Working with a Landscaper

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"Hard-working, honest landscaper. Refs available" or "Professional Landscape Contractor. Retaining wall, pond, and irrigation system specialist." Who do you work with, and how do you get the most out of your relationship?

Decide what you want this person to do. Are you making over your yard, or just looking for some help keeping it up? Do his or her skills match the project you have in mind? Check with your state and local governments for licensing requirements. For example, in Oregon you don't need a license to do maintenance and casual repair, but for anything else a license is required. Make sure you can obtain a copy of their license and bond.

Interview a handful before you agree to work with anyone. How does the landscaper envision your outdoor space? How flexible is that vision? If you really want a play space for your young children and the landscaper pictures rose bushes and statuary, you could have a problem. Discuss who will be doing the work, and if the contractor is sending a crew and won't be on site, who to talk to in the crew if problems arise.

Decide who will provide the materials, and what quality will be used. If the landscaper is providing them, ask to see samples before they are used. Make sure the plants are the size and maturity called for in the plan. Above all, if you don't know, ask.

If there are going to be multiple projects under way at the same time, like a new deck being built while the yard it being landscaped, make sure all parties involved are communicating and that each is aware of the plans of the other. You don't want deck footings to be placed in the middle of your new water feature and fish pond. Be sure to provide ample space for all contractors to marshal materials and supplies. Access to power and water will need to be coordinated unless you have unlimited outlets and spigots.

Work out ground rules on day one. How often and when will you meet with your landscape contractor to discuss progress and the project? Where will everyone park? What time will they arrive and depart? Are they allowed to use the bathroom in the house? Providing access to your garage so workers can take a break and get out of the weather goes a long way to cementing a solid working relationship.

Matching the skills of your landscape professional with the project, verifying credentials, agreeing to the plan and meeting regularly should make working with a landscaper easy and ensure a satisfactory job.

Need More Help?

If you need professional help with your project, LendingTree Home Pros can help.

The good news is that LendingTree Home Pros maintains a directory of home service professionals and can match you with a home pro in your area. All the home pros listed in the LendingTree Home Pros directory are properly licensed and insured and are backed by a $10,000 money-back guarantee!

Let LendingTree Home Pros help you find a pro today!

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