With the summer sun often comes the decision to renovate the yard. In the often rainy Northwest, time outdoors is precious and we all want to spend that time enjoying and relaxing and barbecuing. Renovating the yard to build maximum enjoyment into your home space can be a stress-filled decision that often leave people frustrated about where to start. Mistakes in choosing a landscape contractor can have long term problems when you are forced to repair or redo low quality work. Greenhaven wants you to have the best experience possible when deciding how to start and finish your project so you can enjoy your new landscape with no worries. Here are some guidelines to help you find the best landscape contractor for you.
First, find out the company’s reputation and experience.
Ask your potential landscape contractors about their business:
- How long have they been in business?
- What is their history in the community?
- Are their crews run efficiently and do they have enough manpower to finish the job?
- Are they licensed, bonded and insured?
- How many jobs have they done in the last 5 to 10 years?
- Do they know how to get the proper guidelines for digging to avoid underground lines, permitting and properly placing walls on hills, and other environmental situations?
- How do they deal with any subcontractors on your job?
- How are they going to get equipment onto your site?
- Are their employees trained to use the equipment properly?
- Can you get referrals from both past customers and businesses they work with?
- Can you see some of their work in person?
- Are they experienced in the type of landscape you want?
Compare apples to apples.
For any significant landscape project a landscape design is important in making sure that you are getting a bid that understands your vision and what is realistic for your outdoor space. It is worth the money to have a landscape design drawn up and have all your potential landscape contractors bid on the same thing. Make sure that your potential contractors are providing you with bids on the exact same landscape. A low bid contractor may be giving you the same thing as the high bid contractor but often they are not. Ask why a low bid or a high bid is different and have the contractor walk you through their bid line by line to explain what you are getting. Not all bids are the same and can be confusing. Ask questions about the materials used. Quality materials will create a space that will add value to your home and will be something that will last for years to come so it is important to understand what you are getting. A good contractor will be willing to talk you through their pricing and quality and explain how you can change your options on a bid or even how they can build your landscape in stages so you can get the quality you want on a budget that you can afford. Greenhaven has independent landscape designers we can recommend if you don’t already have one available.
What is their timeline?
Summer is a busy time for landscape contractors and many are booked months ahead. This normally speaks well of their reputation and may indicate they are worth the wait. But this can be frustrating for customers who want a project done quickly. Remember that the landscaper who is available first may not be the best for your project. There are a lot of factors in landscape construction that can create delays or open up availabilities so ask questions about timelines and their current projects to understand better why your project may not be done next week. It will save you frustration when planning timing on your project.
Can you work with them?
Personality is important since this is a person you are going to be talking to and dealing with for the near future. You want to know that you are heard and that the contractor is experienced in listening to your ideas and making your dreams reality. You also need to make sure that your contractor is visionary enough to be able to create the space you desire and knowledgeable enough to bring the right materials to the job.
- Do they explain things to you so you understand?
- Is their process transparent?
- Who will be in charge on the site to make sure everything is running smoothly?
- Who do you call with questions?
- Are they available to be reached with questions in a timely manner?
- Does their work and artistic style fit your ideas?
- Are they experienced in a variety of different types of landscaping or do they create cookie-cutter landscapes?
What is their service policy before, during and after the project?
- What does their contract entail?
- What if you want to change something?
- How often do you meet to discuss progress?
- What do they warranty?
- How long does their warranty last?
- What happens when a plant dies?
- What if you get a leak in your pond?
- How is subcontractor work guaranteed?
- Are they readily available to respond to questions after the project is done?
Greenhaven is committed to excellent customer care and fantastic high quality outdoor spaces that you, your family and friends love for years. Give us a call and see how we can create the space you dream of.