Have you ever heard of the “Olmsted Medal?” The prestigious “Olmsted Medal” is handed out by the American Society of Landscape Architects. It gives kudos to the memory of Frederick Law Olmsted, who is considered to be the father of the American landscape architecture profession.
Similar to any contractor, landscapers may belong to a professional organization that honors experts in the field. As we stated above, the ASLA is one such association. Another one is The Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD). While membership in an organization is a plus, it shouldn’t be the end-all in your search. Beyond things like professional cred, you want to ask if they have a license from the State Ag Department.
Occasionally there’s a natural way to control pests. Ask your potential landscape artist what can be done to limit insect infestation without chemicals.
What if while the hired landscaper is beautifying your property and gets hurt? Do they and everyone that works with them have insurance? Are they bonded?
Many people are unaware that if a landscaper uses a banned product on your property, the EPA will levy fines and other penalties. The landscaper won’t have to deal with the punishment, you will. Ask if all substances are within local, state and federal guidelines for use.
This is another “before you sign the contract” tidbit of advice. Ask the landscaper how toxic the stuff is that they’re spritzing or sprinkling on your land. What are the long-term repercussions of the materials they use? Are there any substitutes? What’s the cost difference?
After they’ve finished the job, the work begins to turn sour. What type of follow-up will they perform after completing the task? Since landscaping consists mostly of living things, living things occasionally don’t do what they’re supposed to do. Example: They die, unless they’re rocks.
You want to get a clearly written warranty for all the beautiful work. Will you have to pay for what’s suddenly going bad? Even when you buy a tree and plant it yourself, most reputable sellers will allow you to return it during a certain period of time.
It wouldn’t hurt to talk to some of the folks they use as references before you sign a contract.
A meme that Mom always used is “Make sure you clean-up after yourself.” Same holds for any kind of contractor. Big branches, leaves or other effluvia should be bagged it and carted away. Grass clippings may be an exception. Properly mulched, the left-over cuttings can actually be good for the lawn’s diet.
The lawn and yard has already been treated for bugs earlier in the year. But you’ve just seen a mole cricket in the middle of summer. One mole cricket.
Don’t assume the whole neighborhood is being plagued by this critter. Ask your contractor if another dose of insecticide is necessary. Just remember: Over-treating the situation can sometimes be worse than the cure.
Occasionally there’s a natural way to control pests. Ask your potential landscape artist what can be done to limit insect infestation without chemicals. It’s good for your property. And the least amount of poison you encounter the better it is for you, too.