Taking time to hire a reputable landscape contractor can assure that you get quality work for a fair price. The Washington Association of Landscape Professionals offers the following tips when looking for a contractor:
- Hire only a licensed contractor. Your options include:
- A Landscape Architect. A professional who can develop plans that can be put out to bid by landscape contractors.
- A Design/Build Landscape Contractor. A professional who can design and then create your landscape .
- Landscape Designers. Individuals which provide ideas, conceptual plans, and planting plans.
Be sure that anyone you hire carries worker’s compensation and liability insurance.
Consumers are also encouraged to select a contractor who has earned his Certified landscape Technician (CLT) and/or Certified Landscape Professional (CLP) designation. These certifications exemplify our members’ dedication to professionalism.
Decide what types of work you want done: Landscape construction, maintenance, irrigation, etc. It is also helpful to ask the question, “Why Are You Landscaping?” To increase your property value? To enhance your enjoyment of your property? To save energy or water? To provide a safe environment for your children or pets? The first step toward a professional landscape is to clearly identify what purposes the landscape must serve.
Determine your budget. The cost of your project will varying, depending on:
- The overall size of the area to be landscaped,
- The features to be included,
- The state of the current terrain, and
- The choices you make regarding materials, details, and level of craftsmanship.
- An estimate is a good “guess” as to what a project will cost. For a firm price a contractor will need a design. You should expect to pay for design services.
Meet with prospective firms and review their portfolios. Ask for references and check them.
It’s a good idea to obtain more than one bid so that the prices and work offered can be compared, such as plants, soil, mulch, edging, etc. Request all bids in writing. Remember that the lowest price may not always be the best. The contractor may have made a mistake or may not have included all the work quoted by competitors. Be certain that each bid lists all the preparatory and finish work that the contractor has suggested.
Make sure you understand any contract before signing it. Do not make down payments before signing a contract.