Platinum Ponds & Landscaping

Hiring The Right Landscape Contractor

multi-tiered flagstone patio

So you have decided that this is the year you are doing that amazing outdoor landscaping project. You’ve got your budget set aside and you and your spouse have been dreaming of an amazing outdoor patio with a fire pit, beautiful landscaping beds around it, some lighting, and a pergola. You are open for other suggestions to make the space look amazing, now the only trouble is who do we hire?? This can be overwhelming as landscaping covers such a broad spectrum of services. Some companies specialize in hardscapes and patios, others in plants and horticulture, others in mowing and maintenance. Then there are companies that specialize in irrigation, water features, seeding, and then there’s companies who state “We do everything.” If a company tells you they are good at every aspect of the landscape industry, in most cases you should not believe them.

So what are 4 things you should look for in a Landscape Contractor? First, you should always ask what the company specializes in. The biggest mistakes I see homeowners make when deciding on a Landscape Contractor is they never ask what areas does your company specialize in? This is a great question that you can ask to gauge if the contractors skills align with the project you are looking to complete. For example, if the company primarily mows lawns and fertilizes, I would not recommend hiring them to build your water feature.

Secondly, ask about their design process. If a company can not provide a professional landscape design than you may want to continue your search. Landscape design rendering technology has become very vivid and real, and most good Landscape Companies are offering landscape design renderings. Usually you will pay an upfront cost for landscape renderings but it is well worth the money to understand exactly what your project will look like before construction takes place. If you are spending $15,000 or more on your project, I would definitely
consider a design rendering. You should be able to openly discuss with your Landscape Contractor “Should I have a rendering for this project, what do you recommend?”

Third thing, do not shop based on price, but rather give a budget to design within. Budget should always be discussed before you start a design. The worst thing you can say when asked about a budget is I don’t really have one. Another common response is “I don’t know how much this is going to cost.” You have to do your research and figure out a budget range of what you are willing to invest in your landscape design. One company may have different ideas and design concepts for your project then another company may have. Giving theses contractors an upfront budget range allows them to design your project within your budget. Prioritize your goals with the contractor on what aspects of the project you would most like to see your budget allocated to. If you give a budget to a contractor then you don’t have to shop based on price, but rather based on how creatively the contractor designs within the budget set forth. You can also ask about doing your project in phases.

Finally, hire someone whom you feel you trust. In some cases, larger companies are not the best companies to hire. You may not get the personal attention from ownership you desire, or you may end up with a less experienced crew assigned to your project because they are spread thin. You should be able to gain good rapport with a contractor over a 10 minute phone call. Weed out the ones that don’t call you back or sound unprofessional. Read their online reviews. Ask yourself, are we a good fit to work together, do we communicate well, are my phone calls and emails returned on a timely basis. If you are in the West Michigan area and looking for an outstanding landscape design firm or just some more info on this discussion, then contact Platinum Ponds & Landscaping today!