Choosing a landscape contractor for lawn, garden maintenance

Published: Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 12:01 PM.

Choosing and hiring a landscaper can be an intimidating prospect. Whether you are new to southeastern North Carolina or are a long-term resident, selecting a landscape professional to take care of your lawn or garden is fraught with considerations. Although it can be daunting, there are a few key things to take into account when hiring a landscaper for your lawn or garden.

Do your homework

Before you begin your search, first consider what you want for your yard and determine your expectations. If you only want general yard work and maintenance, many residential lawn care services throughout the Cape Fear are available for hire. Other companies offer more comprehensive services and will do everything from basic landscaping, to turf and irrigation installation, to complete property renovations, while some may offer “organic” lawn care alternatives.

As you begin your search, talk to friends, family, or neighbors whose yard impressed you for recommendations. Most companies also have websites where you can find additional information.

Ask for credentials

When you have narrowed your choice, an estimate from three or four landscapers is the best way to give you an accurate idea of cost for the desired jobs. Do not feel pressured to always choose the lowest estimate. Keep in mind that more experienced landscapers or higher quality materials may cost more. Another important consideration when deciding on a landscaper is memberships and certifications. Most companies belong to national, state or local associations including certified arborists, certified nursery professionals in North Carolina and irrigation contractors to name a few.

Remember also that any landscaper applying insecticides, herbicides or fungicides on your lawn must have a certified operator’s license or be operating under some else’s license. Pesticide applicators, by law, must renew their certification every three to five years. Most companies will provide a list of services they offer, along with a timeline of when pesticide applications are made. Most landscapers will notify you ahead of time when applications are made, but it is always a good idea to ask. Another good idea is to ask for letters of recommendation and photos of completed jobs from a potential landscaper. Ask references about their overall experience and satisfaction with the job, and if the estimated cost reflected the final cost.

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