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Landscaping Ideas and Resources

alt5 Tips for Choosing the Right Landscaping Services Contractor

You made sure that your house is how you always dreamed it to be and in your opinion, it is the most beautiful in the neighborhood. But how come your neighbor’s house seems to be more admired than yours? The difference may actually be - landscaping!

Well-designed lawns and gardens, especially ones that are done by professional landscaping companies, can transform even ordinary-looking properties into things of beauty! Not only that, landscaping also improves outdoor living areas, saves money and greatly enhances the value of any property. For commercial establishments, beautiful landscapes, installed and maintained by professional landscaping companies, are good selling points that are proven to boost profits.

Plants, trees and shrubs add color, texture and height as well as privacy. Landscaping will significantly increase the resale value of your house or building.  Invest in the landscape of your dreams and you will reap far more benefits than those already mentioned. Some other benefits of landscapes done by professional landscaping companies include:

  • Reduced energy consumption. According to he US Department of Energy, landscaping can dramatically reduce household energy consumption by as much as 25%. Carefully selected and positioned plants and trees can lessen the need for cooling and heating equipments. One particular study estimated that an average household can actually save from $100 to $200 in annual energy costs.
  • Boost in sales. The College of Forest Resources of the University of Washington did a survey of one southern community on the effects of landscaping to business. Results showed that 74% of the respondents patronized commercial establishments that had plants, trees and other landscaping. Another survey done by the same college but now covered eight US cities rated retail shopping districts visually. As expected, high marks were given to commercial establishments with orderly and well-maintained trees and landscapes.

Aside from these economic benefits, the positive effect of plants and vegetation to health and psyche are well-known and cannot be challenged.

The problem now is how to choose the best landscaper for the job. This task seems daunting at first, what with the plethora of landscaping companies that exist today. But if you follow the tips discussed below, you will be assured that in the end, you made the right choice.

Tip #1 – Know your goals

Come to think of it, aside from aesthetics, there are plenty of other reasons why people hire a landscaper – make a good impression; create fanciful outdoor recreation areas such as swimming pools, fountains and gazebos; attract birds; attract customers or tenants or simply to create a place of respite and relaxation after a stressful day at the office. Once you know your goals, match these with the right landscaper. When you are ready to invest your time and money on this project, then choose a landscaper, who will sit down with you and transform your goals and ideas into solid landscape plans. 

Tip #2 – Deal only with experienced and professional landscaping companies

Actually, there are different types of contractors:  small and independent contractors and large design/build firms offering comprehensive landscaping design services.  Professional landscaping companies can also be categorized as lawn care companies, landscaping design firms and landscaping maintenance firms. Whatever your goals are, deal only with skilled professionals rather than inexperienced landscaping companies. Here is a checklist with some points to consider when making your choice:

  • Check the company’s record by getting in touch with the Local Business Bureau.
  • Make sure that the company or its staff is a member of a professional organization such as the American Society of Landscape Architects or the American Nursery and Landscape Association.
  • Longevity is the key. Ask how long they have been in the landscaping business and if they have the proper licensing and certification.
  • Ask for a portfolio of past projects. If possible, view them personally.
  • Competent and reliable landscaping companies provide guarantees on their work and products. This value-added service is a good point of comparison when choosing which landscaper to hire.
  • Another good source of information are latest consumer surveys that rate professional landscaping companies according to prices, confidence and reliability. 

Tip # 3 – Trust word of mouth

It does not hurt to ask around. Talk to your friends and family or visit your local nursery and ask for referrals. A good reputation is one sure gauge of a landscaper’s skills and abilities. Be wary of testimonials only contained on the websites of landscaping companies and be sure to talk with at least a few of them directly.

Tip #4 – Do your homework

It pays to do your homework. Make a list of possible candidates and trim it down as you go along by using the checklist above (tip #2) and mark those, which were referred to you. Another major consideration is cost. Different companies have different rates. Your goal is to get the best service for the best price. Stay away from landscaping companies with ridiculously cheap rates because more often than not, they will do a lousy job. Most of these firms are desperate for customers, driving them to lower their rates way below the industry standards. Trust only landscaping companies with highly trained experts such as landscape architects and designers.

Tip #5 – Good working relationship

The personal qualities of a professional landscaper are:

  • Creative
  • Has good communication skills
  • Courteous 

Are you comfortable talking to him or just being around him. It is impossible to communicate your ideas, goals, priorities, needs and budget if you feel uneasy just being around him. In other words, you must build a good working relationship with him. Remember, when you hire a landscaping company, you may not deal with just one person but a crew of workmen. These people will be spending a significant amount of time around your house, yourself and members of your family. 

Landscaping is a worthwhile endeavor and choosing the right landscaper is essential for its success. Professional landscaping companies have the skills and expertise to design, install and maintain your dream landscape, no matter how complex it is.

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