News For This Month: Maintenance

Considerations for Picking a Landscape Designer It’s not hard to find a landscape designer, but to find the right one needs a little homework. Start by asking your friends, relatives or neighbors for referrals. Explore the web as well or look in your phone book. When you have a number of names, visit their websites and take a lok at some of their projects. You can also go to your local nurseries and ask for recommendations. Of course, you should meet your prospects in person, so give them a ring and ask them to come view your yard. Obviously, this is going to be crucial, since no accurate estimate can be made by anyone who hasn’t actually looked at your property. However, you need to give them a list of your expectations so they can begin to plan on the right footing. It’s one thing to view pictures of their projects online, and it’s another to actually be there and look at ongoing projects onsite. Make sure their style is a good match to yours. Most probably, they will give you pictures, but again, seeing their work onsite is still the best. As with any other type of contractor, you should get a bid before proceeding. This is another reason you need to be clear about your expectations. When looking for a landscape designer, one of the worst mistakes you can make is asking for references but not following up. Ring them! Generally though, you will rarely talk to references who are dissatisfied clients. But they can still give many useful insights, especially as you try to iron out the details of the contact.
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Before you choose a particular landscape designer, you have to be aware of the type of professional you’re planning to hire. Simply put, check licensing and insurance information. A licensed designer is someone who has passed government exams, and an insured designer is someone who’ll have you covered in case they accidentally damage your or your neighbor’s property during the job. And be sure they will apply for the required permits or at least help you get them. If anyone says they’re not important, be done with them.
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If you think you’ve found the landscape designer for you, have a written contract for the job. Details on cost, payment mode, materials and labor, timeline and warranties should all be included. Don’t pay everything in advance. Also explore the possibilities in case there will be changes. How much delay is acceptable under certain conditions, such as the weather turning bad? Can there be some leeway in terms of material costs? Know all the details behind the warranty, particularly what is covered and until when. In case the fountain breaks, for example, whom should you call? It’s apparent that a landscape project is more than just about the appearance of the final product. To get there, you also need to give the job your time and attention.

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