Garber: There can always be more to love |

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Garber: There can always be more to love

For many of us, we have a love/hate relationship with our landscapes.

We love our fave flowers. We hate the weeds. We love seeing everything start to bloom. We hate to deadhead. We love the soothing green of a lush lawn. We hate to mow!

We also have favorite places and spaces in the yard. And we cringe at the eyesores that make us crazy like the path the dog’s worn across the lawn, the out-of-control juniper and the low spot that’s always muddy.

Maybe 2012 can be the year to solve some problems and bring more that you love into your landscape. With a whole new season of possibilities ahead, now is the best time to decide what you can no longer live with, problems you could solve yourself and where you need outside help. Here’s some advice to help sort out the DIY projects from the hire-a-pro projects.

Hire a pro when:

• You have specific problems such as, you don’t really know what’s wrong with the tree, why plants never grow in one part of the yard or the best options for creating an outdoor living area.

• It’s not safe or you don’t have the tools to do the job yourself. You probably need help if your project involves climbing a tree, moving heavy landscape materials or operating machinery like front-end loaders or trenchers. Did you know it’s the law to call for a utility locate before doing any digging whatsoever?

• You don’t have the time or expertise that’s needed. Increasingly, we have less discretionary time to get things done. That’s why hiring an expert who has the know-how plus the tools and equipment to get the bigger jobs done efficiently may be more cost-effective – and time efficient – in the long run.

When you hire a pro, do your homework first:

• Identify the problem areas you want solved and prioritize must-dos from the like-to-dos.

• Know what your budget is and be ready to discuss it so you can work with your contractor to get the best value within your budget.

• Be a responsible consumer and check out prospective contractors ahead of time. Ask for references, then talk to them and look at the contractor’s work on other projects.

• Get it in writing: a written contract, proof of the contractor’s insurance and a payment schedule that is fair to both parties.

Do this in May and by October you may be looking back on a season that gave you more love in your landscape.

Courtesy Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado and Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company based in Silverthorne that is a member. You may contact them at (970) 468-0340.