While the cost of design, materials and installation are important, the real measure of your investment comes during the lifetime of using and maintaining your landscape. Poor design and material selection at the start of a project will cost far more time and money to maintain and correct in the long run than would a carefully considered, cut-no-corners approach.
BUYER BEWARE: Installation firms sometimes present prospective clients with a too good-to-be-true estimate. Often, the devil is in the details of the installation. Beware of corner-cutting that may seem to save you money today, but that will cost far more in repair and replacement in the long term. Subgrade and base preparation and other unseen areas are where cutting corners can occur. A year or so later, uneven settlement, leaning/collapsed walls, gaping/shifting pavers, drainage problems and other installation failures will remind you why too-good-to-be-true is usually just that.