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We all love the sunny Southern California weather, and the best way to take advantage of our year-round mild temperatures is with an amazing yard where you can enjoy it all. Whether it’s a big backyard in Yorba Linda or modest patio space in Newport Beach, it’s worth putting in the time so that you love spending your precious time enjoying it.

There are a number of ways to maximize the end-result of this project while also safeguarding against wasteful spending. Keep the following four tips in mind when gearing up for that backyard makeover and you’ll be sure to reap the most benefit, at the lowest cost.

Get Lots Of Quotes

We’ve all met that sales rep that was just so charming and enjoyable that we really just wanted to give him the job right away, without consulting other options. If this sounds familiar, set yourself a goal of receiving at least 3-5 quotes before proceeding with a contractor. Even if you only need a contractor for a small portion of the makeover, seek several quotes and compare the differences before committing.

DIY When Possible

One of the best ways to get a job done the way you’d like it while also saving lots of money is by taking a do-it-yourself approach at every instance possible. A large seed and outdoor supply company such as Central Farm and Garden can provide nearly all of the tools used by the pros as well as plenty of advice and guidance on getting it done right. The more resourceful you are here, the more you can save on those expensive contractor bills.

Consider Plant Types

Giving close consideration to the types of plants you will use can also save a lot of money and hassle in the end. Are the plants disease-prone or are they hearty and do well without much attention? Do they need to be continually replanted? If insect control is a costly problem, perhaps consider one of the many plants that drive away these costly pests for free. The point here is to know each plant variety so as to be advantageous as possible when selecting.

Manage Waste On-Site

Finally, you can really save on costs by handling waste from the project on-site, without the need for outside waste services. By breaking up limbs and debris you can distribute this waste into several, normal weekly trash pickups, or even create a compost heap. Composting provides valuable soil amendment material for future lawn work, saving time and money later.

The common theme here though is just to be involved. The more involved you are, the less likely it is that your wallet and backyard will leave you feeling disappointed when the project is all said and done.

This guest post is written by Kara Masterson, a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.