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Seven Tips for Selecting and Working with a Landscape Professional

1. If the company is installing plant material, check to make sure they have a nursery inspection certificate from your state’s Department of Agriculture.  This ensures that the plant material they are providing has been grown in a nursery and not dug up from the wild.

2.  Verify that the landscaping company you hire has a federal identification number.  If not, you are probably not dealing with a legitimate business.
3.  Interview several professionals and ask for references!  Directly checking with other customers—and inspecting the company’s work, where possible—is one of the best things a consumer can do to protect him or herself.  Many landscaping companies have portfolios of their work that typically include before and after pictures of the spaces they’ve worked on.  These are a great substitute for seeing things first hand.

4.  Conduct a general assessment of the company representative’s professionalism.  Did he or she arrive on time, take photographs and measurements, or draw sketches of your property and yard while they were there?  Consider these signs of things to come.

5.  Help them.  Be honest about the amount of money you intend to spend on the landscaping project, and provide documents like property surveys to make their work easier and better.

6.  Get an itemized list of the plant materials and sizes that will be included in the project.  With this as a guide, learn what type and level of maintenance the newly planted items will require.

7.  Negotiate a start and end date for the project.  If the landscape company doesn’t automatically include it in the contract, make sure they add it.  Of course, reasonable allowances should be made for unforeseen circumstances such as extended bad weather.

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