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How to Choose a Landscape Contractor

Landscape Gardner

So you’ve decided that it’s time to get a professional in to look at your outdoor space? Like many that begin this process it can be quite daunting. In this post we try to aleviate some of the uncertainty with helping you choose a Landscape Contractor, then we have 3 questions you should ask before hiring them

Before we begin, it is important to start with

What Ideas Have You Thought About in Designing your Landscape?

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Before picking up the phone and speaking to a landscape contractor, have you given it some thought as to what you want the space to look like?

The possibilities are endless with water features, hardscape, softscape, poolscaping garden design. Get these ideas down on paper or even draw a birds eye view of what you want it to look like. This will make it easier for your Landscaper

Find a list of Landscape Designers Contractors in your City

If you have no prior engagement with Landscape Designers, this process can seem quite daunting. Don’t rush into it and book the first contractor you speak to. Time spent here doing due diligence can save you $1,000’s in the long run

Check the Landscape Contractors reputation

After searching in Google check their reputation through Google Reviews

Also check home improvement social sites like Houzz, Archipro. Also check reviews on Yelp, NO Cowboys and their Facebook Page

Disclaimer about reviews sites, check to see how old the reviews are especially if they’re negative. Did the company respond in a timely manner? are there more positives than negatives. Be suspicious of a company with hundreds of reviews or substantially more than the competition

After you’ve compiled a short list of a few Landscape Designers in your city, send an email and ask for them to come around as you’ve got a few ideas that you need help with. This initial consultation isn’t usually free of charge. These people are busy professionals and their time is precious. Most Landscapers will usually factor the cost of the consultation into the project

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3 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Landscaper

1: Are there any challenges the Landscape Designer can foresee.

Shelley from Shelley Groves Garden Design in Wellington writes: In accessing a site a landscape designer will take into account a series of variables. These will include the site conditions such as the topography, soil type, and position in relation to north and thus sun exposure. General weather conditions, such as the incidence of frost and wind speeds and microclimates are also an important consideration especially when plant selection is involved.

Existing elements such as mature trees either on the site or on a neighbour’s site can also influence the design. Services such as storm water, potable water, gas and electricity need to be considered so there are no interruptions during construction.

An experienced landscape designer will have knowledge of local bylaws and standard building practices will be able to advise if and when consents are required.  Sometimes other professionals such as an engineer and or surveyor is required prior or during the process and a good designer will be able to advise and recommend other practitioners.

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2. What does a Landscaper Cost & their Cost Effective Benefits?

Wendy from Twine Landscapes in Cambridge responds: Firstly, employing a qualified and reputable Landscape Designer will save you money. They  can cost  anything from an hour onsite consultancy through to the cost of doing plans and specifications. Pricing of the plans depends on the detailing and complexity of the job. However, these are important for contractors to accurately quote and work to for a quality and accurate installation. They also allow the client to install a cohesive landscape in stages as their budget permits.

After a site visit and discussion with the Landscape designer, they will be able to give an accurate plan price. However, in return the designer needs from you,  the client a verbalised budget. An experienced landscape designer will be able to advice and tailor the plan to this  budget. As a general guideline,  spend 10% of your home’s value on landscaping. This will give you plantings, lawn and edging

In keeping with  the Kiwi Culture of  owning our own homes and  entertaining round the barbie, it is  far cheaper (per square metre)  to add an outdoor room than an indoor room and in real estate terms a 10% investment in landscaping returns 15% increase in real estate price.

An experienced  Landscape Designer is up to speed with the latest products, they will recommend products and plants that are cost effective and site suitable and recommend reputable contractors, thus ensuring money is well spent.

3: What other services do they offer?

Outside of the design and implementation of the outdoor space most landscapers will offer other services too. Have the landscaper come to your property for a consultation and see what else can be done as well for instance

Garden Maintenance Service: It may be a cost benefit to include a garden makeover into the project as well which can include planting, creating a water feature or making the whole garden low maintenance. Other services could include: concreting, decking, irrigation plus many more

Lighting Installation: Great looking landscapes have purpose in both day and night time. Installing a proper lighting system that accentuates work the landscaper has completed helps with the atmosphere when entertaining your friends at night

For more information get in contact with Tim for either Landscaping or Garden Maintance

Landscaping Services North Shore