Any suggestion on finding cheap landscaping providers for a backyard?
May 7, 2016 12:46 AM   Subscribe

My parents just moved into a new construction house in Irvine, Ca, and the front and backyard came totally barren. The house itself isn't that large (2100 sq feet) and the backyard is a normal size for a typical planned new construction neighborhood community. I'm trying to find them an affordable landscaping company or service provider that won't break the bank.

I've looked on yelp and I'm a paid member of angies list but the 3 companies that have come over to do an estimate are all in the 40-60k range which seems ridiculous to me. Part of the reason the estimates from the few companies have been so high is because I picked the highest rated ones on yelp and since this is a somewhat affluent area, their prices for their work would obviously be higher especially since these companies that are rated this high aren't hurting for business. My parents house is worth just under 1million but it's the smallest house on the block and it's not like they want an infinity pool or anything too complex, they don't even want any cooking grills or appliances, just some grass, some tasteful stone or tile and areas to plant some flowers, trees, an area to put an umbrella and dining table. I realize you usually get what you pay for, and obviously the cheapest way to go would be to hire some day laborers and provide all the materials but that's not a realistic option for my parents. If anyone could give me any tips on where to look since we're completely ignorant about this type of project, and although I recognize it's not an easy job, I am shocked at the estimates they've been getting thus far. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this and I appreciate any comments, tips or opinions expressed on this subject matter.
posted by HonestAsian to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Generally the easiest thing to do is talk to neighbors who have similar yards to what your parents are hoping to do. This is also a great opportunity to get to know their neighbors.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:06 AM on May 7, 2016

Have you tried calling Roger's Gardens? Although nominally a nursery, they have a very capable landscape design department.
posted by RichardP at 4:04 AM on May 7, 2016

Is there a university/community college in the area with a landscaping, horticulture or related program? Maybe some students there would be interested in taking it on as a class project. Wouldn't hurt to call some schools and ask.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:50 AM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Talk to an experienced realtor in the area. They tend to build networks of people that do good work at reasonable prices so they can make houses presentable for sale.
posted by DrumsIntheDeep at 7:20 AM on May 7, 2016

Whatever you do, make sure you hire a reputable company with references that stand by their work. You'll pay more in the long run for cheap landscapers, especially with a lawn (so many people think installing a lawn is easy, and it's actually quite complex to get it right in drought-ridden California). You're going to need people who are good with irrigation, know about soil amendments, and don't go crazy with fertilizers. The soil is especially important because all the topsoil has been scraped away in new construction, and what you have left is not going to be suitable for growing anything without lots of amendments. Do not hire anyone who does not see the importance of soil, because it's not an easy or immediate fix.

30-60 thousand is not entirely out of line for front and back yard including all new hardscape. You may be able to get by at 25,000 if you are very careful about your choices. Definitely ask at local nurseries for their recommended people.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:58 AM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Have you ever heard of

You might find some suggestions from Irvine residents in new construction if you poke around this forum. Here is a potential useful thread.
posted by mbidi at 11:10 AM on May 7, 2016

My son is a landscaper and the prices you were quoted were not unreasonable. I've stopped at his job sites before and seen how labor intensive it can be. Materials are not inexpensive either from the hardscaping aspect to the plantings. You could start off with the basics of a lawn or xeriscaping (since you are in SoCal) and a basic watering system, and then as time progresses things could be added as they can be afforded.
posted by OkTwigs at 12:46 PM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

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