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7 Things to Do Before You Call a Landscaper

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Residential landscaping projects vary greatly in size, scope and complexity.  This simple fact can make it challenging for homeowners to pinpoint precisely what they want to have done and difficult for landscapers to grasp the client’s primary objectives.

To resolve this dilemma, we’ve identified seven things you should do before you call a landscaper.

  1. Define your goal. Identify what the ideal landscape makeover means to you. Are you seeking a yard with lower maintenance requirements? Reduced water consumption? More privacy for an existing patio? A beautiful paved and landscaped yard suited to entertaining?
  2. Detail problems. Make a list of existing problems you’re trying to solve. Common issues might include poor drainage, hill erosion, the need for screening from road noise, people cutting through the yard. While you’re at it, make a list of complications you hope to avoid such as the need to water daily or plantings that require special care.
  3. Determine the scope. Decide whether you’re interested in a complete transformation for the entire property or want to focus on a select area such as the front or back yard, the patio area, etc.
  4. Seek inspiration. Take pictures or search the internet for inspiration. Collect examples that illustrate landscape elements you like or capture a look or feel you hope to emulate, such as a particular paving treatment, attractive courtyard retreat or appealing plant combination.
  5. Pinpoint project type. Landscaping projects tend to fall into three broad categories. Softscape projects focus on plants, trees, shrubs, lawns and gardens. Hardscape projects emphasize paving, retaining walls and other permanent installations. Waterscape projects focus on ponds, fountains or similar water features. Many projects represent some combination of the three.
  6. Get recommendations. Talk to friends, family and colleagues to get recommendations.  If you admire a neighbor’s landscape, contact them to find out which company did the work. Check online listings to discover companies suited to the project you have in mind. If your state or locality requires certifications or licensing, focus on those that meet the criteria and have experience with projects similar to yours.
  7. Set a budget. Determine how much money you’re willing to spend and be prepared to share that figure with the landscaper early in the process.

If you take time to work through these issues before you contact landscapers, it will make it easier to locate one who understands your priorities, is willing to work within your budget and is capable of producing the results you desire.

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