From design to maintenance, finding and locating the right landscape architect or gardener takes research, time, and clear communication.
September 29, 2017 ·
by Elaine Sulpy
The ability to keep your home landscape beautiful with plants that thrive in your location and are consistently maintained not only helps with your home’s curb appeal, but can also provide you with a sense of contentment and well-being.
While you may have the vision of what we want our yards and gardens to look like, a specialist can help you ensure that your put your plants in the right locations for optimal life and health, not to mention beauty. Gardeners and landscape architects are available to help you create and maintain your perfect home landscape and garden.
In this four-part article, Part 1 will explain the differences between a landscape architect or gardener, Part 2 helps you determine if you need the services of either, Part 3 shares how to find a landscape architect or gardener, and Part 4 covers information on how to hire a landscape architect or gardener.
A landscape architect and gardener are different vocations that offer differing services.
While a gardener can also design and add to your garden and home garden features, they mainly specialize in maintaining and caring for gardens and doing basic yard work. They do not typically offer full landscaping capabilities.
A landscape architect specializes in creating the perfect landscape for your garden or yards. They help you design and implement your plan. They will not help you maintain and care for your gardens once finalized.
Before you hire someone, it’s important to determine whether you need a landscape architect or gardener.
Some of us just don’t have the “green thumb” needed to keep plants alive. Others do wonderfully at maintaining plants, but don’t have time to plan out their garden space.
If you have a blank space and want to create a garden, a gardener can definitely help. But, a landscape architect is someone who specializes in designing gardens and beautiful outdoor spaces.
But, if you already have a garden and just don’t have the time to water and maintain it, such as pulling weeds or trimming back plants, a gardener is the one to call.
Once you have determined that you need either a gardener or a landscape architect, or perhaps both, it’s time to start the research process. Don’t stop at the first name you see, take your time and find a qualified professional that you can work well with. Follow these steps to find a landscape architect or gardener:
Step 1: Ask around. Coworkers, family members, and friends are great resources for locating a gardener or landscape architect that is reliable and qualified. In addition, visit your local plant nursery as they may have several recommendations for qualified options.
Step 2: Go online. Find new options online. One quick way to start your search is to use Google and simply type “find a gardener near me” or “find a landscape architect near me” and see what options pop up.
If you want to find your service provider through a company or agency that helps with some of the vetting process, check out some of these websites:
Step 3: Check them out. Use the web to check reviews. Online reviews can tell you a lot about the quality of service by the overall satisfaction of their customers.
While one bad review may just signal someone having a bad day, several negative reviews and those that mention similar issues shouldn’t be ignored. Utilize websites such as Yelp.com and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to do additional research on potential providers.
In addition to checking on reviews, take the time to research your potential gardener or landscape architect’s background. Find out if they have attended horticulture school and how long they have been in business.
Step 4: Ask for bids. If you are looking for a landscaping project, ask for bids from at least a few potential landscape architects. Remember, price isn’t the only comparison point you should make; experience factor into to rates but more can be worth it in terms of the quality of the work performed.
Once you have researched and located your ideal landscape architect or gardener, it’s time to begin the hiring process. To hire the most qualified service professional to fit your needs, follow these steps:
Step 1: Be prepared. When hiring a landscape architect, if you have an idea of what you would like, be prepared with images and notes. Go online and find examples of a landscaping design you like or plants that you prefer. Otherwise, consider letting your landscape architect or gardener have free reign (within a budget) to come up with something you may not have been able to imagine yourself.
When hiring a gardener, be sure you know exactly what you need them to do, from simply watering or trimming plants to making executive decisions on replacing them, as well as your frequency needs. The more extensive your garden and the less you wish to care for it, the more often you’ll need to have a gardener stop by.
The more the gardener or landscape architect knows about your needs, the better they can assess if they are able to help and how much the cost may be for their services.
Step 2: Try a trial. Some gardeners will require a contract for a certain time period, while others will offer services on a service-to-service or month-to-month basis. When hiring a gardener, it is possible to ask for a train run.
Before you sign a long-term contract, be sure you are going to be happy with the work they provide.
Step 3: Consider an interview. When hiring a landscape architect or gardeners for more extensive work than just a weekly trim and water, consider conducting interviews with a few potential providers.
These are people you will be working with on an ongoing basis and that will be either caring for or changing the look of your home. You should feel comfortable with them and feel that you are able to communicate clearly with each other.
Step 4: Ask for paperwork. As with most service providers, make sure they are licensed as is required by your state or local jurisdiction.
Depending on where you live, gardeners may or may not be required to have a license. This is typically revolving around use of pesticides or construction. Check for proof of insurance, insured gardeners may charge more but can be worthwhile in case of damages.
Step 5: Sign a contract. When working with a gardener or landscape architect, it is important that both parties sign a contract for their services and expectations. Make sure that you fully read any contract that you sign from your service provider, and ensure that it includes any guarantees as well as resolution for any damages or issues that may occur related to their services.
It can be easy to locate a gardener or landscape architect, but ensuring you hire a qualified service provider is important to protecting your home investment. Help beautify your home by taking the time to research and vet anyone before you hire them.
by Cheryl Knight
by Elaine Sulpy