A properly landscaped yard or garden can enhance the beauty of your home, provide a great place for outdoor relaxation for you and your family, and increase the curb appeal and value of your property.
While everyone likes to spend time outdoors, designing and maintaining a great landscape requires skill, time, and muscle. Your geographical location, the nature of the soil, and the time and effort needed to maintain the yard are important details to consider when working on the landscaping.
1. What Does a Landscaper Do?
Landscape contractors are the pros to call when it’s time to design, plan, and implement a new hardscape, lawn, or garden installation. From grading the surface of the yard to installing a drainage or sprinkler system, building a patio, planting flowers and shrubs, and seeding the lawn, landscape contractors have the equipment and skills to complete the job.
An independent designer may prepare plans for a contractor to work from, and in some cases, a landscape contractor may hire specialized subcontractors to complete some phases of the project.
Landscapers and contractors also provide lawn and garden maintenance, from mowing, trimming and weeding, to planting, fertilizing, and seeding. Maintenance options often vary by season and location; services such as snow removal, water dock removal and installation, and yard and gutter cleaning are jobs a landscaper may handle in your area.
2. Why Hire a Landscaper?
Whether your landscaping project is to establish the yard at a newly built home, bring new life to a tired outdoor space, or just to keep things neat and healthy with regular maintenance, it can be time-consuming and labor-intensive work. A landscape contractor or lawn care provider has the expertise, manpower, and equipment needed to get the job done right--and fast.
In addition to sparing you a sunburn and a sore back, pros know what plants, trees, and shrubs will flourish at your home as well what it will take to keep them looking great. Hiring a pro to handle your landscaping installation or maintenance can help ensure that your yard looks fantastic all year.
3. Characteristics of an Experienced Landscaper
A great landscape designer should be creative and imaginative, and have an in-depth knowledge of plants and soil that is relevant to your area. A designer should have the vision and skill to blend the various elements of your yard, from water features and hardscape to trees, shrubs, lawn, and flowers, and will consider the conditions and features of your yard to plan a sustainable landscape.
Landscape contractors should also be skilled in the care and handling of various plants, accommodating or modifying soil and drainage conditions, and the methods and materials used to construct or repair various landscape features. A good landscape contractor or lawn care provider will take care to protect the health of the lawn and plantings as well as their appearance, and will educate clients about the maintenance requirements of the installation.
When it comes to completing the work, a quality pro will have all the equipment needed to get the job done correctly, as well as the skills needed to complete each aspect of the project. If a provider’s crew doesn’t have what’s needed for the job, a trusted subcontractor will be brought in to handle specialized tasks, such as building masonry features, installing sprinkler systems, or planting mature trees.
Since a beautiful yard is the pride and joy of most homeowners, a great landscaper will have excellent reviews from other customers. Be sure to ask providers for references or photos of their work so you can see their work for yourself and find out what others think of their services and professionalism.
4. Importance of Finding a Quality Landscaper
In order to have a great looking lawn or garden, you need to find a great landscaper. Planning and maintaining a landscape design requires consideration of the design and architectural features of the home, the type of soil in the yard, the natural features of the land, local climatic conditions, the style you prefer, the type of plants involved, and the time and money you are willing to spend to maintain the landscaped garden. A quality professional will design, build, or maintain the area to meet your preferences and budget and to accommodate local conditions.
5. Signs of a Poor Landscaper
Accommodating local and site conditions is essential to the success of a landscaping project. If a contractor or designer provides a plan or bid without first examining your land and testing the soil, it may indicate a lack of skill, experience, or professionalism.
Additionally, if the landscaper suggests plants and shrubs that will not thrive without extensive care, that are not in keeping with the design style you prefer, or that are not common in your area, you could end up with a yard that fails or is very difficult to maintain.
Poor landscapers may have little regard for your goals. If pros discourages you from the style, services, or features you have in mind or does not discuss maintenance requirements with you, it may be a sign that they lack the skills to implement or maintain them, or are unwilling to hire subcontractors to complete the job.
6. Types of Jobs for a Landscaper
Landscaping pros offer a wide range of services, from design to maintenance and everything in between.
- Hardscape: Adding structure to a yard or garden can define its style and function. A landscape contractor can build or install the patio, deck, walls, or other features it will take to bring everything together.
- Lawn Mowing: Leaving mowing and basic maintenance in the hands of a pro keeps your lawn looking perfect without costing you your weekends.
- Softscape: Adding flowering plants, shrubs, and trees brings life and character to any yard or garden. A pro can help you choose plants that will complement your home and yard, and that will flourish in your location.
- Sprinkler System Repair: A sprinkler system can be essential for maintaining the health of your lawn or garden. When it’s out of service, a landscaping pro can get it up and running in no time.
- Yard Clean-Up:Whether a one-time job or part of seasonal maintenance, cleaning up your yard is important to keep it neat and healthy, as well as safe for your family. A pro can make quick work of removing leaves, limbs, weeds, and other debris.
- Tree and Shrub Maintenance: Pruning, trimming, and other care can protect the health of both new and established trees and shrubs, and a pro knows the right technique for various plants.
In addition to common yard work and installation projects, landscape designers, contractors, and maintenance pros can help with planning a new landscape, improving drainage, installing landscape lighting, and planting or removing trees. Visit our Landscaping Services page to find out how qualified pros can make the most of your yard or garden.
7. What is the Cost to Hire a Landscaper?
Since landscaping services can be very broad in scope, the cost of hiring a pro really depends on the scale and nature of the job. A designer may charge an hourly fee of $50 to $150 to plan your dream garden, while a contractor will bid an installation or renovation as a whole, based on the time, equipment, materials, and manpower involved.
Mowing and maintenance services are often charged at a flat rate, but the size of the yard, the frequency of service, and the tasks required will all influence the price of the job and could make the difference between $30 and $150 for a service visit.
To find out more about the requirements and costs of various landscaping services and to see how yours may compare, visit our Landscaping Home Guides.
8. Find Local Landscapers
Whether you need help to transform your entire yard or just to keep up on the mowing, we can help you connect with landscapers in your neighborhood. We’ll match you with the most qualified providers, then you can compare their profiles and choose a few to contact for pricing. We have already verified each pro’s credentials, so you can save some time finding a trusted pro to care for your yard.