We Know: Tips Before You Hire a Landscape Contractor

What is a landscape contractor?

A landscape contractor, working either with a landscaping firm or through self-employment, is a professional who builds new landscapes or remodels old ones for private properties, parks and other public areas. Landscape contractors often work under a landscape architect, who designs the landscaping plan. Sometimes these two position titles are often used interchangeably.

What do landscape contractors do?

Landscape contractors build new landscapes on properties and remodel existing ones. They do this by grading, placing new sod, planting trees, flowers and other plant life and providing initial maintenance of the land.

What should I know before hiring a landscape contractor?

Hiring a landscape contractor is a big decision. However, before taking the plunge and looking for a contractor, it is a good idea to answer the following questions before proceeding:

  • Landscape Type: What type of landscape do you want? Would you like to drastically change your landscape or only make small adjustments? Knowing the types of plant life you'd prefer and a general layout will be helpful when approaching professionals for the project.
  • Upkeep: How much work is required in order to maintain your new landscape once it is completed? Do some research on flower types and landscape designs and what is required to keep them in good condition. You may find your dream landscape will just need too much upkeep. If this is the case, a landscape contractor may be able to advise you on a more manageable design, or you can hire contract maintenance.
  • Budget: Before calling up a landscape contractor for hire, do your research and come up with an average price for the type of landscaping job you require. Next, decide on a budget that is sensible for your means. Modifications to your plans may be necessary in order to fit within budget.

What should I consider when hiring a landscape contractor?

Once your plans are set, hiring a landscape contractor is the next logical choice. When deciding which contractor is best for you, your budget and your project, also consider these points:

  • Reputation: Be sure to visit the contractor's office or place of business before hiring them. Likewise, ask for references. Call people who have worked with this landscape contractor before. Evaluate their experience and the contractor's methods in relation to what you need.
  • Check with the local Better Business Bureau to see if there are complaints about the contractor.
  • Licensed: When hiring a landscape contractor, be sure to ask for and verify their credentials in the field. For instance, a degree in horticulture would be a good thing to look for, as well as certification or a license by the state in which you live to perform contracted work.
  • View Samples: Ask to see potential landscape contractors for a portfolio. Do their designs match your needs? Do they possess the skills you require?
  • Permits: Many cities require obtaining a permit of some sort before any landscape modification is performed. Be sure to clarify if it will be either yours' or the contractor's responsibility to visit the city hall and apply for one.
  • Contract: Before signing anything, be sure all of the stipulations and agreements between you and the contractor are included in a contract. Be sure a project estimate, deadline and other important information is included.

How much will hiring a landscape contractor cost?

The typical cost of hiring a landscape contractor can range anywhere between $20 and $50 an hour.

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