One way many gardeners expect to save money is to do everything themselves. That is an applaudable goal and something I strive for as well. However not everything should be done by the gardener, especially if it could injure someone or cause property damage. Time to call in the experts!
There are some jobs that you should consider hiring someone for rather than tackling it yourself as a DIY (do-it-yourself) project.
These professionals all should have the correct equipment, training to do their job safely and adequate insurance in case something does go wrong so that your homeowner’s insurance doesn’t take a hit.
Trimming large or very high tree branches or cutting down a large tree should be left to professionals.
Arbourists and professional treefellers know how to safely take down high tree branches and tall trees. There is a lot of weight and when that comes crashing down, it can injure or even kill someone, not to mention causing property damage to you and your neighbours.
They have all the necessary special safety equipment to climb the tree, cut branches/trunk and lower the pieces to the ground. This is definitely not a DIY project, unless you have the experience and equipment.
Burying an electrical cable in your garden to service a pond or greenhouse is something you want a licensed electrician to tackle.
A licensed electrician knows the electrical code and what is allowed and what isn’t. They will know how to safely tie the new circuit into your existing electrical system in your house and ensure circuits are not overloaded.
And when properly permitted and inspected, if there is a problem later, your insurance company will more likely pay for damages than if the work was done by you in a haphazard manner.
Running a buried water line to a greenhouse or putting in an irrigation system calls for the help of a licensed plumber.
Plumbers will ensure that any work they do is free of leaks and is properly tied into your existing plumbing. They can also ensure that water backflow prevention is properly installed and that you can easily winterize the system if you get freezing temperatures.
Again insurance companies look for work that has been done professionally and in conformance with plumbing codes if you have a flood.
Building anything but a ground level deck requires the overview of a licensed contractor and engineer that knows the building code.
This type of work requires proper sizing of structural members, proper footings and proper ledger installation on the side of your house. For complicated decks that are being built on a slope or have significant loads such as hot tubs, a structural engineer may also be required. Otherwise you could have your deck collapse during your inaugural BBQ. If you don’t believe that this can happen, check out this video:
If you need to regrade your garden, you should consult with a landscape professional.
If you do it wrong you will have rainwater going into your house or you might get sued by your neighbour if the water goes into their yard and into their house.
Large pond or swimming pool construction
This is another job that you should probably hire a landscape professional for.
Not only do they have the heavy equipment to dig a hole quickly, but they also will know where not to site the pond or pool to avoid ground water, tree roots and utility lines.
Plumbing and electrical work will likely also be required and so the points above under those sections apply here too.
You might be able to do some minor concrete work yourself such as setting some fence posts or pouring a small slab.
Anything larger or more complex should usually be handled by professionals. Getting a load of concrete delivered is a time-sensitive, stressful job and if you are not ready for it or don’t have the right concrete forms, your job will fail and you may have to redo it.
This list is not exhaustive. There may be other jobs you don’t feel comfortable doing, don’t have the right tools for or just need someone’s advice. Get a professional to come in early on and you’ll be able to sleep at night knowing you did your due diligence.
Homeowners usually want to save money. And the first thought is to do everything themselves. The DIY (do-it-yourself) movement has been popularized by TV shows, books, YouTube and the prevalence of home centres that sell almost anything.
But you can lose money by trying to DIY everything yourself. And worst case you may cause property damage, injury or in extreme cases death. Don’t take that chance and hire an expert or professional when it makes sense to.
The good thing is that you can probably do some of the preparation or cleanup work yourself which may save you some money. But check with a professional first and your local municipality to find out what you are able to do yourself and what you must have a licensed professional do.
If you enjoyed this article, have something to add or have any questions, please leave a comment below.
Wishing you all the best!
Tranquil Urban Homestead, Victoria, BC