Meet two dreamers, Walter and Anna, a husband and wife team who live in West Chester, PA and wish to turn their backyard into a blissful, relaxing retreat from their daily lives. Their desire is to step out onto their expertly built deck where they can gaze upon the beauty of their outdoor property—a glistening pool in the sunlight, a manicured lawn, exquisite landscaping and gardens, and a fence that gives them all the privacy they need to fully enjoy their backyard splendor. What Walter and Anna don’t realize is they’re about to embark on a backyard journey they never imagined, in the twilight zone.
If you’ve ever had a home improvement project that has gone awry, you may be cringing for poor Walter and Anna as they begin planning the backyard of their dreams with high hopes. For you know all too well that there are bound to be unexpected issues that await them…and those issues turn into big unexpected costs. This is why it’s so important to fully understand your backyard projects before any of the actual work begins.
Building Your Backyard: How to Start a Backyard Project
Your backyard projects are a lot like building an actual house. There are hundreds of decisions you need to make and the process can be very time-consuming, not to mention overwhelming. The good news when building a house is that your home builder would be there to help by generally organizing the decision-making process for you, laying out what needs to happen and when. You’d still need to make decisions, from types of flooring and lighting to plumbing and kitchen appliances, but at least you’d have an advisor helping make the process a lot less painful and much more organized, leaving less room for issues later down the road.
Many people building a backyard like Walter and Anna hire a general contractor, but they tend not to be as helpful as that home builder advisor. There’s even the unfortunate reality that your general contractor may not always have your best interests in mind, but their own.
One of the first steps to starting a backyard project is to choose between a general contractor and a project manager—but what’s the difference?
General Contractors vs. Project Managers
A general contractor is responsible for providing all material, labor, equipment, and services necessary for your project. For your backyard project, they would hire specialized subcontractors to perform all or portions of the work you want to have done. That means you may have one subcontractor installing a pool, another installing a deck, another installing a fence, and even another planning out your landscaping. As each subcontractor works independently of the other, room for error increases as many times they do not take each other and the other work being done into consideration when they are doing their own thing. There’s also a conflict of interest because the more money you spend, the more money the general contractor makes.
A project manager, on the other hand, does not make more money off of you spending more. A project manager will pride themselves on how accurately they can estimate your project and associated costs. They can look at the big picture and can help shed light on possible issues along with helping you grasp the cost of the project, making it easier to plan better for the future.
Walter and Anna’s Happily Ever After
Luckily, Walter and Anna had a friend who recommended a project manager to come in and help them plan the backyard of their dreams. Their project manager was able to identify possible issues that could arise before any actual work was done, giving Walter and Anna a more accurate idea of the time it would take and the expense to make their backyard dreams a reality.
Walter and Anna admittingly would never have thought about some of the items on the project manager’s list. Everything from steep drops causing pool installation issues to ensuring a fence is compliant with pool code. The project manager even made sure that the original building plans were correct and checked for heavy rock under the ground since there’d soon be digging. The project manager then consulted with them on other items they may like but did not think of in order to make their backyard dreams come true. In Walter and Anna’s case, the idea of a tiki bar took them out of the twilight zone and dropped them right on cloud nine.
With help from the project manager, Walter and Anna were better prepared for the cost of their project and had little to no surprises when all was said and done. All that was left was to enjoy their favorite bev while chillaxin’ by the pool. Cheers!
We’re Not Just About Fences
If you’re located in the Delaware Valley and looking to turn your backyard into an outdoor paradise, we can help get you there. We are not only the authority on fencing for your property, but we also take pride in going the extra mile to make our customers truly happy. You’ll receive expert consultation and project management for your entire venture, not just your fence. Contact us today, or come visit one of our three locations in West Chester, PA, Montgomeryville, PA, or Smyrna, DE for your very own backyard advisor!