After lengthy deliberation, you’ve finally completed your site plan and established your vision for the perfect backyard. Now you’re faced with the sometimes challenging task of bringing your landscape design to life. Landscape contractors deal with the construction of landscaping features, including the soil and vegetation of your plantings and softscapes, as well as the fences, patios, and walkways defining your hardscapes. Hiring the right landscape contractor involves selecting the highest quality, timeliest, reliable, and cost-effective option. You should be prepared, however, to consider an assortment of additional factors in order to make the best decision.
Why hire at all?
Tackling your landscape alone will require plenty of time as well as a rare skill set and understanding of soil and plant types, design techniques, paver and retaining wall installation knowledge, and aesthetics. Certain types of outdoor work, such as plumbing and electrical installation, can require specific licensing while your construction may call for a building permit – all of which a landscape contractor is trained to handle on your behalf. Certain aspects of the project, such as retaining wall installation, can cause significant damage to your property and your family if done incorrectly, causing it to fail later on. Sticking with professionals with the necessary know-how is essential. Contractors possess the specialized equipment that you would have to source yourself and can provide you with the most realistic cost estimates. There is no need to DIY when landscape contractors are an easier, safer, and affordable alternative.
Landscape Architect or Design/Build Company
If the residential landscaping project is very large, hiring a landscape architect may be a viable option. A landscape architect will not only translate your dream into a site plan, but can also steward the hiring of an installation contractor. They will collect cost estimates and recommend the best company to you, however, the final decision will remain in your hands. Landscape architects often have existing relationships with trusted contractors and their involvement in the construction administration of your project will place them in a convenient position to provide further advice throughout the building process, for example, if an inaccessible type of stone paver needed to be substituted.
Another popular hiring choice for homeowners today is landscape design/build companies. These types of firms will handle both the design plans and the installation with their staff designers and installation crews. This type of company is popular as it provides a single point of contact and can reduce costs overall.
Ask Around for Referrals
Focus your search on local companies and ask your friends, neighbors, and local material supply yards for referrals. Check your candidate’s credentials thoroughly to ensure that they are licensed and insured and request a portfolio of their past work. Scale has a large influence on the nature of a building project, so make sure that they have had experience with similarly sized projects. The saying ‘no news is good news’ does not apply to client testimonies and you should ensure that your desired company has enough positive feedback by past clients. Opt for a company that has been in business long enough to have the manpower and experience your project needs and verify that they are in good standing with the professional organizations they claim to be involved in. For landscape construction, hardscape knowledge and certifications are important things to look for. Learn more how hiring a Unilock Authorized Contractor can help you secure a guarantee on both your pavers and retaining wall products as well as the installation.
Follow the carbon footprints
The materials and methods used by your contractor will determine the environmental impact of your project overall. Discuss the sustainability of the company’s building practices and inquire about permeable paver options for your project. Companies that use easily accessible natural stone or concrete pavers and locally sourced lumber reduce their carbon footprint by dodging exorbitant transportation. Allowing your green thumb to guide your decision will narrow your options further.
Get a guarantee
Most landscaping contractors should guarantee their work to last for at least two years. You should also opt for a contractor that guarantees against elements of your landscape construction breaking or plants failing to bloom. A landscape contractor can, for example, agree to perform periodic checks to ensure that the project is well-maintained and the garden is healthy. Protect your project by requesting an in-depth exposition on how to maintain the elements installed. The Unilock Authorized Contractor Program is a great solution for homeowners as it offers protection on both the products used and the installation of the hardscaping.
Settle the specifics
Ensure that the contractor’s proposed timeline is agreeable, keeping in mind that certain structures such as patios and koi ponds require excavation and will take slightly longer. Any landscape contractor worth their salt will want to examine your property before committing to any cost or time estimates. A contractor may hire specialty artisans to complete certain elements of the project such as pool and pond installation, irrigation and specialty work with certain materials. Request detailed information on these ‘subcontractors’ if any will be used to ensure that they are adequately qualified.