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How to Choose a Landscape Contractor

Dec 15, 2008 | Gardens

How to Choose a Landscape Contractor
by Jamie Newell

A landscape company that has a design staff is the best way to approach any landscape project. If you need something small like drainage and grading or a larger project such as an outdoor entertainment area, it is always a good idea to talk to a designer first. By consulting with an experienced designer, you will have the advantage of seeing the big picture. This will ensure that the completed task will fit nicely with the rest of your garden.

A design/build company will provide strong communication between the designer who made the arrangements and the workers who will install the project. If something unforeseen should arise, the designer can make on site changes to the project without delaying the job. There is nothing more frustrating than having two different companies blaming each other for something that was overlooked.

The first challenge is to find a good designer with a solid company to back them up. You might start by asking a friend or neighbor with a nice garden whom they would recommend. After you have chosen a well established company, it would be wise to see examples of their work and check their references. Stay away from a salesperson that is high pressure or doesn’t spend time exploring different options with you. Choose someone who listens to your needs, asks the right questions, and understands the problem. Look for a designer that can communicate their ideas well.

The next step depends on the nature of the project. If it’s a small or simple job a well written proposal is important to be sure everything discussed is included. If the job is large or complicated have a design prepared. A professional drawing may add cost but it can save a lot of headaches down the road. Whether you get a full scale rendering or a quick sketch, make sure the plan solves the problem and will look nice from season to season.

Once you have a qualified designer backed up by a reputable company with a good design, make sure the proposal is broken down in a way that you can see how much each task will cost. This will help you decide how to move forward in a budget conscious way and get the most for your investment. Be sure the agreement spells out a timetable for completion, payment schedule, specific walTanties, and the right to cancel.

Landscaping is a great investment for your property.  When you decide to renovate your garden, make sure you choose the right company.  Make sure the company is licensed, in good standing with the Better Business Bureau, and has good references.  Before the project begins, have a good plan and a clearly written contract.  Make sure the designer will be on the job to supervise the installation team.  Be thorough before the job starts and you will end up with a garden that will grow nicely and stand up to the test of time.

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