae in from of your picture window.

I would urge you, as a professional and one who cares about your home landscape, to consider consulting a professional consultant prior to hiring or deciding on someone to plant your landscape for you.

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