Nothing makes a house more inviting than a beautiful landscape design. While you can certainly plant flowers and bushes yourself, hiring a professional means you get to sit back and relax while the job is completed for you.
That is, if you hire the right person.
These eight tips will help you get the most bang for your budget:
1. Cruise the neighborhood. Find a design in the neighborhood you admire and inquire whose work it is.
2. Ask for a referral. Friends, family and folks in the neighborhood are a great resource for getting an honest opinion about which local landscaper is the best.
3. Do a little research. Having knowledge about plants and garden design always makes meeting a potential hire that much easier. Browse through gardening books and magazines to narrow down your likes and dislikes. Consult local garden stores to find out which plants thrive in your area.
4. Know what you want and how much you can spend. You don’t need to have planned the entire design yourself, but having an idea of what you’re looking for will help you narrow down the choices of who you want to hire. For example, if you’re looking to create a sustainable design you’ll want to find a professional who’s experienced in that area.
It’s also important to set a budget. However, don’t be too quick to let the landscaper know what your cap price is. According to Canadian Living it’s much better to give them a detailed list of what you want and then have them quote you an estimate that’s within your budget range.
5. Get your bids in writing. Don’t be afraid to get bids from several different contractors. Use them to compare and contrast the best way to get the job done. You may also be able to use competitors’ bids to get your favorite contractor to lower his price.
6. Only hire licensed contractors. Going off the grid may be cheaper, but it guarantees trouble. Look for landscape architects, design/build landscapers or landscape designers that have certification.
7. Get a contract. You want everything in writing. This includes a payment schedule as well as a firm start and finish. Make sure you understand all of the fine print and don’t make a payment until the contract is signed.
8. Leave a little until the job is done. Canadian Living also suggests that you leave 10 percent of the payment until after the job is completed in order to guarantee satisfaction.
Armed with the right knowledge, you’ll be able to choose a landscape designer that best fits your home’s needs.
By Megan Mostyn-Brown