Although we live in a do-it-yourself culture, there are sometimes when it pays to hire a professional. Landscaping can be a perfect example of this. A quality landscaper will have equipment, know how, design skills, and talents to transform your property into a living show piece.
Landscaping can be complicated and labor intensive. It can require specialized tools and equipment. Landscaping is also an art, and the experts have a strong understanding of good design, composition and aesthetics that allows them to make the most of any piece of land. Professional landscapers also possess voluminous knowledge about various plants, grasses and trees that assists them in making the best possible decisions for any given job.
Try as we might, we can’t, as amateurs, produce the breathtaking results that a professional landscaper can. Thus, if we need serious landscaping help, it makes sense to call in the expert. That part of the decision calculus is relatively easy. Once we decide to hire a pro, however, another question emerges: how can we choose the right landscaper. Let’s look at a few helpful hints that can point those in need of professional landscaping assistance in the right direction.
First, don’t let cost make your decision. We have a natural inclination toward bargain hunting, but the old maxim “you get what you pay for” is often true. A cut-rate provider may keep your wallet thick, but the grass could turn out thin and brown. Cost is always a consideration, but one should not compromise the integrity of their landscaping project in order to save a few dollars.
Second, ask for reference and then take a look. Get references from prospective landscapers and then take the time to actually follow up on them. Take a personal look at their handiwork and see what you think about the quality of their efforts. Talk to former customers about the landscaper’s ability to get work done on time and other important considerations. Your landscaper will be making potentially permanent changes to your property. Take the extra effort required to make sure those changes will be positive.
Third, call appropriate agencies. Check with the Better Business Bureau and other consumer watch dogs and find out whether the landscaper in question has been the subject of any complaints or valid criticisms. This is not a foolproof way to weed out sub par options, but if you find that a prospective contractor is a magnet for consumer complaints, it only makes sense to think twice before hiring them.
Fourth, talk about the project. Before making a decision, spend time on the property discussing the project with the landscaper. Get a feel for his or her vision of the project and find out whether or not he or she is receptive to your ideas and capable of meeting your specific needs. The fact that a landscaper did a wonderful job on a modern commercial property doesn’t necessarily demonstrate an ability to handle the yard of your restored Victorian home, after all. Make sure you have found the right person for the job.
Following these recommendations won’t necessarily guarantee landscaping success, but doing so will improve your odds of hiring the right landscaper considerably. Remember not to cut corners, to check references, to consult with consumer agencies, and to have a meaningful discussion or two about the project in order to assess whether a specific landscaper is the right person for the job.
Landscaping may not always be a do-it-yourself project, but that doesn’t mean you have to rely on the first professional you find in the Yellow Pages. Take the time to find the right landscaper for you!