Exterior work begins with a flurry of activity. The siding crew gets a good start at ground level, then set up scaffolding as they work their way up. The painters can follow right behind if the siding needs painted/stained.
Once those jobs are done, the landscaping can start. Don't begin landscaping until most of the exterior jobs are done so the crews won't be tromping around in the new flower beds or tearing up the lawn.
Siding & Trim
Depending on whose bid you accept, the carpenters, framers, or a siding crew could do the siding and trim jobs. We chose the same crew that framed the house to do the siding and trim work.
They used scaffolding to speed up work on the high gable ends. But the architect's trim package was fairly extensive -- with frieze boards, banding and curved trim on the archtop windows. So it took a few days to move around the house.
Along with the trim, the crew installed the cedar lap siding. So as they moved around the house, they knocked off a few jobs each time they set up.
They first stapled up the housewrap to seal off the sheathing. Then, after putting up the trim and flashing, they'd put on the siding, starting at the bottom and working their way up to the banding.
The painters worked inside while the carpenters worked outside. But whenever the carpenters finished a section of trim, they'd send someone out to finish it with stain.
It's often more efficient to have all the painting/staining done once the trim and siding are done. However, the painters were on-site anyway and actually saved us a day on the schedule.
While the siding/trim crew was out front, the painters got done inside and started brushing on stain around back. We decided on a dark brown stain and were happy with the results, but it's a fairly high maintenance type of finish.
We can expect to be renewing the stain every three years or so, compared to 7 to 10 years for the average exterior paint finish. The painters then switched to a grayish-colored stain on the gable ends to complete their work outside.
Our painters used premium products for both the clear finish and the paint. That's usually part of their bid. You can use a less expensive product to keep costs down, but premium paints cover better and go on smoother than budget brands, so the painters can move faster and sometimes save putting on an extra coat.
The landscaping schedule is pretty cut and dried. The heavy equipment crews come in to do the hardscape: grade the yard and driveway, dig any culverts, and install retaining walls.
Hardscape features also include subgrading for patios and walkways. The gravel base goes down first and the concrete, stone, or pavers go on top of that.
This causes another schedule juggling act of waiting to call those crews in after the other subs are done outside so they don't block each other off. So plan on the other subs using a different entry for a couple days.
The final step in landscaping is planting the softscape. Our landscaping sub set out the trees, shrubs and perennials we chose with the main bed around a series of boulders embedded in the slope.
The landscape work seems to go in all at once. We had a really good contractor for that but we had to stay on-site to consider some details like how far the planting beds should set out from the foundation and where the lawn should start.
NOTE: Before the dirt crew starts grooming the yard, clean up as much construction debris as possible. Wood pieces that get buried can promote termite infestation.