Hiring a Pro Landscaper: What You Need To Know
The English word “landscape” comes from 16th century Dutch artists who used the word “landschap” to describe paintings of scenery. Landscaping has now come to mean visualizing a scenic outdoor space that can include plants, hardscapes, walkways, water features, outdoor furniture, and more.
Given the wide range of elements an landscape can entail, it is natural that societies have evolved to include those who specialize in this unique form of art: landscapers.
What Does a Professional Landscaper do?
Landscapers create and maintain gardens, lawns and other outdoor areas where the aesthetics of the land are important. This may include mowing lawns, trimming overgrown plants and removing weeds. In addition to maintaining plants, landscapers may also adjust the landscape based on the clients’ specifications, measure land areas for designing outlines and install irrigation systems.
Landscapers know how to operate equipment such as mowers, trimmers, leaf blowers, chainsaws and some heavy equipment like bobcats or backhoes to dig holes and move soil as needed to complete landscaping projects.
Landscaper vs Gardener vs Landscape Designer
In some circles, the terms landscaper, gardeners, and landscape designer are used interchangeably. While a landscaper, gardener and designer all work to create and maintain attractive outdoor spaces, their jobs are not the same. Yes, there are some similarities between landscapers and gardeners, but there are also important differences and separating the three professions can be a little subjective.
It is important to understand that a landscape is more than just plants. Both landscape designers and gardeners can design a garden and create a list of plants, but it is the gardener who is responsible for caring for the plants. Likewise, landscaping and gardening both have a design, implementation and maintenance component, but gardening typically involves just plants.
The Professional Landscape Designer
As the name implies, a landscape designer works to create a landscape plan. A landscape designer may work closely with a landscaper during a project, but usually does not have much if any further contact with the landscaper once the project is completed.
While it may seem like splitting hairs to some, there is even a subset in the landscape designer space called landscape architect. A landscape designer may work on smaller residential projects whereas a landscape architect works on larger undertakings such as commercial projects.
The Professional Gardener
A gardener may be involved in the design, implementation and maintenance of a landscaping project, however, gardening focuses primarily on the plants. Gardeners are typically charged with maintaining the completed landscaping project.
Professional gardeners have specialized training in the care of plants that involves plant physiology, soil ecology, water drainage and pest management. Professional gardeners may have a bachelor or even a masters degree in horticulture or botany.
The Professional Landscaper
Landscapers are commonly charged with doing the heavy lifting to bring a project to life by implementing the vision of the landscape designer or gardener. Landscapers will dig holes for new trees, install sprinkler systems, build retaining walls, install steel landscape edging, and create a wide range of hardscapes. Professional landscapers often specialize in residential or commercial landscaping.
The objective in both residential and commercial landscaping is to create an attractive outdoor area and possibly increase the property value. Residential landscaping is done to benefit the homeowner, whereas the objective with commercial landscaping is to make the area inviting for employees and guests.
Why Hire a Landscape Pro
While it may be tempting to try to do the job yourself or hire someone with no experience to save some money, there are a number of reasons why it might be a better decision to hire a professional landscaper. Here are the main reasons to hire a professional landscaper to handle your next project:
- Big yards and big dreams almost always call for a professional landscaper. Hiring a landscaper for large projects or complex concepts will be more aligned to your vision and prevent costly landscaping mistakes.
- A landscaping project is a big undertaking and most people have neither the time nor equipment to get the job done properly and efficiently. In the long run, a professional landscaper will save you time and increase the value of your property by creating greater curb appeal.
- A professional landscaper has the experience and knowledge to get the job done right. They understand the local codes, know what plants are best for the latitude, how to handle soil issues and understand irrigation requirements.
- A professional landscaper may have access to more resources, such as qualified, trustworthy landscape designers or gardeners, to help you bring your vision to life.
Choosing a Pro Landscaper
Hiring a professional landscaper isn’t as simple as just looking online or in the Yellow Pages. Keep the following issues in mind when hiring a professional landscaper:
- Hiring an independent landscaper vs company: An independent landscaper is typically someone who works by themselves or may have a small crew. An independent landscaper may need to subcontract out parts or even all of the job, acting as a general contractor. Understand that a one-person shop can be a “company.” However, a larger landscape company will directly employ those working on your landscape project.
Both have advantages but it is important to be aware of the type of professional landscaper you hire so you can anticipate contract and work specifics.
- Be sure to get quotes from multiple professional landscapers before signing a contract. If one quote is much higher or lower than the others, dig a little deeper to find out why.
- Vet the professional landscaper before hiring by getting referrals from people you know, checking references, reading online reviews and ratings on Google, Facebook, Yelp, the Better Business Bureau and others.
- Be sure to confirm your professional landscaper has the proper credentials from local and/or state agencies. Confirm the contractor has enough liability and personal injury insurance to protect you from any possible financial issues or claims
Landscaping Specifics to Consider
There are a number of specifics to take into account before undertaking a landscaping project. Focus on the following points to get your project done on time and within your budget:
- Not sticking to a budget is one of the biggest landscaping mistakes people make. Landscaping can be one of the more expensive home improvement projects you tackle. This is why it is so critical to set a budget for your landscaping project and be sure to hire a landscaper who can bring the project in on time and on budget.
- Evaluate your landscaping needs. This includes a timeline on when you expect or need the project to be completed, the total landscape budget, the process and if the landscaper has experience with your specific type of project. You need to make sure you hire a professional landscaper who can meet your needs.
- Find out if the landscaper can work with any specific materials you want to use, such as steel landscape edging. While Colmet steel landscape edging is easy to install, chances are, if your pro has used it before, they are likely to get the job done faster.
- Understand the more decorative the items or exotic the plants you choose the greater the cost will typically be.
Know Before Your Hire
Keeping all these elements in mind when undertaking a landscape project will help you bring your vision to fruition with less hassle and greater curb appeal. The main takeaway should be to hire a competent professional landscaper with the experience you need and can work with the materials you want to use, like Colmet steel landscape edging, and do it all with your budget and timeline.
This may sound like tall order, but finding the right landscape professional for your landscape project is worth the investment. In the meantime, head on over to your local home improvement store and ask for Colmet steel landscape edging, or use our Where to Buy tool below to find a retailer near you.