We’ve been in our new house for about a year and I’m ready to start on the garden. We’ve got a blank slate so it is going to be a pretty big job. I received a design from the architecture firm that drew up the house, but am looking for a company to install it. Do you have any tips that will help me make a good choice?
Whether you are establishing a new flowerbed, transplanting a shrub or installing a detailed garden plan the person you choose to handle the job can make or break the results. A mistake may not be noticeable until weeks or months later so it is important to be confident in the help you receive from the start.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you look for someone to help you in the garden.
- Write out exactly what you want the landscape professional to do.
- Check with local utility companies to make sure there are no electric, gas or telephone lines running underground in the area.
- Clearly mark the area you want prepared.
- If sod, rocks or debris are to be removed, give instructions if you want those items hauled away.
- Independently investigate what soil amendments your garden requires.
The landscape professional/designer you hire should be:
- Insured and properly bonded.
- Properly licensed for landscape maintenance work.
- Willing to furnish you several current and past references with similar projects.
- Knowledgeable about soil preparation and horticulture.
Before you finalize the deal:
- Negotiate a clear, detailed agreement in writing. Do not accept verbal agreements.
- If a contract is involved read it over carefully. Understand its terms and conditions including payment schedule and guarantees on plants. Ensure all documents are correctly signed and dated by involved parties.
- Verify licenses and check with your state’s Contractors Board and the Better Business Bureau for any complaints against the contractors.
- Secure payment and performance bonds from the landscape professional.
After the project is complete:
- Inspect the work to make sure it was done to specifications.
- Schedule a walk through/review with the landscape professional to go over any care instructions or discuss potential problems.