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Navigating an outdoor project requires planning ahead and knowing what to expect financially. Here are 7 tips for surviving your next project.

  1. Don’t Forget Irrigation
    If you’re doing a pool installation or adding pavers, there is likely an irrigation system in the way. Most contractors leave the irrigation to the Homeowner and you will need to make sure PVC lines are capped prior to work beginning. Talk to your irrigation specialist about budgeting for repairs and rerouting irrigation when the project is complete. If you’re installing a pool, we dedicated an entire post to preparing you for the irrigation portion of your project.
  2. Combine Labor
    Many companies offer multiple services and most work will require digging. Trenches for pool plumbing can also be used for irrigation. Lighting wire trenches can also be used for audio wire. If you’re able to combine services from one company or coordinate contractors when digging takes place, you’ll save on labor costs.
  3. Keep Changes to a Minimum
    Change orders can be costly and confusing. It’s okay to decide on a different paver early in the game but changing the selection a week before they’re due to be installed creates delays and frustration. It’s better to take your time during the design process and select what you truly want from the start.
  4. Give Your Budget Some Wiggle Room
    For one reason or another, projects rarely come in at budget. Give yourself at least a 10% buffer to accommodate unforeseen changes and unplanned additions. Is your budget $70,000 for a pool? Consider what part of that budget will need to go to repairing, upgrading, or installing irrigation, landscaping, lighting, fencing, furniture, etc.
  5. Hire Professionals
    Most outdoor projects require a specialty and a licensed professional. In fact, hiring a company that is not licensed or insured could be incredibly costly down the road. Do your research. It’s okay to purchase multiple services from one company, just make sure they’re professionals in each specialty. The contractor that does your screen enclosure might know something about audio but it’s best to get a second estimate from an audio specialist, too. Your landscaper may have some general knowledge about lighting but talking to a lighting specialist isn’t a bad idea either. Most estimates are free. If you’re considering lighting, we wrote a checklist of all the right questions to ask.
  6. Select Florida Friendly Plant Material
    Landscaping is what brings the space together. Check out https://ffl.ifas.ufl.edu/ for information and ideas about plant selection/placement, fertilizer and pest control, water usage, stormwater runoff, mulch, and pollinator plants.
  7. Be Patient
    Especially now, contractors in the outdoor industry are facing rising material costs, raw material shortages, delays in product availability, labor shortages; and all of that on top of a surge in request for their services. A good contractor will provide a realistic timeline and discuss alternatives for any items that aren’t currently available. Vinyl fencing, for example, is one product that is in high demand but becoming increasingly hard to source. Remain open to choosing an alternative and be receptive to a changing timeline for materials that might be backordered.