The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Host, Ground Breakers program on HGTV

Co-host, Bushwhacked program on Turner South

Owner, Sierra Consulting

Guest bio

Breaking Ground with Justin Cave

By The 700 Club

When tackling a landscaping project, Justin says the first way you save money is in the preplanning.  Even if you are a Do-It-Yourselfer (DIYer) you probably need professional advice and a plan. 

It is good to do your research beforehand.  Know what kind of grass grows best in your area.  Know what plants grow best in your area and in your space.  Also, know your budget and what your project will cost.  Justin says even if you are a DIYer it is good to get three professional landscape designs and estimates.  (These professionals as well as people at home improvement stores and your local nurseries will give you advice.)

Another good thing to consider is the maintenance and doing it properly.  For example, if you want a nice, lush lawn be prepared to do the proper maintenance required.  You could get a lawn professionally installed, however, if not properly cared for you could have dead grass by next season.  These things must be considered when doing a landscaping project. 

For do-it-yourselfers pick parts you can tackle like planting turf, bushes, etc. These types of projects can be done in colder months.  For concrete projects, it is best to go with a landscaper or concrete professional. If you only have a budget of $250, don’t think big landscape project.  You can do container gardening – go to a local nursery and start small.

Landscaping your property is a sound investment and makes your home more attractive.  Usually you will get 80% of the investment you put in landscaping back in the resale of your property.  It is good to think about your home’s curb appeal.  Also, remember to protect your investment.  If you maintain your landscape properly, it will increase the value of your home.

Justin drew up a plan for Kristi’s yard. Originally, Kristi’s backyard project was 1000 sq. ft. now it is down to 600 sq. ft.  Justin also suggested that Kristi do her project in phases to save money.  Scaling the project down saved a couple thousand dollars and it didn’t change the initial design – Kristi can finish her vision for her landscape as she can.   Also, they chose a focal target area, the patio area by the house.  Kristi’s project is a mid-range to larger do-it-yourself project.

*For the trellis:  Trellis section cost will depend on the type of wood you choose.  Cedar is a higher end wood – it is good quality and has a good fragrance, but it will be more expensive $1000-1200.  Justin and Kristi decided to go
 with yellow pine for the pergola which cost $500-600 for the material only.

*For the fountain:  They added this water feature because it is soothing and blocks out some of the extraneous noise.They saved by buying a tiered fountain for a couple hundred dollars.  They didn’t put a pond because they require
  more maintenance and there is a high cost involved.

* For the patio: They chose to go with pavers with a random installation. DIY costs $4-5 a sq. ft., with professional $15 a sq. ft. – the advantage is you get a warranty.

-By the patio they made a raised bed. Separation and space were key.  The raised bed added contour and interest to Kristi’s space.  They cut out grass and made space – there is a planting space and they bought soil.

*For the landscape:

*For plant material they chose a composite plant scheme.  Plant materials can add up quick. Kristi’s area gets full sun.  She needs to buy proper plants for her area.  Many times people make the mistake of buying the wrong plants for the wrong areas.  You need to learn the fundamentals of landscaping and find the proper plants and their care for the proper area.

*For buying plants: Get a plant list and go to one nursery for a quote, then go to another nursery to see if they will giveit to you cheaper.

*Originally Justin proposed trees 10-12’ ft. tall, which would run $300-350.  To save money, they scaled back to 5-7’ gallon containers which will cost half the price ($150-175) and it’s easier to DIY – Ex. a small evergreen will cost $35-85, but you lose instant gratification – you have to wait for it to grow.

*When choosing plants, choose drought hearty plants.  Perennials you only have to plant once and come back annually, lower maintenance, $4-5 for gallon. Annuals are more expensive and you have to replant each year $40.  Make sure you pick the right plants and right location.  Usually, for smaller areas annual beds are okay (forthe hobbyist).

*For the lawn, they decided to keep existing turf and just maintain it properly.  It is a lot easier and cheaper than putting new turf in.  They made big bed spaces to minimize lawn.  Kristi has an in ground sprinkler, which can save her $50-100 a year on her water bill. Her lawn is Bermuda grass and she has to be careful when cutting back her lawn.

From an early age, Justin has enjoyed landscaping. He admits he didn’t enjoy mowing the lawn when he was young.  However at 14, he got his first work permit so he could drag a 200-foot hose to thirsty beds of annuals.  Then while Justin was in college, he launched his professional landscaping career and worked in between classes.

Later, he worked for two of Atlanta's top landscaping and design firms, managing large-scale projects and learning more advanced techniques.  He now works as the hands-on host of Ground Breakers, the HGTV series that showcases ambitious, large-scale landscaping transformations. Off-screen, Justin has his own landscaping business, Sierra Consulting. Justin loves every part of the process of helping his clients envision their landscape dreams and making them come true.

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