When it comes time to landscape your home, you basically have two options. You could spend a few weekends doing the landscaping yourself, or you could hire a landscaping contractor to take care of the work for you. While many homeowners go the DIY route in an effort to save money, hiring a pro may be more beneficial than you know. Here are three often-overlooked benefits of hiring a professional landscaping contractor.

1. Water and Energy Efficiency

Landscaping contractors don't just choose pretty plants and put them in the soil. They take energy and water needs into consideration when selecting plants for their clients. They might place certain taller shrubs against the side of your home that gets the most sun in order to reduce heat transfer. Your contractor can also use plants that have lower water demands, which will reduce the amount of water you need to use for irrigation. With fresh water in limited supply, this is a smart choice for the environment and for your finances.

2. Usability

Your landscaping contractor will also ask you how you plan to use your yard so they can design the landscaping to suit those specific needs. This will make your yard more useable. For example, if you do a lot of grilling, they can create a concrete pad where you can place your grill, and they can keep tall plants away from that area to reduce the risk of a fire spreading. If you have kids who like to play catch in the yard, they can recommend a stronger, more rugged turf grass so it does not get torn up. Even little measures, like choosing plants with sturdy stems that won't break as easily if hit by a baseball, make a big difference.

3. Coordinated Design

Landscaping should reflect the style of the home itself. For example, if you have a Craftsman home with really clean lines and natural materials, you want a landscape with similar simplicity. A landscaping contractor will create a full design for your landscape before they start planting anything. This allows them to plan the color, design, and layout of the space, creating a balanced look. With a coordinated landscape design, your home's curb appeal will improve, which will raise the value of your home if you ever decide to sell it.

While doing your own landscaping may be cheap, hiring a pro is worth more than you know — and may be a smarter choice in the long run.