With so many factors that play a role, selecting the best landscaper for your lawn needs can be tricky.
What isn’t tricky is the value Americans place on professional landscaping services, with most people saying it’s important their yards are well-maintained. according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Landscape Professionals.
Among the 2,034 U.S. adults surveyed, 67 percent agree that professional landscape help would allow them to have a nicer yard.
“Our members dedicate their lives to helping homeowners keep their yards and outdoor spaces healthy and inviting,” says the organization’s CEO Sabeena Hickman. “The survey results show how deeply Americans value their yards and value professional help to maintain it.”
Knowing you need a landscaper is a good starting point. Figuring out how to select the right one for the job is the next step.
Before asking potential landscapers questions about your project, you should probably ask yourself some first.
Jon Zalewski, business development manager of Professional Grounds in Lorton, Virginia, suggests you determine your landscape wants and needs. If you’re solely interested in a healthy lawn and don’t require additional landscape services, it may be best to seek a company specializing in residential lawn services.
A modest landscaping budget doesn’t mean your lawn has to look like you cut corners on it.
Full-service vs. maintenance landscape company
If you’re interested in having design or installation work done, however, you may need to find a full-service landscape company. Many companies specialize in lawn maintenance and may not have all the resources to design and implement a plan from scratch.
Jen Kloter, landscape designer at Bahler Brothers in South Windsor, Connecticut, says there is a saying in the business world that people are looking for three things: best price, best quality and best service.
If you knew that you could only have two of the three options, which two are the most important?
Now that you’ve asked yourself the important questions, it’s time to find the right company.
Here are seven questions landscaping professionals suggest you ask any company when interviewing them.
Make sure you have at least a basic plan in mind before talking to a landscaper. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Carol K. of Santa Ynez, California)
1. Are you bonded and fully insured?
It’s often the first question you should ask anyone who does work in or around your home.
It’s especially true for landscapers, who might be moving heavy plants and trees, as well as operating machinery on your property.
2. How long have you been in business?
Make sure the contractor you hire has the experience, manpower and skill to handle your project. You don’t want to hire a company that will offer more than it can deliver.
A long-standing company will usually have an office and a website.
3. Do you have industry specialists on staff?
Crews that can install plants and sod are great, but you may need an arborist when dealing with trees.
Horticulturists also are helpful when placing plants and knowing what works best in particular regions of the country.
The main benefit of living in a home with a small yard is you’ll spend little to no time dealing with lawn upkeep.
4. Will you stay on my project until completion?
Don’t assume you are the company’s only customer. Get a clear timetable for the completion of your lawn project so you aren’t waiting around with a half-finished front yard while work is being done at someone else’s home.
5. Can you provide a drawing of your plans?
A drawing is the best way to be sure you can envision what a landscaper proposes. Ask each bidder to provide a design sketch.
They may charge a fee if you want to keep it, but they should at least be able to let you see it. In addition, ask for photos of projects they’ve done that are similar to what you want.
Make an informed decision when preparing to fence your yard so that your choice will fit the needs of your yard, family and lifestyle.
6. What’s your guarantee?
Reputable landscaping contractors should be willing to guarantee their work for at least two years, preferably five. Ask about separate warranties for plants.
The paver and wall installation industry recommends that contractors guarantee their work for at least two years. Many companies are able to give a five-year warranty.
7. What installation process will be used?
This can actually be broken down into a few categories: how they are going to build your project, what materials they will build with and what equipment they will use.
Landscaping companies should have some standard building practices and construction details for how they build each type of project.
Written by Jason Hargraves
Jason is a former writer for Angie’s List. He hails from Texas, but he’s spent the past decade living in and covering Washington D.C. This article originally posted on July 7, 2015 on Angie’s List.