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Keeping your home landscape beautiful with healthy plants that are consistently maintained can boost your home’s curb appeal. While you may have a vision of what you want your yard and garden to look like, a specialist can help ensure that you put your plants in the right locations for optimal life, health, and beauty. Gardeners and landscape architects can help you create and maintain a perfect home landscape and garden.
Understanding the Differences Between Landscape Architects and Gardeners
A landscape architect and a gardener offer differing services.
While a gardener can design and add to your home garden’s features, they mainly specialize in maintaining and caring for gardens and doing basic yard work. They do not typically offer full landscaping capabilities.
A landscape architect specializes in creating the perfect landscape for your garden or yard. They help you design and implement your plan. They will not help you maintain and care for your garden once it’s finalized.
How to Know if You Need a Landscape Architect or Gardener
Before you hire someone, it’s important to determine whether you need a landscape architect or a gardener.
Some of us just don’t have the “green thumb” needed to keep plants alive. Others do wonderfully at maintaining plants, but they don’t have time to plan out their garden space.
If you have a blank space and want to create a garden, hire a landscape architect. But if you already have a garden and just don’t have the time to water and maintain it, a gardener is the one to call.
How to Find a Landscape Architect or Gardener
Once you have determined that you need either a gardener or a landscape architect, or perhaps both, it’s time to start researching. Don’t stop at the first name you see; take your time and find a qualified professional who you can work well with. Follow these steps to find a landscape architect or gardener:
Step 1: Ask around. Coworkers, family members, and friends are great resources for locating a gardener or landscape architect who is reliable and qualified. In addition, you can visit your local plant nursery; they may have several recommendations for qualified professionals.
Step 2: Go online. Of course, you can also find new options online. One quick way to start your search is to Google “find a gardener near me” or “find a landscape architect near me” and see what options pop up.
If you want to find your service provider through a company or agency that helps with the vetting process, check out some of these websites:
Step 3: Check out candidates. Use the web to check customer reviews. Online reviews can tell you a lot about the quality of service.
While one bad review may just signal someone having an off day, several negative reviews and those that mention similar issues shouldn’t be ignored. Utilize websites such as Yelp.com and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to do additional research on potential providers.
In addition to checking reviews, take the time to research your potential gardener or landscape architect’s background. Find out if they have attended horticulture school and how long they have been in business.
Step 4: Ask for bids. If you are planning a landscaping project, ask for bids from at least a few landscape architects. Remember, price isn’t the only factor you should consider; greater experience can result in a higher quality of work.
How to Hire a Landscape Architect or Gardener
Once you have found your ideal landscape architect or gardener, it’s time to begin the hiring process:
Step 1: Be prepared. When hiring a landscape architect, if you have an idea of what you would like, be prepared with images and notes. Go online and find examples of a landscaping design you like or plants that you prefer. Otherwise, consider letting your landscape architect have free rein (within a budget) to come up with something you might not have been able to imagine yourself.
When hiring a gardener, be sure you know exactly what you need them to do, from watering or trimming plants to making executive decisions on replacing items. The more extensive your garden and the less you wish to care for it, the more often you’ll need to have a gardener drop by.
The more the gardener or landscape architect knows about your needs, the better they can assess if they are able to help and how much the cost may be for their services.
Step 2: Try a trial. Some gardeners will require a contract for a certain time period, while others will offer labor on a service-to-service or month-to-month basis. When hiring a gardener, it is possible to ask for a trial run.
Before you sign a long-term contract, be sure you are going to be happy with the work they provide.
Step 3: Consider an interview. When hiring a landscape architect or gardener for more extensive work than just a weekly trim and watering, consider conducting interviews with a few potential providers.
These are people you will be working with on an ongoing basis, and they will be either caring for or changing the look of your home. You should feel comfortable with them and be able to communicate clearly with them.
Step 4: Ask for paperwork. As with most service providers, make sure they are licensed as required by your state or local jurisdiction.
Depending on where you live, gardeners may or may not be required to have a license. This typically revolves around the use of pesticides or construction. Check for proof of insurance; insured gardeners may charge more, but the extra expense can be worthwhile in case of damages.
Step 5: Sign a contract. When working with a gardener or landscape architect, it is important that both parties sign a contract for services and expectations. Make sure that you fully read any contract that you sign; ensure that it includes any guarantees, as well as resolutions for any damages or issues that may occur.
Ensure that you hire a qualified service provider to protect the investment you have made in your home. Help beautify your property by taking the time to research and vet anyone before you hire them.