As a homeowner, you take pride in the appearance of your property. You want it to stand out from the other homes on your block for its impressive curb appeal. Of course, you have a busy schedule, and you can’t always afford to make the changes yourself, even if you know exactly what you want.
If you’re lacking the time or green thumb to beautify your lawn, you can always hire a professional landscaper. You’re certainly not alone in taking that particular route. Of the Americans who say that having a yard is important, 90% believe it’s equally vital to keep that space well maintained.
So all that’s left for you to do is find the right person for the job. To make that task a little easier, we’ve gathered the top eight questions to ask a landscaper before you make a final decision. After working through this list in your interview, you’ll know you’ve found the best landscaper for your project.
1. Are You Fully Insured?
This should be the very first question you ask any contractor you want to hire, whether they’re a landscaper or not. Insurance will protect your property in case they accidentally cause any damage. For example, imagine if your landscaper chops down a tree and it lands in the wrong spot. You’ll need coverage if you want reimbursement.
Insurance also protects the landscaper if they sustain an injury so you don’t have to foot the bill. Since they do a lot of physical labor, work heavy equipment, mix chemicals and work long hours, there are plenty of opportunities for them to get hurt on the job. Insurance is a necessary precaution to keep everyone secure.
So make this the first question you ask before hiring a landscaper. That way, you’re both safe in the event of an accident.
2. Where Do You Get Your Plants?
A good landscaper will want to make your maintenance responsibilities as easy as possible. Sure, you might want to hire someone to mow the grass, remove trees or aerate and seed your lawn, but most of the upkeep can and should be simple enough for you to helm.
Asking where your plants come from will ensure that you can, indeed, take care of your own garden. Most landscapers will source their plants from the local area, and not just from a nearby greenhouse. Instead, they’ll pick plants that grow naturally in your area so that they won’t require much upkeep. Nature will take care of them for the most part.
Plus, local plants will typically cost less because they’re from the area, and they’ll thrive because they’re native. This is an important point to keep in mind, as regular maintenance on your yard will help protect against pests and other issues.
3. Will You Stay With the Project?
Bigger landscaping firms are sure to have more than one project on their to-do list. If one of their clients or jobs supersedes another, then your project might end up on the back burner. No one wants a half-finished project, or worse yet, a torn up yard that’s ugly and time-consuming to mend.
With this in mind, ask the landscaper if they’ll stick around to complete the job before moving to their next project. That information could save you a huge headache — and eyesore — down the line.
4. Can You Draw a Diagram?
We don’t all have vivid imaginations, able to visualize the end result of a project with just a few details. Don’t hesitate to ask your landscaper for an easy-to-understand diagram of what you’re going to get. Once you see it, you should also ask the landscaper when your plants will reach maturity. It’ll sometimes take a few months or even years to get the desired effect.
5. What Are Your Credentials?
Insurance is only one part of the larger equation. You’ll also need to ask your landscaper what type of experience they have before you enlist them on your project. In many cases, this will involve speaking with previous clients. They can tell you about the landscaper’s pricing, work ethic, completion times and more.
Be sure to do your own research online, as their references will have all had positive experiences. You should double-check to make sure there aren’t a wealth of negative reviews out there as well.
On top of that, some landscapers have special credentials. Of course, that kind of training might raise the cost of their services, but the price is often worth it if the landscaper has a good reputation.
6. Can You Install Outdoor Lighting?
Some landscaping jobs are too beautiful not to highlight. Plus, you may want to use lighting to draw the eye to focal points on your property, such as the front door.
Ask your landscaper if they have any experience with electrical work. Not every landscaper will have the relevant credentials, so be sure to ask if outdoor lighting is a must-have.
7. How Long Will the Project Take?
These estimations aren’t always accurate, but you’ll probably want to ask this question. Keep in mind that your landscaper can’t always account for unforeseen circumstances like bad weather. But they can give you a rough estimate, and you can let them know if you have a deadline or a goal.
For example, if you want landscaping for your backyard prior to your child’s high school graduation party, be sure to mention that date and see if the project’s possible within your time frame.
8. What’s Your Guarantee?
At the end of your interview, you should ask if the landscaper has a guarantee to back up their claims. Most companies will provide a two-to-five-year warranty for their work.
Let’s say they build a retaining wall that falls down within the designated period of time. A warranty or guarantee will ensure they’ll replace it at no cost. To that end, some landscapers promise similar protection for the greens that they plant. If a shrub, flower or tree begins to fade before it’s supposed to, you can get a new one without spending any additional cash.
Find the Right Person for the Job
Your landscaping is one of the first elements of your home a guest is going to notice. To make a memorable impression, you need your landscaper to do a good job. As long as you ask a landscaper the right questions, you’ll hire the right professional for your project.