If you are like a lot of people, and have more time than money here are some tips to landscaping with mature trees without spending your life savings. Through the years I have found some key things that customers can do to save them money.
1) Do your landscaping late in the fall. While this one is obvious it is easy to procrastinate on this when you are gearing up for winter and the holidays. Landscapers will typically be more inclined to work with you when they are slowing down and trying to sock away every last dollar to make it through winter.
2) Think like a landscaper. What most people fail to realize is, that the work starts long before the landscaper starts working on your yard. From calling all the local garden centers and tree nurseries to find the plants and trees you want, loading up the materials, tying down the trees, putting a tarp over the trees, chaining down the equipment, loading the mulch, etc.
All this little stuff ends up taking a lot of time. If you think like a landscaper you can plan your landscaping project so it allows the landscaper to avoid as many of these steps as possible. For example, tarping trees takes a lot of time, landscapers do this to protect the leaves, if you get your trees in the late fall - trees don't have leaves and they don't need to be tarped. Have your mulch delivered from a company that makes mulch; they will typically deliver it cheaper because they are making money off the mulch. If the landscape project is going to require heavy equipment driving around on your lawn and you are "ok" with some turf damage and ruts, let your landscaper know that, he will be more likely to give you a good price if he knows that he doesn't need to take extra precautions to avoid turf damage.
3) Get Creative. If you just want trees, most of the time it is lot cheaper to have trees moved than to buy trees. Do you have trees back in a field that you could bring into your landscape? Does your neighbor have some nice Autumn Blaze Maple Trees, but he is always complaining about the leaves? Maybe he will give the tree to you. Drive around, near your house, and look for trees that you would like in your yard, talk to the owner - maybe they will give it to you or sell it to you really cheap. Then contact a landscaper with a tree spade and get a price to move the trees to your house. Also you will save money if you do what you can yourself and hire out what you can't do, but contact a landscaper first and run your idea by him first so that you don't do things out of order and cause the landscaper more work because things are not done right.
4) Be Flexible. If your landscaper knows that he can take his time on your property and squeeze your job into his down time or do your job when he is in the area landscaping another house, he will be more likely to work with you on price.
5) Be Nice. Personally for me, my business isn't just about money, it is about job satisfaction as well. If I know that I will work with someone who is nice, easy going, understanding, and a pleasure to work with, I will accept less money. If someone comes across rude and demanding; well, they don't get the nice person discount.
I hope you found this article helpful and can use it to get the most out of your next landscaping project.