We know what you’re thinking. The cries and requests for a koi pond, retaining wall, cedar-mulched rose garden, and Popular Gentleman’s Magazine-style Grotto are getting too frequent. The warm weather is getting too nice. Those balding, scrappy shrubs are on their last breaths. The chain link fence seperating you from your neighbor’s yappy dog just isn’t cutting it. You need a new yard, and you’re full of brilliant ideas. Now you’re thinking, hey, I could save some money doing this myself, how hard can a six-foot hole, full circulation system, Bobcat industrial rototiller, and three tons of patio stones be?

Hard. We’ve seen caved-in pools in Caledonia and broken water mains in Wyoming. We’ve seen cracked concrete in Cascade, and moldy sod in Moline. That’s why we’re professionals. Before you decide to DIY landscape your backyard into a shimmering oasis paradise this summer, here are a few good reasons to spare yourself the hassle and hire a professional, for yourself, your family, and your beautiful lawn:

1) Here at Landscape Supply we sell over fifteen different types of mulch. We sell twenty different styles of decorative and exotic stones, rocks, and boulders. There are hundreds of different bushes, shrubs, and hedges, and literally thousands of flowering plants and trees. Don’t even get us started on sod. A professional landscaper not only takes into consideration your unique likes and requirements, but can also help you discern which of these oodles of choices will work best with your yard, ground, water table, soil profile, sunlight, yard size, and traffic. One wrong choice could disrupt the balance of your project, create more work than you put into it origionally, and end up costing way more than you anticipated. Did we also mention that each of the thousands of sub-categories has a thousand more brand names? We could be here a while…

2) You rent your equipment, draw up your plans, buy your supplies, maybe look up a few directions on the Googles, and get to work. No sooner has your Bobcat blade broken ground, a gush of water shoots ten feet into the air, and won’t stop for any curses or desperate pleas you can imagine to make. Who put that unmarked water main there? Next thing you know your shower pressure is down and your toilet no longer flushes solids (think about it! The horror!), The hot water heater is on the verge of starting a fire, and your backyard looks like somewhere only Shrek would appreciate. You’ve (entirely by accident) tripled your cost and the time involved, turned the job from landscaping to construction, and probably drowned your neighbor Betty’s fern colony.

Most people don’t know this, but there are a lot of hidden dangers involved in digging giant holes in your backyard. Doing said projects can require not only extra planning, but experience-based know-how, that unless you’ve personally dug 100 holes in 100 different back yards over the years (if you are, we don’t know what you “do,” but you’re the man), you might not have. We’re not saying that every potential fix-it will end in total disaster, but it is something to consider when planning a major overhaul.

3) Paper wasps. Chinch bugs. Boering Beetles, white potato grubs, tent worms, junebugs, ground bees, earwigs, red ants, carpenter ants, wolf spiders, and a whole crap-ton of mosquitoes. And hey, this is Michigan, so why not chuck in a handfull of deadly black widows and brown recluse spiders (I don’t care how “rare” they are, we’ve seen enough in our years to sleep with one eye open, if you know what we mean) while we’re proving a point. I guarantee that right now in your back yard there are at least five full-blown bee/wasp nests that you don’t know about, six types of somehow-destructive eating, digging, or nesting beetles and insects, and at least eleven more that just want to bite, sting, infect, or generally irritate you. There are also raccoons, oppossums, ground hogs, snapping turtles, blue jays, and fearsome North American Attack Chipmunks (ok, we made that last one up) lurking under bushes and in holes in the ground, waiting to take off a limb or just give you a good scare.

There are so many gross little creepy-crawlies wriggling around your backyard, that want nothing more than to be left alone, unless you come to them. Knowing what to look for can be half the battle, and ridding your new Kentucky Bluegrass of an underground beehive before you’re ankle-deep in swarming terror can easily be worth the cost of hiring someone else to get nailed instead of you (it’s okay, we’re professionals). And there’s Wolverines. Yeah, Wolverines.

Ugh. Math. Lots of it too, if you want a landscaping job done right. Sure it’s easy enough to eyeball how much-ish mulch or fertilizer you may need to rake around your flowerbed or lilac bushes, but when it comes to paving stones, poured concrete, top soil, sod, sand, or water, incorrect measurements and formulas can cost you, the homeowner, unnecessary boatloads of cash, and a garage full of awkward leftover piles that you’re not sure how to use or get rid of (twelve special-cut patio stones, 14.5 lbs sod fertilizer, etc), or several frustrating, unnecessary trips (unless you’ve special ordered, then you’re plain up the creek). On top of accurate measurements, we need to know trajectories, variables, radicals, conversions, trigonometry, geometry, fractals, and a dozen formulas I can only recite from memory. Math is a crucial part of every landscaping job, from the first measurement to getting the fountain to gurgle properly. Everything takes math to execute, and every on of our guys from the architect to the crew foreman to the slave…cough!…intern use it regularly to make sure that you’re not only on budget, but the job is done properly and efficiently. And we have to do long division to like, the tenth decimal. Remember that stuff? We don’t expect you to.

5) A landscaper will be able to pre-plan (as you can see from #1-4) everything down to the decimal, forsee many unexpected costs and factors, procure you the materials that you want no matter how exotic or unusual and teach you how to maintain them like a pro, get them for the best price, and take all this and produce an accurate budget that will not be crested without your express permission. Doing it yourself almost guaranteed unexpected costs, and putting a cap on the spending before the ground even breaks will help you control the reins on your project before you’ve spent triple what you hoped to and are stuck paying off a bunch of unwanted Lowe’s cards later. This is a very useful, economical, and smart tool to use when doing a landscaping project, or any home improvement project, and believe me, we know how fast they can get away from ya.

Now now, Macho Nacho, we’re not under any circumstances saying that you can’t or wouldn’t be able to complete a landscaping job by yourself, we’re sure you’re as sharp, intuitive, strong, and green-thumbed as that Jolly Giant or Hulk or whatever. But landscaping is one of those things that really is harder than it looks, and hopefully these little suggestions gave you a better idea of what you’re in for if you still want to go it alone. Best of luck out there, and we hope to see you this summer to help you turn that lumpy old sandbox into a backyard wonderland!