Backyard Beautiful: How to Find the Best Landscape Contractor
Photo by Vitolda Klein
Originally Posted On: https://www.franzwitte.com/blog/backyard-beautiful-find-the-best-landscape-contractor
Research shows that nearly 50% of Americans use their yard for entertaining or recreation at least once a month. 77% of people use their yard for personal relaxation, and 32% visit their garden several times a week.
For the average homeowner, this means that landscaping services have never been more important. Whether you use your lawn to host epic backyard parties or children’s play dates, you need a beautiful and functional space to call your own.
Finding the right contractor means finding a team you can trust. A team who will take the time to listen and come up with a plan that turns your vision into reality – so you can spend less time stressing about your yard, and more time enjoying it. That’s why it’s important to connect with the best landscape contractor in your region.
Here are a few of our top tips to help you distinguish a reputable local contractor from the pack. We’ll also share how to secure their services to keep your yard in top condition!
What Does a Landscape Contractor Do?
The short answer is that a qualified landscape contractor can perform a wide range of services, all designed to help your yard look great.
Did you just finish building a residential or commercial property? If so, your contractor can help you design a gorgeous landscape from scratch. At the same time, this expert is also well-versed in helping to turn existing backyards from drab and uninspiring into the peaceful oasis you’ve always dreamed of having.
Pruning Your Options: Top 10 Ways to Find the Best Landscape Contractor
In your quest to have the best yard on the block, how can you make sure you’re teaming with the right landscape company? This is an important decision and investment, and you don’t want to rush into it and miss red flags along the way.
There are a few steps you can take to bypass the sub-par or unscrupulous companies and head straight to the best local resource. Below are 10 of our top tips.
1. Ask Friends and Family Members
Great yards get people talking! Ask around to see if anyone you know has used an excellent landscape contractor in the past. If so, who did they hire, and would they recommend them? You can use this feedback to help generate a short list of local options.
In addition, you can also expand your search by taking your inquiry to social media. Use a tool such as Facebook Recommendations to ask your online community to share their opinions on local landscape services in your area. This can be a great way to hear from a more diverse group of homeowners who can help point you in the right direction.
Rather than simply asking who your friends recommend, ask why they prefer a certain team.
Are they especially prompt with their services? Are their crew members polite and professional? These are seemingly small details that can turn a mediocre experience into an incredible one, and it’s important to ask about them.
2. Read Online Reviews
In 2020, most qualified landscape contractors will have at least some level of online presence. Use this to your advantage as you research the best one near you.
Start your search by checking out the contractor’s website. Here, many companies will add a separate web page to showcase reviews and testimonials from satisfied past clients. If your contractor has such a section, click there and read through the comments.
If there is not a separately designated review page, you can always search for the company name on Google, which should pull up their online business profile in the Google My Business (GMB) database. On any GMB profile, you can learn key details about a company, including their contact information, hours of operation, and physical location.
In addition, these profiles also allow clients to leave reviews and comments about their experience with the company. This is another place to hear from people who have used these services in the past. While you don’t necessarily need to base your entire decision on outside reviews and recommendations, these should factor into your final selection.
3. Consider Your Budget
It’s easy to look at pictures of pristine backyards online and start conjuring up your ideal landscape. Yet, as you dream, don’t forget to keep your overall budget in mind.
In general, it’s wise to be wary of contractors who offer an incredibly low price on their services. While you shouldn’t have to go into major debt to get your yard in great condition, this is an industry where quality and price typically correlate. If a company advertises a price that seems too good to be true, that’s because it probably is. Remember, value is not the same as price!
Look for a company that offers a competitive, yet realistic price for the services that you’re requesting.
To clearly understand your financial obligation, it’s best to request an estimate on the services you need. While you should never feel pressured to agree to hire a company based on this estimate, it can help you define your budget more accurately.
At the same time, an estimate should never be considered a fixed-price quote. Until the landscaper visits your property and assesses the scope of your project, it can be difficult to ascertain the exact level of service you will require. As such, credible companies will help walk you through these initial phases to better understand your needs.
Our estimation process includes a short questionnaire that allows you to provide details on your project type, as well as the type of work needed and your budget range. You can also provide a longer description of your requirements using the text box provided.
As you crunch the numbers, remember that a beautiful and well-maintained yard is an investment that can last a lifetime!
4. Ask to See Past Projects
Online reviews are helpful, but if they aren’t delivering the confidence you need to make a decision, you can contact the landscape contractors on your list directly and request references or pictures of jobs done for past clients.
The prospective contractor should have plenty of images to send that showcase their work. It’s all too easy for dishonest companies to advertise their expertise without any real experience to back up their claims. Images are irrefutable evidence that the team can deliver on your expectations and provide you with the lawn of your dreams.
Many companies will have online galleries that allow you to browse these images yourself. As you scroll through, ask yourself if the landscape design matches your personal aesthetic and style. Most companies are flexible and can accommodate a range of requests, but it helps to know what elements (such as fountains and patio spaces) you prefer, as well as those you don’t.
In addition, our Garden Center is built to help you find any type of plant you could want, from tiny succulents and houseplants to towering shade trees. Here, you can also find outdoor pottery and decor, topsoil, compost and mulch, as well as our own, custom-mixed potting soil-Blooming Sensations® that’s rich with the nutrients your plants need to thrive.
Don’t commit to a company and sign on the dotted line until you’re absolutely certain that they can provide the full extent of services that your yard requires. Otherwise, you may wind up hiring more than one company to get the entire job done. Over time, this can leave you overwhelmed, delayed, and paying more out of pocket than you expected.
5. Consider the Location and Range of Services
Does every landscaping company on your short list of options provide the same level of service? Or, are some just skilled in one area with limited experience in other important skills such as irrigation, hardscapes or water features?
We’re proud of our team’s ability to handle almost every landscaping need, with services that include:
- Full-scale design and installation
- Planting and irrigation
- Paver walkways and patios
- Water Features
- Outdoor kitchens and fire-pits
- Pergolas and gazebos
- Many others
If you need your plants delivered or installed, we can do so! Looking for a designer to help you choose the right plants to beautify your yard? We’ve got you covered there, too.
Each contractor should have a page on their website that describes the different kinds of services they provide. If you have any questions, reach out to the team to make sure they can handle the work you need performed.
If you’re in the Treasure Valley area, you’ll love and appreciate the convenience of our local presence. We have locations in both Boise (moving to West Nampa soon) and McCall, serving the latter for more than 10 years.
During this time, we’ve built strong relationships all over town and are proud of our local partnerships. We also operate a retail and wholesale nursery, where we offer top-quality plant material especially suited to thrive in the region’s mountainous climate.
In addition, we’re excited about our upcoming, new location in Nampa, ID! Our new site will be strategically located near Eagle, Star, Middleton, Caldwell, and Meridian, allowing us to serve our community well and expand our reach. This new location will house our landscape and maintenance teams and will also showcase a year-round garden center for public browsing!
6. Understand Team Credentials
While you’re speaking to the landscape contractor’s representative, ask about the team members who will be visiting your property. These experts should be skilled in every aspect of landscaping and uphold the principles and goals of the company.
One way you can discern some of these details is by visiting the company’s “About Us” or “Team” page. Here, you can often learn more information about each crew member, such as their years of experience in the industry or their specific job role within the company.
Our team is composed of landscape designers, project managers and installers who have the tools, knowledge and training required to ensure your complete satisfaction.
In addition to being skilled ourselves, we also take the time to help you understand your yard. Our team regularly hosts classes on a wide variety of different landscaping-related subjects so you can help keep your yard looking great all year long.
7. Check Business Accreditation
Is the landscape company you’re considering recognized as an accredited business by the Better Business Bureau (BBB)? If you’re unsure, then you can find out the answer in a few clicks.
The BBB makes it easy to search by business name and other details to make sure you’re partnering with a credible, industry-recognized provider. We’re proud of our A+ rating on BBB and have been accredited since 1992!
Most accredited businesses will display the BBB logo on their website. If you can’t locate it, it’s worth calling to ask. This is an easy way to verify the reputation of a business, as well as read any reviews or complaints that have been issued against it.
In addition to their BBB rating, any reputable company should also be able to show you a copy of its business license, as well as their insurance policies. These documents demonstrate their credibility and can help you feel more confident about hiring them to work on your property.
8. Know What You Want
One of the best ways to make sure you’re satisfied with your final landscaping project is to be clear in your expectations.
Before you dive into the laborious work of searching for the best local provider, take the time to sketch out the results that you want to see. If you aren’t confident in your ability to draw out the plans, then you can always search online for inspiration and show those images to your contractor. Try starting your search in a visual gallery such as Pinterest or Houzz, where you can find millions of images of dream lawns sure to spark your imagination!
As you browse, keep the end vision in mind. This can help you more clearly dictate what you ultimately expect. Instead of simply saying, “I want a beautiful yard”, consider how you define “beautiful” and what features you most want to see.
For instance, do you expect the contractor to install gorgeous, color flower beds in your backyard? Do you want to add sod to your front yard or install a fire pit near your patio? Even the most well-respected expert in this space will have a challenging time creating the perfect solution if there are very few details to go by.
As much as you can, be specific about your intentions and clear about the way you want your lawn to look. This helps the team you hire be as efficient and responsive to your needs as possible.
9. Inquire About Years of Operation
Yes, everyone has to start somewhere. However, do you really want to trust your highly prized lawn to an inexperienced landscaper?
Ask each company representative how long they’ve been in business and use this as a gauge of their industry presence. At Franz Witte, we’ve been honing our craft for 49 wonderful years, and look forward to keeping this momentum up far into the future.
When you partner with a company that’s been around for a while and still has a great reputation, you can rest assured that you’ll receive quality services. Yet, it’s important to not to hinge your entire decision on this factor.
A lengthy industry timeline doesn’t necessarily mean that a given contractor is an expert. To stay credible, the team must have also changed and adapted its practices over time to suit modern preferences and meet new safety guidelines. Ask each contractor about the tools and technologies they use and make sure they’re up to the job.
How is the Franz Witte team embracing the Digital Age? We’re preparing to offer a new and improved online ordering service in the near future! Soon, you’ll be able to order and purchase a variety of our products with just a few clicks, including:
- Shade trees
- Flowering trees
- Screen and privacy plants
- Bagged materials
- Bulk items
- Garden decor and gift items
- House plants
This is just one example of our dedication to customer service and our commitment to grow as our community does. We are continuously perfecting our craft and looking for new ways to innovate our service offerings and deliver an incredible customer experience.
10. Evaluate Interactions and Interviews
Once you’ve narrowed down your contractor options to only a few, you can visit each prospect in person to learn more about the company and take a tour of their facilities.
Not only is this a great way to see their services up close, but it also allows you to assess the rapport that you have with each team. Sit down with each team leader and conduct a brief interview to understand the company to a greater degree. As you do, take note of how the interaction makes you feel.
Are the crew members warm and friendly or is the environment cold and stuffy? Do you feel comfortable asking a range of questions or do you sense that the contractor would rather wax poetic about their expertise than listen to your concerns?
This is an important investment, and the right partnership can last as long as you own the property. As such, you should feel free to ask questions and request more details as often as you’d like. If you feel ignored or mistreated in any way, there are myriad other options and it’s smart to continue your search elsewhere.
Find the Landscaping Services You Need Today
At Franz Witte, we know how important your yard is. That’s why we treat it like it’s our own.
From our design and installation support to our landscape management services, we’re capable of meeting any need you have for your lawn, as well as any dream. We’ll work with you directly to make sure we completely understand your vision and exceed your expectations as we bring it to life.
Along the way, we’ll also help you outfit your property with the tools and equipment you need to perform at-home maintenance and beautification as required. Your yard is your home’s first impression, and we want to make sure that reputation precedes you in the best way possible!
Reach out to our team to request an estimate or learn more about the services we provide! This next step is an important one, and we’re ready to take it together.