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How to Hire the Perfect Landscape Contractor

A well-designed landscape can boost your property’s curb appeal and allow you to spend more time in nature. Frequent walks in natural settings have demonstrated the ability to lower both blood pressure and stress levels. Whether you want to design and install a new landscape or maintain an existing landscape, hire a landscape contractor in Sonoma County.

Experienced landscape contractors possess specialized knowledge and advanced skills to balance aesthetics and functionality in their designs. Our landscape contractors have received extensive training that enables them to identify landscaping problems and come up with innovative and effective solutions to avoid any errors. Landscape contractors vary in expertise. When seeking a trustworthy professional, you might encounter inexperienced individuals posing as experts, making grand claims without the ability to deliver. Here are some tips to choose a trustworthy landscape contractor equipped to create the garden of your dreams.

Ask Around

If someone you know has recently wrapped up a landscaping project, talk to them. Ask them if they’re satisfied with the quality of work done and whether they’d recommend the contractor or consider them in future. Here are some other questions to ask your acquaintances.

  1. Was the project completed on time and on budget? If not, why? (avoidable vs unavoidable reasons)

  2. Did any unforeseen issues arise? Did the contractor have a plan to manage them?

  3. How would you rate the professional’s communication skills? Did they have a plan to ensure seamless communication?

  4. What landscaping techniques did the contractor use?

Check Contractors’ Reputation

Before hiring a landscape contractor, check their online reputation. Go to their website and check out their portfolio. Check the contractor's social media profiles to find out what others are saying about their services. Remember to check the business’s BBB-rating and read comments on reputable independent review sites. Do a background check which involves checking company history. Don’t ignore red flags and walk away if the provider’s license was suspended due to nonconformance.

Check Licensing and Insurance

Make sure the professional you are considering is licensed and insured. To earn a contractor’s license, a landscaping professional must gain hands-on experience and demonstrate their expertise. They must pass a licensing test (conducted by the local licensing authority) that tests their skills and knowledge. Licensed contractors are expected to stay on top of landscaping trends and should commit to lifelong learning. Hiring a licensed landscaping contractor provides peace of mind, knowing your garden is in safe hands. You will also want to ensure the professional is bonded and insured. By hiring an uninsured contractor, you unknowingly expose yourself to potential liability. If someone on their team slips, trips or falls and sustains injuries while working on your property, you may be forced to bear the injured person's healthcare costs. If, on the other hand, you hire an insured landscape contractor in Sonoma County and an on-site accident causes injuries to their team, the contractor’s insurer takes care of the claim.

Check if They’re Members of Trade Associations

To become a member of a reputable trade association/industry body, a landscape contractor in Sonoma County must demonstrate their expertise. Members are expected to keep up-to-date with industry trends and upgrade their skills and improve their knowledge base regularly. At Gardenworks, we are committed to excellence. We are a member of various reputable industry bodies including the CLCA, PLANET, IA, California Native Plant Society, APLD, and ISA. Our landscaping experts follow industry news closely and are always eager to learn about evolving landscaping technology.

Get Estimates

Invite quotes from at least three different landscape contractors. A landscaping estimate should include a break-up of all costs involved and the scope of work. When evaluating an estimate, check all cost elements and do not hesitate to call the contractor’s office if you do not understand a cost element. Ask if there are any other costs involved other than the ones included in the estimate. While contractor fees are an important factor to consider when choosing a landscape contractor, do not base your decision solely on this factor. Steer clear of contractors with unreasonably low-price quotes.

Talk to Contractors’ References

Request the contractor you are considering to provide a list of references. If the professional fails to do so even after your repeated requests, it's best to discontinue the engagement. Call the contractor’s references and ask about their experience working with the professional. Here are some questions to ask landscape contractors’ references:

  1. What type of work did the professional do for you?

  2. Did the contractor’s crew show up on time?

  3. Did the contractor hire subcontractors? Can you describe your experience working with them?

  4. Were there any unwanted surprises? How did the contractor manage them?

Interview Candidates

Once you have shortlisted candidates, call their offices to schedule appointments. A preliminary consultation with a landscape contractor is your opportunity to assess their skills and understand their process. Before you meet a landscape contractor in Sonoma County for the first time, prepare a questionnaire. Here are some questions you could consider including in your questionnaire:

  1. How long have you been working in the landscaping industry?

  2. Do you foresee any challenges? How do you plan to overcome them?

  3. Are you licensed and insured?

  4. According to you, how long will my project take?

  5. What services do you offer?

  6. Who should I contact if a problem occurs?

Once you have chosen a contractor and the agreement has been drafted, go through the contract thoroughly before signing on the dotted line. Make sure the contract includes these following key points:

  1. Includes all details related to the payment schedule.

  2. States the project start and completion dates.

  3. Includes details related to materials and products to be used.

  4. Includes proof of liability insurance.

Gardenworks is a trusted landscape contractor in Sonoma County. Whether you have a relatively simple residential landscaping project or a complicated commercial landscaping project, we can manage it. To learn more, call 707-857-2050.


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