My father started this company because he had a vision that he could make a living beautifying homes through landscaping and hardscaping. He’s the artistic designer type and has this innate and unique ability to look at a property as a blank canvas - and see what it can become. My grandfather came into the business, and he’s the workhorse that gets our crews on site with the right materials and does the scramble act when additional materials are needed because we pride ourselves on bringing each job in on time or earlier than expected. He never stops smiling and has been known to be invited by our customers into their homes for coffee and a doughnut. Then I came along, and I’m the analytical type that evaluates and tweaks, and evaluates some more, looking for that elusive harmony of maximum quality with maximum efficiency. It’s my background, and it’s just who I am. I’m a numbers guy.
Frequently, I am asked what projects or improvements one can make that provide an immediate return on investment because not everything are like solar panels with a seven to twenty year period to recover your money. There are three projects in our repertoire that have an immediate and full return on investment, and they aren’t big dollar projects.
The first project is a “front yard makeover” with raised beds, a walkway, and maybe a landing by the door. It’s a must for someone preparing to sell a home and critical for the homeowner who pulls into their driveway each day wishing things looked more inviting. The “front yard makeover” gives immediate curb appeal, and it’s not inconceivable that a $5,000 investment in the front yard could add $15,000 to the selling price of a home. It’s all about curb appeal, and whether one is selling or staying put, an improved appearance is always worth the money – and then some.
The second project is a side or backyard “patio.” Outside areas for eating and hanging with family and friends has become a requirement to the extent that houses without such look bare and unfinished. At a minimum, there should be room for a table and chairs, some additional seating room perhaps using a retaining wall, and an area for a grill. It’s best to tie the “patio” in with a walkway around the house, and a landing at point of entry to the house provides excellent aesthetics at a minimum of cost.
The third project is a simple, yet highly used and desired backyard feature. A “fire-pit” can be used almost year-round, and we build them with a circular wall around the outside which doubles as seating and accommodates upwards of sixteen people. The “fire-pit” is an attractive addition to any yard and is a place where family and friends congregate. Of our utilitarian projects, it is probably the most highly sought after and used by homeowners and lends an atmosphere of safety along with high function.
Not everyone has an open checkbook, and if you’re like me, you are always analyzing how money can best be spent. When contemplating which projects will bring you the best and fastest return on investment, consider “front yard makeovers” for maximum curb appeal, “patios” as a way to bring inside activities outside, and “fire-pits” for safe outdoor fun from roasting s’mores to keeping warm on those cold nights under the stars. Oh, and one final message – think Stephens Contracting because someone has to keep the lights on around here.
From the desk of Zack Sulpizi