Tree Safety & Removal - 10 Things You Should Know »
Trimming and removing trees can be dangerous, if not deadly. Learn how to stay safe and when to call a professional.
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Trimming and removing trees can be dangerous, if not deadly. Learn how to stay safe and when to call a professional.
From vacation ideas to gardening preparation, check out our September checklist to enjoy the rest of summer and get ready for fall.
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They service were I live and WOW! Even in this drought our grass is amazingly green and the cut looks great. They were out here the other day and the crew leader was so nice and stopped his lawnmower as I walked by, and then got off to hand me something I dropped. The bushes always are cut so I can see out my window and have a nice view. I have to say they are the best company I have seen in my 5 years I have been in town. Highlights: Great Workers, Great Work, Equals Great Company
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Nature's beauty can be seen everywhere through landscape designs. Not everyone has a green thumb or the knowledge to coordinate a landscaping plan that's aesthetically pleasing and meets the unique needs of the property. Landscape contractors can help add curb appeal to the exterior of your home or strategize how plants should be laid out.
Generally, landscape contractors create or refurbish outdoor spaces by planting trees, lawns, shrubs and flowers, and constructing paths, decks and patios. These professionals will generally discuss client requirements, how the landscaped area will be used, and the client's preference for certain styles. After this initial meeting, landscapers will select the materials they need and start carrying out their construction and planting plans.
With the number and variety of properties that need landscaping services, it should come as no surprise that there are many different providers to choose from. In fact, there are nearly 500,000 active landscaping businesses in the U.S. This demand is driven by the continued growth in domestic housing markets. Steady disposable income has also been a major reason for households to outsource their yard care.
Landscaping contractors have a wide variety of techniques that they can use to spruce up your yard. Here are some of the most common landscaping attributes that you can find at most homes:
Homeowners and businesses may stray from annuals and biennials due to planning and costs associated with them - instead, look to fill your garden with perennials. These plants return every year, making them a budget-friendly option. You may choose to do a one-color floral garden or a combination of colorful perennials. Look at plants like allium, buddleia, coneflower, sage and veronica for inspiration when choosing perennials.
Homeowners can mix and match different kinds of trees to enhance their yard. Evergreens like spruce, magnolia, holly and firs keep their leaves year-round. Deciduous trees, on the other hand, have leaves that change color and fall off in colder months. Pair different types of trees together for ample yard coverage.
If you want to guide guests around your yard, try using pathways. You can dig shallow holes to make the stones flush with the ground, providing an appealing walkway. Pavers can also be arranged in geometric patterns to cover unused ground space or bare earth.
Landscape contractors can also build a structure that will enhance your yard. Perhaps you decide to put in a koi pond, or that you want to build out your patio. Landscape contractors have the knowledge, tools and design expertise to carry out these construction projects.
Homeowners and business managers should call landscaping contractors as these professionals have the tools and expertise to carry out jobs such as:
Planting Trees and Flowers
Landscapers are often called out to roll out sod as well as plant trees and flowers. These contractors have the design aesthetic to help you plan the best layout for your particular space. Landscapers can also tell you if certain plants aren't cut out for your climate. Not only will you get a beautiful yard, but you'll also have foliage that will last over the years.
Sprinkler systems are beneficial for a variety of locations, but many DIY irrigation projects can lead to incorrect installations. Some problems include poor-quality components, improper pipe sizing, too many sprinkler-heads per zone, and inadequate head spacing. These systems are difficult to install, and a DIYer can easily make mistakes. Landscape contractors can situate sprinklers methodically to maintain your plants and ensure that the irrigation system is set up correctly.
Building Retaining Walls
If you have a retaining wall or are putting one in, proper installation is crucial. Landscapers see issues like lack of proper base preparation, unattractive wall blocks, mitered cuts at corners and no drainage chimney installed behind the wall. To prevent your wall from crumbling, call a landscape contractor to construct one.
Besides putting in plants and trees, building decks and patios are the most common jobs for a landscape contractor. These professionals have the best materials and tools available to create the look that you desire. DIY projects can end with structurally unsound builds, requiring additional time and money to fix the issues. Good landscapers will ensure a solid result that melds with the rest of your landscape design.
Homeowners and contractors can draw a lot of inspiration from landscaping styles used all over the world. There are some limitations to your options, such as what plants you can use based on the climate you live in, how much space you have to work with and any homeowners-association compliance regulations. However, once you address these main areas, landscaping design is only as restricted as your imagination.
Many homeowners are starting to use the Mediterranean design style for their landscapes. This option is becoming popular around the world because it takes advantage of new varieties of palm trees and plants that conform to different climates. The diversity of this flora is what makes this approach so appealing.
Southwest Landscape Design
If you live in an arid region, this style is likely going to be the best choice for your landscaping. Using a mix of garden decor and plants, Southwest design aims to make the most of plants that retain water well and can handle dry, warm climates. Pathways, patios and lawn ornaments can help cover the space and complement available flora.
Japanese Garden Style
Japanese-style landscapes are known for providing a serene space. This design uses a number of techniques to make the area look bigger than it is and to create a calm, beautiful atmosphere.
No matter which style you choose, there are some main considerations that should go into your design. Homeowners need to anticipate equipment access needed to create a deck or patio, as some tools may be too big for the space. They will also want to start by choosing a focal point. It should stand out but still be connected to the rest of the landscape. Accenting your home with thoughtful plantings to highlight its features will add curb appeal and enhance its characteristics.
Landscape work is not cheap, so it's in your best interest to make sure that it's done to your requirements and that you get the best contractor to do the job. Consider these factors before hiring a contractor:
Every good contractor should have a list of recently completed jobs that you can see in their portfolio. They should also have a list of references that you can contact, or properties that you can see in person. Feedback from these sources can reveal necessary information about the quality of the contractor's work, dependability, responsiveness and capacity to carry out your particular project.
Certification and Memberships
Landscape contractors also should have relevant certifications from reputable programs, like Certified Landscape Technician. You should also ask for a list of professional activities, affiliations and awards to gauge interest in professional growth and commitment to excellence. Contractors may be part of the International Society of Arboriculture, The Irrigation Association and numerous other organizations that are committed to providing better training and education in the industry.
Homeowners should require that the contractor submit certificates verifying compliance with safety, insurance, workers' compensation and drug and alcohol testing programs. This will give you peace of mind that the contractor has gone through all the steps under industry regulations.
Pricing and Billing
Homeowners should know how much they'll need to pay for the contractor's service as well as how they will be billed for this work. Ask about any design fees, if quoted prices are fixed or estimates, and what the payment process will be. Clarifying these items in the beginning will prevent any surprise expenses.
States have different requirements regarding landscape-contractor operations. Check the specific regulations for your area, and verify that your contractor has the necessary licenses. These may include a state contractor's license, pesticide license, CDL driver's license and license to sell and purchase nursery stock. It's important to ensure that your landscape contractor complies with established rules before beginning your project.
When it comes to working with landscaping materials, safety must be the top priority. There is a wide range of services within the industry, many of which come with a risk of injury. Employers must conduct all required training in a language and vocabulary that workers can understand. Training must demonstrate the hazards of operating certain machinery, like stone cutters and splitters, as well as how to use them appropriately. It's important to verify that your landscape contractor has taken the necessary steps to fully train its personnel and that the appropriate safety precautions are in place.