Spring has arrived, at long last, here in the northern hemisphere so it’s undoubtedly time to start thinking about getting your yard in shape. Is this the year for new landscaping you ask yourself? Well, if so here’s a few tips before signing on with the first landscaping company that catches your eye.
Do you know what you want? A healthy lawn or something much more such as stonework, a patio, a raised garden or even an Asian garden? These are just the beginning of the questions you’ll need to be able to answer before calling in the pros.
Are you looking for a full-service company or one that merely offers landscaping maintenance? Many specialized landscaping companies simply do not have the resources to design and implement a full plan from scratch.
Another question is which philosophy best describes your vision? Are you looking for the best price or best quality? Perhaps a little of both? There’s also the question of best possible service.
Once you’ve answered these questions there are several more (in no particular order) that you’ll need to consider in respect to all prospective landscape companies:
How long has the company been in business? This may not seem like an essential question but it’s important that the company you decide to work with has the necessary experience and staff for your project. The last thing you need is a company that oversells it’s abilities.
Is the company bonded and fully insured? Insurance in case of unforeseen accidents only makes sense when it’s your money and property at stake.
What is the level of speciality within the company’s staff? Do they employ professionals who have a proven track record for getting the job done? Also, be sure to ask if the company specializes in certain styles such as low-maintenance gardens or hardscaping.
What is the company’s level of attention to any one particular project? Will they stay focused until completion? You can’t assume you are the company’s sole customer (in fact that would be a very bad sign). Be sure to ask for a realistic timetable and expected completion date.
Asking for a drawn rendering of the expected finished project is a good idea and useful thing to have. In most cases this should be done during the bid process and customarily incurs a fee. So long as you can keep the rendering this is not a bad thing as you can use it with other companies if you choose to pass on this one. Also, be sure to ask for images of finished projects so you can get a better idea of their design style.
Does the work come with some type of guarantee? A reputable landscaping company should be willing to guarantee the quality of their work. Two years is standard but longer is preferred.
Be sure you ask for a written estimate and, from whichever company you choose expect a written contract so there are no misunderstandings over the project or the expected finish date.
As you can see, spring prep can be an arduous process. But so long as you do your homework and make your preparations well in advance this will be an enjoyable experience. But most importantly, remember that anyone can tell you what you want to hear when they want your business, so be sure you completely understand the process before you engage them in the job.