Spring is upon you and you’re at your local big box garden center wandering the aisles looking at all the shrubs, trees, flowers, and garden supplies and it suddenly hits you. You have absolutely no idea what you’re doing! Your neighbor’s yard looks great while yours looks like a candidate for the next episode of Curb Appeal. As a matter of fact, your yard is bringing down the property values of the entire neighborhood (and probably the next one over, too). If this sounds like you, you need help NOW!
Never fear, your superhero is on the way! No, he (or she, let’s not be sexist here) won’t show up on your front lawn wearing blue tights and a cape – and if he does, you’ll probably want to keep looking – but your landscaper can help you solve a myriad of garden and lawn troubles easily. But minus tights and cape, how do you know you’ve got a superhero and not a villain in disguise? Use this handy guide to come out smelling like a rose when hiring quality landscaping services.
It’s no secret that the outside is just as important as the inside when it comes to adding value to your home. Landscaping is the first thing anyone notices upon visiting your home. If your yard looks like an abandoned lot it’s not going to inspire much confidence on the condition of the inside of your home. But let’s face it; we all have limited time and knowledge. If gardening isn’t your thing, then the right landscaper or garden coach can help you get the results you want. So how to begin?
- Needs and Wants – the first step to hiring the right service for your yard is to know what you want. Are you looking for someone to cut the grass, trim the bushes, and spread fertilizer? You might not need a landscaper if maintaining a lawn is your only goal. But if you need to build retaining walls, design a garden plan, or determine the right plants for your unique soil or light conditions then consulting someone with more knowledge is probably a good idea. Before you start searching the yellow pages, you’ll need to have a good idea of what you need help with and how much you’re willing to pay to get it done. You’ll also want to make sure you’re getting the right help. Do you need a landscape architect, a landscape designer, a garden coach, consultant, or the free help of a master gardener?
- Get Recommendations – Jealous of your neighbor’s yard? Ask them who they use. Getting recommendations from people you trust or who have great yards is invaluable when it comes to getting what you need for yourself. Remember, the work speaks for itself so ask around. Pay special attention to yards that look terrible even though you’ve seen crews out working. You’ll want to avoid those companies. You’re trying to weed out the good from the bad so paying attention to attractive landscaping as well as not so stellar work is important.Know
- Your Timeline – Once the growing season is in full swing, getting a quality landscaper in a hurry might be difficult. So, if you’re trying to spruce up your curb appeal before the in-laws come a knocking, you need to give your landscaper plenty of notice.
- Check References – Once you’ve narrowed down the pool of landscaping companies to a select few ask for references. Good landscaping companies will keep records of previous clients and may even have a portfolio of work that they’ve done to look at. But don’t take their word for it, do the legwork and check those references. Check with your local Better, Business, Bureau as well.
- Check Insurance and Licenses – You want to make sure that your landscaper is licensed for any technical work you want done. Ending up with fines or having the homeowner’s association ask you to redo the work is a pain. You want your landscaper to be proper insurance or you could be liable for any injuries that happen on your property.
- Read the Fine Print – Once you’ve chosen a landscaping service, read the contract for fine print. Some contracts will have hidden charges for maintenance and upkeep or other unusual charges that could creep up on you. Know what you’re getting and what you’ll end up paying for before signing.
If you’ve done your due diligence in following these steps and chosen a quality landscaping service, you should be ready to start growing. You want your home to look its best and, if you’ve got a good one, so does your landscaper. After all, it’s their work.
Peter Wayne is a creative blogger as well as a landscaping expert. He regularly writes articles on new landscaping ideas and designs.