These companies offer a full range of landscape services including consultation, design, installation and maintenance. A landscape business will usually specialize in one or more areas and subcontract related installation elements such as outdoor kitchens, swimming pools, water fountains, outdoor fireplaces, and landscape lighting.
The Steps to Getting Your Landscape Started
When you decide to hire a landscape business, you typically begin with an initial discovery meeting where you have an opportunity to discuss your overall goals, control elements, design intent and the overall aesthetics. The next meeting may include landscape designs, landscape plans, permitting issues and cost studies. In providing landscape services, a good professional should work diligently to help you define the scope of your outdoor project, phasing, scheduling, coordination, selection of all materials and construction methods, and project cost.
Once you have approved the landscape design, the landscape company you selected can begin the installation. As mentioned earlier, many landscape businesses act as the general contractor and oversee the entire installation of drainage, irrigation and landscape lighting. The fees for these services vary for each landscape business; however they are normally charged as a percentage of the total cost of the work for the project. .
A landscape business will usually include all plant materials, irrigation, drainage, and landscape lighting in their contract. Once the irrigation and lighting contractors finish their work, the planting can be completed by putting in all shrubs, groundcover, and seasonal color. After this step, mulching and cleanup commence. The irrigation and lighting subcontractors then return for final adjustments and the installation is complete.
It is during the installation that the importance of tree preservation must be emphasized. Careful pre-construction activities include protective tree fencing, borer applications on sensitive trees, temporary drainage and elevated walks to protect tree roots. Proper grading and soil preparation around large trees is another delicate issue. The foresight to understand the impact of changing grades on mature trees is crucial, so make sure your landscape service company is well versed in this area of expertise.
Some homeowners want to act as general contractors for their landscaping projects in order to save money. This choice can lead to some real problems. Often confusions can arise from the misunderstanding of trade terminology, scheduling and coordination if the different phases of a project. A subcontractor will respond much better to a seasoned general contractor who understands the work to be performed and with whom they have a good relationship based on past experience. Many landscape businesses have years of experience to make sure the end results exceed your expectations.
The Art of Communication
There should be good understanding, communication and comfort level between you and the firm you hire. Remember, your attention to detail and expectations of the entire process are crucial in determining which landscape company to hire for your outdoor project
Finally, landscape maintenance is one of the most important ongoing services to insure that your investment develops into a mature and beautiful outdoor environment. A landscape business will typically include proper trimming of plant material and mowing of all lawn areas. Landscape businesses should have a methodical feeding program that boosts the varying plant health of tropical, acidic and seasonal color plants. The feeding program may also include spring and fall aeration of lawn areas with the application of fall rye grass. Water management through continual inspection of the irrigation controller, heads, and seasonal watering times is the foundation for lawn, shrub and tree health. Continual observation and diagnosis of plant pests and diseases are the last part of a complete and continually proactive maintenance program.