How do I choose a landscaper?

Learn when to hire a landscaper and how to hire the right one.
While a landscape architect is responsible for the design and layout of gardens, parks and other outdoor spaces for large or commercial properties, a landscaper tends to work more with homeowners.

So if your landscaping needs are simple —repairing a damaged lawn, mulching, trimming trees and bushes or adding a few plants or shrubs — go with a landscaper rather than an architect.

Here's some suggestions to find a landscaper that suits your needs.

Solicit suggestions
If friends or family can't offer a name, ask your local garden center or nursery to refer someone. Be sure to check their reviews on Kudzu.

Learn their background
Ask about their training, education, and experience. A horticultural background matters since the potential exists to do more harm than good to your landscape, lawn and environment. Also, make sure they are bonded and insured.

Review their work
Check references and view previous job sites. Don't hesitate to ask former clients about the work done and the working relationship.

What's the process?
Find out how the landscaper game plans your project, so you'll know what to expect. Let him know what you expect. Ask what chemicals or pesticides, if any, might be used? Are the chemicals kid or pet friendly?

Shop around
Prices vary.

Work out a timetable
Know that the better landscapers are in demand and may not be able to accommodate you immediately. It can be worth the wait. If your landscape project must be implemented by a set date, be sure the company knows this and builds in extra time for delays. Understand that the weather is a factor and may cause unavoidable delays.

Get it in writing
A written contract protects all parties. Make sure it specifies what you want done, the estimated costs, date of completion and what you expect from the landscaping company.

Don't sign a contract for more than you need
Do you want them to maintain your lawn after the work is done or will you take it over? Do you only want a design that you may implement? Decide what works best for you and be up front about your intentions.

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