How to coordinate a big backyard project?
August 3, 2009 9:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm planning a whole lot of work for the back patio and yard, and I could use some advice about planning how it should go down.

Now that we've got the front yard and inside of the house in shape, it's getting harder to ignore the unsightly despair that is the back patio and yard. It's time to do something about it, but it's going to involve several different types of workers and I'm not sure of the optimal sequence nor how to coordinate this.

For example, I want to replace the decaying wood steps and retaining wall with stone, but the patio borders this and needs to be replaced or resurfaced first. That can't happen until our dilapidated shed (which sits on the patio) is replaced, which of course precludes any work on the patio itself. I expect that what I have planned will require a fencing company, a shed company, a mason and a general purpose landscaper.

I'd appreciate any advice about how to coordinate this sort of project and especially so if it's specific to where I live (St. Louis). My goals, in order, are: having it done right, avoiding hassle and getting the best value I can.
posted by tomwheeler to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
A general purpose landscaper should be able to handle the whole lot - if you get one which will act as a general contractor, subbing out the work he can't do with his company. Finding a good one - that I can't help you with in St. Louis. Otherwise you need a general contractor. Basically you want to hire one company who will plan the project, get the required permits, coordinate the subcontractors, pay them etc.. Caution, do your research on the contractor (and his proposed subcontractors) go see work they have done, talk to people he has worked for, talk to the city/BBB to see if there are complaints etc..
posted by defcom1 at 11:27 PM on August 3, 2009

It seems to me that you have listed things in the order that they should be completed. The retaining wall should be first - remove as much of the patio as required in order to build the new wall. After the wall is completed, replace the patio - you may be shedless for a while if you have to tear down the shed in order to do so. If you can work around the shed while completing the bulk of the patio work, do so.

Generally you want to complete outdoor work from the "bottom up" - stuff that is below ground, then ground level, then stuff that sits on top.
posted by davey_darling at 6:04 AM on August 4, 2009

A tip on evaluating contractors: there's a pay site called Angie's List which collects reviews of local contractors. You need to subscribe, but supposedly they have good information. (I do'nt have a subscription but I know other people who use it for vetting contractors.) If you're going to be trying to hire a range of people, might be worth getting a subscription.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:10 PM on August 4, 2009

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