Welcome to HELP-U-SCAPE. My name is Joe and I am a Cal Berkeley trained Landscape Architect and former landscape contractor of nearly 40 years.
I started HELP-U-SCAPE with the goal of using my considerable knowledge and experience to help people achieve their dream of creating a beautiful, outdoor living environment, at a fraction of the cost.
I started my first full service landscape company here in Nevada City in 1977, for ten years then took it to Santa Barbara for almost thirty, & have returned to live & work in this amazing place that I love so much! The key to the Help-u-scape concept is very simple, the overwhelming majority of cost of any above board landscape project is labor, & finding good people never mind dealing with the onerous & burdensome beaurocracy has become nothing short of a fools errand. Couple that with the fact that at a young sixty two, full of energy, & loaded to the gills with knowledge & experience in literarily every aspect of landscaping ( please check out the Services Page ) helping folks landscape became the logical/ natural result.
My service assumes the homeowner or small businesses person acting as their own contractor, & providing their own labor which is perfectly legal. You can as many folks choose to do these days apply your own sweat equity, with family and friends, or in fact hire whomever you chose. With my help / step by step guidance ( more details below ) you will be not only spared the standard pitfalls of a " do it yourselfer " you in fact will complete your landscape project, big or small, with nothing less than Simply Beautiful results, saving as much as 50% off standard bid prices!
Exactly how it Works & what it Costs
I can do as little or as much as your individual project, budget or you like. I normally chat with you on the phone then come out & spend as much time as it takes to listen to what you want & need. All of that plus putting together an estimate for my services are FREE! At that point I offer anything from a simple placement sketch with varying degrees of involvement right up to full management & oversight of your project. How much of my time that is needed is determined during this getting to know one another period, also I normally submit several references for you to check, as well as pictures of my past work ( there are a few on the homepage of this site ) I prefer to work with at a ' flat fee ' instead of by the hour ( although that can be done if you prefer ) this a very important part of my approach here, which is to act in your best interest regarding all facets of the project but most importantly budget, & what my experience as a project manager has reveled is that it is much better / easier to stay at or below budget with ' set costs ' That's right- all through the job I will constantly be looking & negotiating for the best possible prices for the highest quality work ( subcontractors as needed ) & materials. This is the core of the Help-u-scape concept, rather then the standard contractor relationship, in which the contractor does better the more you spend, I do better the less you spend. It's about time, I like it, & hope you do to!
A word about contractors, as a former / reformed one. Many if not most are very good & honestly take pride in their work. I am not out to put anyone down, I am just exercising my right to offer what I know to be a valuable service at this point in time given the way things really are!