How to hire a landscaping company: 9 questions to ask before booking an appointment

Your home is your palace, so why not give it a little extra curb appeal? A landscaping company can transform...

Your home is your palace, so why not give it a little extra curb appeal? A landscaping company can transform your Southern yard into an extension of your living space. From decks and patios, to gardens and trees, your yard makeover awaits. But before you book an appointment, ask your potential landscapers a few key questions about their businesses.

1. What types of services do you offer?
If you assume that landscapers simply add flowers and trees to yards, you're missing out. Start by asking potential landscapers what types of services they offer. This will spark new ideas and ways to transform your yard into a beautiful living space.

In addition to adding greenery, landscapers do hardscaping. They can build patios, brick walkways and rock gardens. These options are perfect around swimming pools or for low-maintenance lawns.

Landscaping companies also offer systems to help maintain their work. Sprinklers, water irrigation, the addition of wells and pumps, and installing drainage tile are offered by large landscaping companies.

2. Do you offer routine lawn maintenance?
Probably the number one thing landscapers are known for is routine lawn maintenance. Some larger companies only specialize in lawn makeovers and leave the routine tasks to newer companies.

If you're looking for a company to do weed trimming, lawn mowing, edging, fertilizing, weed control and watering, specifically ask if they offer these services; don't assume.

3. What uncommon lawn services do you offer?
If you've called one of the larger landscaping companies in the Atlanta area, they may offer some extensive landscaping options. If you're looking to make over a large lawn, ask if the company installs decorative ponds, swimming pools or other waterscaping such as fountains and decorative waterfalls.

Do you spend evenings outside? Consider having a landscaper add outdoor lighting. From recessed lighting in walkways to decorative yard lamps, there are dozens of ways to add a beautiful glow to your lawn after dark.

Landscapers can also build decorative retaining walls and remove unwanted tree stumps.

4. Do you build decks and patios?
Some landscape companies offer outdoor building services, such as wood or composite decks and patios. If the company offers this service, ask if they do the work themselves, or if they subcontract to a construction company. If they subcontract, do your homework about the other company before making any decisions. Are they reliable? Is their work of a high quality? Ask for more references to see exactly what their decks and patios look like.

5. Do you guarantee your work?
After learning about the variety of services available, make sure the company will stand behind their work. Find out if they will replace greenery if it dies within a specific period of time. Or, will they maintenance and warranty sprinkler systems? Get all of this information in writing when you sign a contract for services. This is also a great time to make sure the landscapers carry insurance while they work on your property.

6. Do you offer free quotes?
OK, so now you're thinking a landscaper can improve your yard. But, how much is this adventure going to cost? Ask the potential companies if they will come over, look over your space and offer a free bid.

Quotes will range in price depending on what services you request. Ask each company to clearly itemize the quote so you can compare the costs of similar services among various providers. For example, one might specialize in brick work, and offer this service at a much lower cost than other companies.

7. How do you bill your services?
Since landscapers offer both one-time and routine maintenance services, it's important to ask about billing.

For large projects--such as designing a new garden or installing a brick driveway--expect to pay a deposit up front and the balance when the project is complete. Routine services, such as lawn fertilization, mowing, aerating and shrub trimming will likely be billed monthly, quarterly or on an annual basis.

8. Do you offer a list of references?
Before giving one of the companies the go-ahead, ask to see some samples of their work. Some landscapers carry a list of references with them, a brochure of photos or snapshots of work completed in your area.

Take the time to drive around your neighborhood and look at the addresses provided by the landscaper. Take note: Does the lawn look healthy, does the landscaping look maintained and do you like the designs of the garden areas?

9. When do I need a landscaper?
Even if you consider yourself a weekend DIY warrior, some projects are best left to a professional. If you're not sure if a landscaper can do a better job than you, ask yourself the following:

  • Do I have the equipment to complete this project?
  • Do I have the strength to move the building materials?
  • Have I done this type of project before?
  • Do I have enough people to finish this project in a timely manner?

Ready to do your research? Give an Atlanta-based landscaping company a call today.

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