When choosing a firm to do landscaping work on your property, it can be difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. It is not just about eliminating the worst choices, but is also a matter of separating the lackluster from the truly outstanding, ensuring that you get the best return on your investment.
One key trait to look for is being are pro-active with ideas and plans. Whatever your own design, a good landscaper will have an opinion, positive or negative. Remember that ideally, they will have years of experience in this field and should be pointing out opportunities and pitfalls in your draft plan. If they are not asking questions, then you should be asking yourself if they are the right people for the job.
Another factor is whether or not they have a roster of experienced permanent staff who will be completing the work on your property, rather than subcontracting. The main advantage of permanent staff is that they will have greater control over the process of crafting your design. If, however, you are noticing that the workers have a high turnover, it could be that:
a) they are using temp staff, which means that the people handling the actual work of the contract are not professionals and you are not getting your money’s worth or
b) they are using day laborers who will almost definitely be uninsured, potentially leaving you open to legal liability in the event of an accident.
Another positive trait to look out for is active participation from managers whilst the work is ongoing. Ideally, they should be keeping up to date with developments at the job site and have an interest in keeping things on track. If there is no real contact or participation from managers and if the head tradespeople are not turning up to monitor progress and update plans, then you have a problem.
Additionally, they should of course be accredited and well-reviewed. The firm should have a stable of certifications and a verifiable portfolio of their past projects as well as good customer reviews on 3rd-party sites. A lack of references or any reluctance to provide proof of licenses and qualifications is a red flag. There is a vast difference between operating a professional landscaping business and running a simple grounds keeping service. If they are unable or unwilling to prove their skill level, simply look elsewhere. Furthermore, there are many professional associations that can provide recommendations for tradespeople in your area, be they regular landscapers or more specialized trades such as tree surgeons or conservation specialists.
Lastly, it is worth considering whether you require a landscaping service for your property in the first place. Oftentimes, a conventional gardener with a team of laborers can make short work of transforming a more modest garden from an overgrown mess into a space to be proud of. As such, it is best to consult with and get quotes from multiple sources before investing in a landscaping project.