Choosing a Landscaping Contractor

September 15, 2022

So, you’ve decided that your landscaping dreams are worthy of looking to external help— specifically a landscape contractor. 

If you haven’t worked with a contractor before, a reminder of what they bring to the table. Generally, a contractor is the lead coordinator of a large scale project. They help ideate a concept, put together a team, and execute a specific project. 

For landscaping, contractors can: 

  • Build features like decks, pools, and patio covers
  • Install irrigation and drainage systems 
  • Install trees, shrubs, and flowers  

I’ve worked with many landscape contractors throughout my career. Some have been fantastic…and others have left something to be desired. You’ll want to choose a contractor that speaks your language and deeply understands your vision. In addition to developing a communication plan, an ideal contractor will continue to include you in their work as much as you desire and offer creative solutions along the way.  

Due diligence really is key when vetting potential contractors. It’s worth asking your community if they have anyone to recommend — trust is a key tenant of a good relationship with a project manager. I recommend connecting with a few contractors to ask for an initial consultation before selecting your top candidate. On pricing, you’ll want to ensure their proposed rate is comprehensive. If it’s not, transparency on potential costs prior to beginning work is imperative to avoiding a surprising additional bill.

Before hiring a contractor, I always walk through a list of pre-set questions. This helps me determine if they are a good fit — I encourage anyone considering a contractor to refer to these:

  1. Are they licensed/insured?
  2. Do their references and portfolio of projects inspire confidence?
  3. How does the contractor make you feel? Is there a sense of trust?
  4. What is their process of sourcing their plants, shrubs, and trees? 
  5. Do they understand your vision?
  6. How long do they estimate the project to take?
  7. What is the cost and are they suggesting ways to lower investment as needed?
  8. Do they have the ability to work on larger projects — such as installing a pool, patio cover or outdoor fireplace?
  9. What does a day look like when the full crew is working?
  10. Do they offer maintenance services once the project is completed?

Remember when choosing a contractor you can have fast, good or cheap.  I would highly suggest going with a ‘good’ contractor.