(BPT) - In this age of DIY, many outdoor home projects look doable. The truth is, plenty of outdoor projects tackled by homeowners to save money are better left to landscape professionals. When attempting these projects on their own, homeowners soon realize that some jobs require more knowledge and expertise than an online search engine can provide, and the project may end up costing more if doing it themselves.
Fortunately, trained, experienced and certified experts are available to help turn your vision into an enjoyable reality and bring years of knowledge and value to your outdoor project. Experts found through the National Association of Landscape Professionals, which represents an industry of nearly one million landscape, lawn care, irrigation and tree care professionals, have the expertise to create and maintain healthy green spaces that benefit our communities and environment.
How do you know if you need a professional? Here are five signs.
Your lawn looks unhealthy
You see brown grass, patchy growth and weeds. You’ve tried everything from various lawn products to altered watering techniques, but nothing works.
Lawn care professionals have the expertise and education to get to the root of your yard problems. A trained lawn care professional can evaluate factors including the pH balance of your soil, the presence of non-native grasses or problems created by over- or under-fertilizing your lawn.
These experts may have your soil analyzed and work alongside an agronomist to determine the best fertilizer application for your specific type of grass, and create a maintenance plan to achieve optimal lawn health.
You want a patio
You've dreamed of entertaining outdoors, viewing online pictures of patios, and think, "How hard can that be?"
Hardscaping — installing elements of landscape architecture, from pathways to retaining walls — requires a skilled hand, careful consideration of the best materials, plus knowledge of placement and installation.
A landscape professional will know what materials work best for your region and landscape design, and can assess your yard to consider issues that could impact your new feature. With a complex project, a landscape architect or designer can further assist you on planning and implementing your vision.
Your tree looks sick
If a tree in your yard has dead branches, bark splitting, fungus, defoliation or has had improper pruning, it’s time to call an arborist.
Consulting an arborist will help determine issues with your trees and the best course of action. Better yet, use an arborist to prevent problems with your healthy trees down the road. Arborists are trained and certified to ensure proper pruning and maintenance. They can recommend the best trees for your yard, where to plant them and how to get them off to a healthy start.
You want a new landscape
You love seeing colorful flowers and lush greenery at the local garden store, but don't know where to start. What will work best with your existing trees and plants? Where should you plant? What will grow best with your climate and soil type?
You may be tempted to choose shrubs based only on their appearance, but improper choices could greatly impact your landscape design. A landscape professional is trained in proper plant selection and understands what flowers and greenery grow best in specific soil conditions, plus how to achieve a balance of colors and variety. They also know how to use plantings to camouflage unsightly areas of your landscape and add focal points to locations you wish to feature. When working with a landscape professional, they'll help you consider layering plant sizes and textures to create a beautiful outdoor space.
You have big plans
You've invested time and energy into your yard, and you want to protect that investment. Perhaps you want an irrigation system or landscape lighting, water feature or another upgrade. A landscape professional can help bring your vision to life. They can assess the cost, timing and aesthetic considerations, and how it will impact your existing design.
Within the lawn and landscape industry, there are experts for any size project and need. To find a local professional to advise you on your outdoor space, visit loveyourlandscape.org/find-a-pro/.