How to choose a landscape contractor

August 25, 2016

It is a common misconception that landscaping is something anyone can do. Unfortunately, we know way too many people that have had nightmare stories from working with the wrong people or even trying to DIY not knowing the skills necessary for the job.

Construction skills are typically focused and specialized and everyone has a strength and weakness.

You wouldn’t hire a plumber to install your roof would you?

Paver deck installation

Paver deck installation- some materials require a much higher level of precision.

Landscaping is not inexpensive, you owe it to yourself to invest wisely.

Knowing what you don’t know is the first step. We select contractors for our projects based on skill set and expertise. Some contractors are better working with natural stone while others excel working with man-made materials like pavers.

Stone veneer installed by a specialized mason.

Stone veneer installed by a specialized mason (not just anyone can get stone to curve like that)

Every project is different and requires different skills. Selecting someone with the best skills for the job is very important. If there is a portion of the project they are not equipped to handle it is important to know that they have a sub-contractor that they can rely on to fill in that gap.

Parasoleil and cedar privacy screen.

Parasoleil and cedar privacy screen- the craftsmanship can be seen in the subtle details.

What to know when selecting a contractor:

  1. What is their comfort level and skill level for the type of project?
  2. Have you seen examples of their work?
  3. What elements will need to be sub-contracted out and is that contractor the best fit for the task?
  4. What their expertise is and the type of work they excel at?
  5. Are they licensed, bonded, and insured for that type of work?
  6. Do they have the labor force and equipment to handle the project?
  7. What is their warranty?
  8. Who will be the primary point of contact?

    Woodinville side yard vegetable garden

    Drystacked stone planter- it takes patience and an artistic eye

Too overwhelming? Hopefully you have started with a design for your project. Most designers either have preferred contractors they work with or can make a recommendation. Working with a designer through the construction phase of your project can take some of the guesswork out of hiring a contractor and provide the needed level of hand-holding through the process while working as your advocate to get the best possible outcome. It is always nice to have someone on your side that knows the right questions to ask and the right things to look for!


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