6 Tips for Hiring the Perfect Landscaper

Is your yard ready for fall?

As you prepare your lawn for the fall season, why not hire a landscaper to save yourself some time? Landscapers have the tools, experience and knowledge to create the landscape you need or prepare it for the cold days ahead. To help you find the right landscaper, here are some essential tips to follow and questions to ask regarding landscaping.

As you prepare your lawn for the fall season, why not hire a landscaper to save yourself some time? Landscapers have the tools, experience and knowledge to create the landscape you need or prepare it for the cold days ahead. To help you find the right landscaper, here are some essential tips to follow and questions to ask regarding landscaping.

1. Ask around to find a landscaper. If you see well-kept lawns in your neighborhood, why not ask your neighbors who they hired? You might also ask friends and family in the area if they’ve hired a good landscaper recently. You might also check online for screened and approved landscaping contractors who have been rated by homeowners in your area, which will save you time and effort on checking them.

2. Get multiple bids for a project.Once you have a few businesses in mind, you’ll need to get bids. You should never hire the first one to answer the phone. Once you explain the job, the landscaper will give you a project estimate, and numbers will vary from business to business. You can compare bids against project data costs for various landscaping projects to make sure you’re not paying more than you should be. Also be wary of any “low ball” bids, since this could be a sign of a poor job or additional or hidden fees.

3. List past project references. If you find the landscaper in the yellow pages or online, ask about past clients. As you speak to these clients, ask them about the landscaper’s process, communication, staff and how quickly they complete a project. These should help you learn more about the landscaper and how they would work with you.

4. Check for documentation and licenses. The landscaper should be able to prove they’re legitimate with a license. They should also have insurance for the length of the project, if not worker’s compensation to cover injuries on the job.

5. Discuss the specifics. This is where you need to hash out everything about the project before you get to the contract and putting down a deposit. Some of the landscaping questions to ask include:

  • What are your work practices?
  • What equipment and materials will you be using for my project?
  • What’s your past experience with this kind of landscaping project?
  • Does your landscaping business belong to any local, state or national landscaping associations?
  • Can you provide me with a design sketch for the project before we begin?
  • How much of a deposit will you want before beginning the project? (Pro tip: the average is 30% of the total project, so be cautionary of anyone who asks for 50% or more.)

6. Put together & sign a contract. Once you’ve found the right landscaper, it’s time to put down all the details of the job in writing. This contract should include:

  • Start and end date of the project
  • Materials involved
  • Costs and fees
  • A lien waiver
  • Guarantee, if applicable

A lien waiver will keep you from being responsible for paying for materials from a supplier, as the landscaper should be paying for them and then charging you later. A guarantee for items like a deck, patio or other major projects should be for at least two to five years, if not longer. Make sure the contract is completely filled out and that nothing is left blank.

Andrea Davis is the editor at HomeAdvisor, which connects homeowners with home improvement professionals in their area for free. Connect with Andrea on Google+

Cover Photo: Beckett Creek Ln, Humble, TX Currently listed with Coldwell Banker United, Realtors http://bit.ly/1m6rEK1

Lindsay is the the Director of Media Engagement for Coldwell Banker Real Estate and manages the brand’s media and social media department. She is also a licensed real estate professional. In 2017 & 2018, she was named a top 20 social influencer in the real estate industry in the annual Swanepoel 200 power rankings.

Lindsay lives in Livingston, NJ with her college sweetheart and now husband Joe and rwelcomed another Joe into her life as she became a mom in June 2016.

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  3. Lori Koschnick
    September 23, 2014

    Good tip, Lindsay. Autumn in Wisconsin is beautiful — and short! Bringing in a professional to put the landscaping to bed before snow starts flying means an autumn with less stress/more fun and watching the snow melt in 6 months confident a ready-for-spring yard waits.

  4. Jeff Madison
    March 29, 2016

    I appreciate your tip on getting multiple bids on your landscaping project. I would imagine that comparing prices would help you find the most qualified landscaper for the best price. My wife and I want to have some landscaping done in our yard so maybe we should get some quotes from multiple companies to find the best one.

  5. Nash Rich
    May 31, 2016

    I think asking around really goes a long way, especially from friends and family. They’re not going to let you down, and if they don’t know anyone, they can ask their friends and family. I also agree that you should check for their documentation and licenses. This is the best way of knowing if they’re legit or not.

  6. Derek Mcdoogle
    December 1, 2016

    In your article, you suggested that they should also have insurance for the length of the project, if not worker’s compensation to cover injuries on the job. My wife has been trying to decide what kind of landscaping features that might be good for our property. Do the clients need to have some kind of insurance as well?

    • Lindsay Listanski
      December 2, 2016

      Hi Derek! Thanks for stopping by. That is a great question and one that I am not sure about. Let me check with Andrea Davis!

    • Lindsay Listanski
      December 2, 2016

      Hi Derek,

      Here is Andrea’s response “No they do not. Just the landscaper, to cover any injuries on the job. I doubt the client would be helping out and thus wouldn’t need it.”

  7. john Mahoney
    December 7, 2016

    I agree that when talking to a landscaping company you need to be specific about what you want to get done. I appreciate the tips and will make sure to be specific about what I want to get done. This website was very useful, it is much appreciated.

  8. Finn Stewart
    December 13, 2016

    I really like how you suggest to discuss the specifics with your landscaper before you get to the contract. I have a very specific idea of what I want my yard to look like, but I don’t have the skills or tools to do it myself. If I talk it out with a landscaper, then it is more likely to look the way I want it to.

    • Victoria Keichinger
      December 13, 2016

      Glad you found this to be helpful, Finn. Curb appeal is very important!

  9. Scott
    December 28, 2016

    I like that you suggest to ask the landscaper what their past experience is with the project you are wanting them to do. I can see why this would help give you a better idea if they can do it or not. My mom is wanting to have a water fountain installed in her backyard. I’ll have to make sure she asks this question to whoever she is considering of hiring to do it.

    • Victoria Keichinger
      January 3, 2017

      Glad you found the article useful, Scott! Best of luck to your mom with her backyard upgrade!

  10. Ridley Fitzgerald
    February 6, 2017

    I love the tips you have here for finding a landscaping company. My wife and I want to remodel our yard in the summer, so we need to know who to call to help. We will definitely get multiple bids, and see whose estimate is the most accurate.

    • Lindsay Listanski
      February 7, 2017

      Best of luck!!

  11. Jenna Hunter
    March 1, 2017

    We are wanting to update our garden since we moved in last November. It was awesome to learn from the article that the landscapers should also have insurance for the length of the project. We will be sure to talk with them about how we can get our garden up to date.

  12. John
    May 12, 2017

    I think the article made a great point that checking references can help you learn more about a landscaper, and how that landscaper works. My wife wants to add a water feature to the design of our yard, and we’ve been thinking of hiring a landscaper to handle the project. Would you suggest we only speak with references from people who have hired that landscaper for water themed projects in the past?

  13. Finley Moreira
    July 12, 2017

    I’m looking at changing the overall look of my yard, so I thought these tips on how to hire a landscaper were really helpful. I really appreciated your suggestion to speak with past clients a landscaper has serviced in order to get an idea of what quality of work you can expect. About how many clients do you suggest I speak with before making a decision?

  14. Marcus Coons
    August 30, 2017

    Thank you for talking about how you should compare the bids from several landscapers before choosing the one you want to hire. I can see that doing this can not only help you get the best deal but also find a reputable company that can help your yard look its best. It is important to remember that reading comments from previous clients can also help you know how good a contractor is and whether to hire them or not.

  15. Ridley Fitzgerald
    September 27, 2017

    These are some great tips for hiring a good landscaper. I like how you said to find someone willing to give you a list of past clients. If I could find a group of people who all really love the work of the landscaper, I wouldn’t have a problem hiring them!

  16. Michael Robinson
    October 13, 2017

    I really appreciate all of the great advice you shared on how to hire the perfect landscaper for the job. It is interesting how it is important to always look for referrals, just like you said. With that being said, I will make sure to ask all of my friends for their recommendations on landscape contractors. Thanks for the post!

  17. Ashley Turns
    October 18, 2017

    My husband and I are planning on remodeling our backyard and we are looking for the best landscaping service to help us. So I really like your tip to talk with one of their previous clients to see what the company’s communication and staff were like. Since my husband and I definitely want our ideas for the backyard to be communicated clearly to the landscaping service, we’ll be sure to ask previous clients about the communication process that occurred with their projects.

  18. Ridley Fitzgerald
    November 14, 2017

    You have some great tips for finding a landscaper. I like how you said to ask around, and maybe ask people who have really good yards. I have a neighbor with a beautiful yard, so I’ll see if they’ve hired anyone recently.


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