HIRING A LANDSCAPER
Make it look great, it’s worth the expense.
Whether your want to increase the value of your home before you sell, or you just moved in to the perfect new home with a garden that needs a big of sprucing up – investing in landscaping is worth while.
A professional landscaper can help you create the look you want while maximizing your investment, but what questions should you ask when you are hiring a landscaper?
HOW TO FIND A LANDSCAPER
A good place to start is Home Stars, which has a great listing of landscapers in Calgary with ratings from recent customers. Another solid resource is the landscaper directory on landscapingcalgary.net.
In addition to a directory resource, landscapingcalgary.net also has tips on how to estimate costs and how to get started.
Before you start calling the landscapers though think about your budget, goals, and look that you want to achieve and jot down some notes so you can consistently ask them questions.
FIVE QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU HIRE
1. Ask for a portfolio and references
Find out if they have recent experience with projects similar to yours. Each landscaper has their own style so you want to get a sense of if their work matches your aesthetics; don’t be afraid to ask for photos and to see plans they used.
Ask for references to find out how recent projects have gone and make sure you ask their references about whether the project was completed on time and on budget.
2. Ask about what training they have
Good landscaping requires training and lots of on the job experience. Make sure you ask your landscaper what training or certifications they have (especially if they might need to work with pesticides), and ask if they are a member of a professional association.
A common certification in Canada is Landscape Industry Certified, which is granted by the Canadian Landscape Nursery Association.
3. Ask to see the contract
Make sure you ask for a contract that outlines the work to be done, costs, and timelines. Changes might happen along the way but make sure you read the fine print and know exactly what you have agreed to. This ensures that you and your landscaper are on the same page about when the project will start, an estimation of when it will be done, and a clear understanding of what will be included.
A good contract creates shared expectations and makes communication easier throughout the project.
4. Ask if they offer a warranty
Ask your landscaper if they offer a warranty or guarantee on their work. While a landscaper cannot control for extreme weather, materials and plants should be chosen appropriately to the climate and should be able to weather the seasons.
Many nurseries and greenhouses will offer a warranty on the plants – check that the landscaper you’ve selected passes that warranty on to you.
5. Ask what equipment and materials they will bring
Before the project gets started, you want to know what equipment and materials the landscaper will be bringing on-site, and if it will disrupt you or your neighbours.
Will there be materials stacked on the street that may impact parking? Do you need to clear a certain area of lawn chairs or planters? If the project is going to have an impact on your neighbours – best to let them know ahead of time so they know what to expect as well.
Plus, a quick call to your bylaw department to make sure you don’t need any special permits for any of the work or materials storage could save a lot of headache later on.
Most of all, you want to make sure you have a landscaper that you communicate well with. As you ask them these questions, ask yourself if you like, trust, and want to work with them.
Asking good questions and choosing a landscaper you like and trust is the best way to getting the most out of your landscaping project.