How to hire a landscape contractor

Landscaping contractors are one of the most vague and most easily misunderstood contractors in the home improvement industry. ‘Landscapers’ might focus on small projects like delivering and spreading mulch, helping out with your spring planting, installing lawn drainage, or a sprinkler system. While Design Build Landscape construction companies are more commonly referred to as design/build firms create, build and implement a comprehensive landscaping design that will transform your yard into head-turning, envy-of-the-neighbors, residential oasis. But most people still refer to them as landscaping contractors, which is a misnomer.

Depending on the type of service you need, landscaping can be between 5 and 15% of the value of your home. That said, your particular project and its cost may bear little resemblance to this average. Some landscaping contractors install water features, swimming pools, patios, decks, out door kitchens, lighting and retaining walls as part of their services. A new concrete swimming pool alone might cost $40,000 or more. Yet, there are several ways to get the most value for your money. The following can help you save money on your landscaping project:

Before you call:
•Make a list of possible landscaping options. You might only be able to have a portion of it done, but let the professional make the call on what should come first. Also, your landscaping contractor might cut you a deal for having it all done at once rather than in phases.
•Some landscapers will allow you to buy your own trees and shrubs. You can often save money this way.
•Consider skill and experience over a cheaper price. Having an inexperienced, inexpensive landscaper who doesn’t do his job properly can require you to have another landscaper out to fix his mess. Avoid those mistakes by hiring quality first.

Landscaping Thoughts:
•Depending on the size of your yard and what you want done to it, you might need to hire a landscape architect, designer or a design build firm to design your landscaping. Be sure to include the cost of the design into the total cost of your landscaping. Some design build firms do not charge for the design if you have them do the work.
•If you and your landscaper can secure a little time, talk with the professional about current trends, options to save you money, plant options that need less water or work better in the shade, not to mention are a compliment to your yard and home.

Ideas to Consider:
•If you don’t currently have a sprinkler system, now would be a good time to have one installed. If you already have one, make sure you have the capability to water the new items that will be added by your landscaper and it conserves water..
•Call a landscaper out once a year just as a checkup. Your professional will be able to walk onto your lawn and tell you what needs more care, what could use less care, and other tips to keep your lawn looking amazing.

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Water Conservation for Landscapes and gardens

There is many blogs and posts about why we need to save water. It is a well documented fact that landscape /garden can use up to 70% of our domestic water use.
So that said, this blog will be dedicated on how to accomplish that goal of doing more with less water. In the coming weeks I will be posting information and news about the latest technologies in landscape and garden irrigation, soil additives that can help retain moisture and xeriscape tips that save water and enhance your garden.
I encourage everyone to feel free to post your suggestions and ideas.
My next post will be about drip irrigation systems, what’s new and what to do.

Sustainable landscaping construction and Xeriscaping