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Landscapers must be making some really good money. When I began to set up appointments to interview candidates for the landscaping job, most of them never returned my phone calls even though I made it clear on the message that it was a pretty big job (i.e. lots of money).

In the end I met with four different professional landscapers at our property. I gave them each the detailed plan I had drawn up with a page of notes explaining exactly what I was wanting in the project so that they were all bidding on exactly the same thing.

Since I am moving into an established development the front yard has to be complete upon move in so that necessitated hiring a landscaper in the first place even though I could do the work myself (probably taking me ten years to complete it.) The builder is giving us an allowance of $10,000 for the landscaping which would be fine if we wanted something really simple and boring.

I decided to bite the bullet and have the major part of the back yard landscaped the way I wanted it while they were at it. I put in a number of features that are a bit expensive on the installation, but will save me thousands of hours in maintenance over my life so I felt they were worth the investment.

I will be having gravel paths, stone mow strips, rock walls, complete irrigation on all areas, the soil heavily amended and fertilized with compost and everything mulched. The end product will be a garden that will look well established and will have visual interest all year long.

Now back to the bidding. Two of the landscapers came in around $35,000.  One submitted a bid for $54,000 and another was for over $63,000. Fortunately the first two were about what I was expecting and one of the guys I really liked.

The range in quotes was amazing. In essence one company was hoping to get an additional $28,000 in their pocket for what will be just a couple weeks worth of work for their crew.

It took a bit time for me to call all these companies, set up the appointments and meet with the landscapers. In the end, it was definitely worth it. A lot of people find it too much of a bother to meet with more than one contractor. That could end up being a $28,000 mistake.