Hiring and working with landscaping services will be a smoother experience and have a better end result if you take some time to prepare before you start your internet search for “landscapers near me.”
Having a list of expectations going in is important to communicate the scope and desired outcome of the project. This includes a budget, what areas of your property will be covered in the project, start date, timeline, payment schedules, etc.
Familiarize yourself with common materials so you have a basis for reference when your landscaper asks questions like “Do you want natural stone or composite?” Things will move along much faster if you’re a well-educated customer before you begin your project.
Always get at least three quotes from different landscaping services. You might think that all landscapers in your area would be close in pricing for similar projects, but there can be differences from one contractor to the next. It all depends on each company's experience level, demand, and availability. For example, a well-established company that’s busy and in demand might give you a higher quote. On the flip side, a newer company that’s looking to build a customer base may give you a more reasonable quote for similar work.
Read the online reviews before you sign anything. The last thing you want is to think you’ve found a great landscaper and then start having issues, only to find online reviews from people with the same problems. Save yourself the headache and read reviews.
Landscaping often comes with other carpentry or handyman work. If you’re wondering how to find a qualified professional near you, Porch can help to connect you with local handymen.
There are landscaping projects that you can take on yourself, but depending on the complexity of the project and various other factors, you might be better off bringing in a pro. Below are some of the most important aspects to keep in mind when you’re making that decision.
When you can tackle DIY landscaping projects:
When you should hire a professional landscaping service:
The average cost of hiring landscapers in the US is $50-$100 per hour. This seems like a pretty big range, but it all depends on where you are, how much experience your landscapers have, and the type of work they’re doing. Here are a few factors that will impact your total cost:
The best time of year to embark on your landscaping project will depend on where you live. Geographies that see snowy and cold winters generally have a shorter window for these types of projects. The ground can’t be frozen and plants need time to acclimate to their new homes before winter hits. April to September tend to be the most productive time in these areas, as long as you’re not planting when there’s still a chance of overnight frost.
Landscaping can happen year-round in warmer climates, like the south and some parts of the west coast. You’ll likely get some recommendations from your landscapers on the best times to plant certain things. For example, plants like rhododendrons are hearty and do well in rainy, Pacific Northwest winters once they’re established. You’ll likely want to avoid planting new ones after September so that they have time to mature and get settled in before the rainy season.
In areas like southern Arizona, New Mexico, and California, the high summer months can be too hot for plants and for work crews to do certain types of landscaping projects. Newly planted trees, shrubs, flowers, and sod are more sensitive than established ones and can easily scorch if the weather is too hot. The last thing you want is for your beautiful new landscaping to burn and perish on you.
When you start looking for local landscapers to hire for your landscaping projects, you might be surprised to find that not all landscaping services are full-service. Many are, but some may be inexperienced in one area or another. Here’s a breakdown of the main types of landscapers so you’ll know what to ask about and look for when you’re planning.
Landscape design – Landscape designers go to school and specialize in only landscape design. The benefit of getting a design done first is that these professionals have the context and experience to consider all of the various elements and will come up with a complete plan.
Landscape construction – Landscape construction companies focus on the installation and labor that it takes to go from a design on paper to a finished and beautiful final product. They’re the ones who will bring in a foreman, machine operators, and laborers to get your project done.
Landscape maintenance – Landscape maintenance companies specialize in caring for your landscaping after the installation. They’ll handle mowing, pruning, fertilizing, aerating, winterizing, and snow removal, among other things.
Hiring one company with teams who specialize in all three areas has a lot of benefits. You don’t have to worry about coordinating with multiple contractors and facilitating communication between them. The process is often faster because the teams are used to working together and have their processes dialed in.
On the flip side, finding a full-service landscaping company can be tough. Be wary of businesses that use phrases like “design as we go” or tell you they have someone who “can do a design for you.” It’s a good idea to ask if that person is their full-time landscape designer or if someone on their team is doing it off the side of their desk. While you can definitely still get a great finished product from someone who isn’t a full-time landscape designer, it’s a bit more of a dice roll.
In almost every state in the US, landscape contractors have licensing requirements. It’s important to know the difference between a licensed landscaping contractor and someone who “does landscaping.” It’s an easy detail to overlook, but it comes with some important implications.
Licensed landscaping contractors generally need three years of practical experience and to have passed a licensing exam in their state. The knowledge that they gain during this time is very important, but it’s not the only reason you should make sure that you hire a licensed pro.
To be bonded and insured, your contractor must have a current landscaping license. This not only protects them, but also you as the homeowner in case of an accident or injury on site and damage to your home or property. These factors make it very important for you to ask all of the companies you’re considering hiring about their licensing as part of the vetting process.
Green landscaping uses several methods to reduce the impact of your landscape design on the environment. Here are a few reasons to consider green landscaping at your home:
If you live in a dry climate, green landscape design may involve replacing lawn grass with aesthetic gravel design and native plants and trees that are drought-tolerant.
Landscaping projects are a fun way to make a highly impactful visual upgrade to your home. Adding character and interest to your yard makes it a more enjoyable place to be, adds resale value to your home, and gives you a more functional and decorative space.