20 Things You Need to Know Before Hiring a Landscaper

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    COPYRIGHT NOTICE

    20 Things You Need to Know Before Hiring a Landscaper

    LEGAL NOTICE 2011 BeAwareEarly.com. All rights reserved.

    The Publisher has strived to be as accurate and complete as possible in the creation of this manual, notwithstanding the fact that he

    does not warrant or represent at any time that the contents within are accurate due to the rapidly changing nature of the Internet.

    While all attempts have been made to verify information provided in this publication, the Publisher assumes no responsibility for

    errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein. Any perceived slights of specific persons, peoples, or

    organizations are unintentional.

    In practical advice books, like anything else in life, there are no guarantees of income made. Readers are cautioned to reply on their

    own judgment about their individual circumstances to act accordingly.

    This manual is not intended for use as a source of legal, business, accounting or financial advice. All readers are advised to seek

    services of competent professionals in legal, business, accounting, and finance field.

    You are encouraged to print this book for easy reading.

    BeAwareEarly.com not affiliated with any brands or companies on this reports.

    Each company holds its own copyright

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    Table of Contents

    Description Page No.

    Introduction 4 5

    What services do landscape contractors provide 5 7

    Tips to where do you start your landscape project 7 10The Low maintenance landscape. 10

    Developing a landscape plan... 11

    Eight simple tips to create an easy-care yard.. 12 21

    Expert advice for best landscape.. 21 - 26

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    Introduction..

    Landscape contractors help to build your dream landscape. A landscape

    contractor is a specialty contractor who provides the materials and

    services needed to construct landscapes; or provides the management

    and maintenance needed to keep projects in prime condition after

    implementation. Presently, there are approximately 70,000 landscape

    companies that employ educated, motivated, and qualified people with

    a diversity of interests and goals. The landscape industry is evolving by

    utilizing the newest computer technologies, modern business practices,

    and by employing educated personnel with the skills to increase the

    breadth of the industry.

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    Landscape contractors usually have experience and knowledge of local

    conditions, such as weather and soil that can affect the outcome of

    landscape projects. They also often have knowledge of specialchallenges presented by a locale where they are working.

    In this e-Book you will find more than 20 things you need to know

    before getting the services of a Landscaper. They come from different

    stages on where to start, how to develop and maintain your landscape.

    What Services do Landscape Contractors Provide?

    Landscape contractors are licensed within their state to assist clients

    with:

    The construction or installation of all hardscape landscape elements

    (built materials such as walkways, plazas, gazebos, retaining walls,

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    trellises, fences, irrigation pipes, sculptures, arbors, lighting, and

    fountains).

    The installation of all softscape landscape elements (natural

    materials including all plants, soils, mulches, compost).

    Provide maintenance to installed landscapes such as weed control,plantings, pruning, fertilizing, mowing, mulching, watering, and pest

    control.

    Submit bids for contracting work and providing estimates.

    Hiring or managing subcontractors (such as painting, electricians,

    etc.)

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    Obtain necessary building permits.

    Landscape management and maintenance plans

    Solve site drainage or hydrology problems.

    Tips to Where Do You Start your Landscaping Project:

    You will want to determine the scope of services that are requiredbefore you engage a landscape contractor. Here are a few items to

    consider before you proceed:

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    What is My Scope of Work?

    Determine exactly the services needed for your property and make a

    list of all items. For maintenance issues, define what duties are to be

    performed in what areas. How often does the grass need to be

    mowed? How often should the shrubs be pruned? When should

    annuals be replaced and how often?

    Create or Obtain a Map of the Property.

    It is helpful to have a plan of the property so that areas may be readily

    identified. Often, a copy of the property plat that you received when

    you purchased your house is sufficient to give to the contractor.

    What is My Budget?

    For new landscape construction, determine your total budget for the

    project. For maintenance, establish what the monthly or yearly fees

    you can afford.

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    How Do I Find a Landscape Contractor?

    Recommendations from friends, local nurseries, garden centers or by

    local landscape architects are a good way to find a landscape

    contractor. Also, many landscape contractors belong to their national

    landscape professional network.

    It is recommended to interview several companies to review their

    pricing structure, experience, training, suitability, and time availability.Ask if you can visit sites they have worked with to review their work,

    or for a list of references. Check to make sure they are licensed in the

    state, and if they have workers compensation and liability insurance.

    Also be sure to ask how they guarantee their work and for how long.

    Once you have decided upon a contractor, get a written contract. Thecontract should specify what you wish to have done, the estimated

    costs, and the date of completion. Sometimes changes or additions

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    may be made during the work, so be clear what the additional costs

    may be.

    The Low Maintenance Landscape

    With today's busy lifestyles, homeowners are seeking ways to reduce

    maintenance in the home landscape. The creation of a low maintenance

    landscape requires proper planning and making wise choices. Thisincludes the identification of areas that require a more manicured look

    and noting areas that are not as important to heavily maintain. There

    are a number of alternative choices of landscape building materials,

    plant types, design strategies, and ways to reduce effort and expense.

    The best place to begin the low maintenance landscape is to develop aplan for your property.

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    Developing a landscape plan

    By creating a landscape plan, you can identify the areas of the yard that

    best serve as public, private or service uses. The easiest way to develop

    a plan is to obtain a copy of your property plan. With the use of a copy

    machine, you can enlarge the plan to a size that you can work with in

    detail. Make several copies of the enlarged plan for alternative designs.

    If you do not have an existing property plan, you may consider hiring a

    surveyor to locate the boundaries, building and pavement, and tree

    locations on your property.

    On a copy of your enlarged property plan, you can designate areas or

    zones of landscape use. Prioritize areas of importance, such as the front

    door entry, street views, and courtyard or patio areas as places to focusyour landscape efforts. Areas that are not heavily utilized, such as

    storage areas, back property edges, fence lines and work areas can be

    designed for low maintenance options.

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    Eight simple tips to create an easy-care yard:

    Although there is no such thing as a no-maintenance landscape, here

    are a few suggestions to minimize excessive landscape care.

    1. Reduce the total amount of unused lawn area.

    Beautiful lawns are expensive and high-maintenance landscape items. Inaddition to the mowing, rolling, watering, fertilizing, liming, pesticides

    and fungicides, thatching, and herbicides that are used to maintain a

    healthy lawn, lawn edging and raking can consume an extraordinary

    amount of time and expense. Maintaining proper play and open lawn

    space are important criteria for many homeowners, yet reducingunused lawn portions can save much on required care and

    maintenance. Easy to care for trees, shrubs and groundcovers are

    excellent alternatives to excessive open lawn space. This may be

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    achieved by herbiciding the unwanted existing lawn area, planting in

    low care woody plant species, and placing a thick groundcover layer of

    mulch. The first few years may require extra weeding and care, but asthe trees and shrubs establish themselves a once a year cleanup will be

    all that is required.

    2. Use quality, long-lasting landscape materials.

    As you select or replace the types of structural features in yourlandscape, choose materials that do not require frequent replacement.

    Sidewalks, patios, decks, fences, steps, driveways, seating structures,

    trellis and gazebos, and furniture items should be selected for

    durability. A concrete or brick patio will last between 20-30 years,

    whereas a wooden or brick on sand patio may need replacing every 5-8years. Recycled plastic lumber has a much longer life span and reduced

    painting or staining need than traditional treated wood for fences,

    decks and steps. Concrete, brick or stone edging blocks will last much

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    longer than landscape timbers or railroad ties for bed edgings. Also, the

    use of mowing strips (concrete or brick pavers placed at the ground

    level) may be used for bed edges adjacent turf areas to reduce the needfor edging treatments. Consider the initial cost and maintenance to long

    term cost and durability when selecting landscape materials.

    3. Select perennial plants over annuals for landscape color.

    To reduce replacement costs for annual plants (plants that last oneseason) consider the use of perennial plants (plants that come back

    every year). Depending upon your plant hardiness zone, impatiens,

    begonias, petunias and marigolds must be planted every year. Choose

    daylilies, stokes aster, lantana, black-eyed susan, coneflowers, evening

    primrose or perennial phlox for long-lasting color.

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    4. Avoid problem or high-maintenance plants.

    Hybrid tea roses, gardenias, and fruit trees are examples of high

    maintenance plants. These require regular insect spraying, watering, or

    fungicides in order to successfully grow in Mississippi. Select varieties of

    plants that are more resistant to insect, disease and fungal problems,

    tolerance to wet or dry periods, extreme temperatures, and adaptability

    to poor soil conditions.

    Examples of tough plants include, but are not limited to the following:

    Tough groundcovers:

    Liriope

    Monkey grassAsian jasmine

    Ardisia

    Aspidistra

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    Dwarf bamboo

    Holly leaf fern

    Indigo bushSword fern

    Sedum

    Setcreasea

    Tough perennials:

    Daylily

    Stokes aster

    Lantana

    VerbenaBlack-eye susan

    Purple coneflower

    Evening primrose

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    Louisiana phlox

    Narrow leaf

    sunflowerRain lily

    Louisiana iris

    Wild petunia

    Tough shrubs:

    Butterfly bush

    American beautyberry

    Flowering quince

    ForsythiaHolly

    Virginia willow

    Summersweet

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    Spirea

    Vitex

    OleanderElaeagnus

    Wax myrtle

    Yaupon holly

    Tough trees:

    Ironwood

    Parsley hawthorne

    Live oak

    Southern magnoliaAmerican holly

    Red maple

    Sweetgum

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    Black gum

    Willow oak

    Winged sumacBald cypress

    5. Use geotextiles for weed control

    Geotextiles, commonly known as landscape or weed fabrics, can reduceweeding efforts in sunny planting beds. By placing the fabric on the

    ground around existing shrubs and covering with a thick layer of mulch,

    this will effectively reduce the growth of many weed species. Pre-

    existing problem weeds should be controlled with an herbicide before

    covering. Geotextiles have the benefit of allowing water and fertilizersthrough the cloth and allowing plant roots to breathe. Groundcovers

    may also be planted in open bed space to compete against weed

    occurrence.

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    6. Put the right size plant in the right place

    Constant pruning to reduce the height of plants can be avoided by

    selecting plants that will not exceed the desired height for the area they

    are placed. Problem places for large plants often occur underneath

    home windows, electrical and other utility lines, roof eaves, view sheds,

    and doorway entries. These problems can be avoided by asking the

    nursery owner for recommended plants that do not grow taller than the

    maximum height for the area required.

    7. Place plants in masses, not individually.

    Planting combinations are often more effective when planted in massesrather than individual specimens. Creating a dense shrub border in large

    island beds allows mowing to occur around the outside edge, and

    reduces the need for edging and weeding in scattered plantings.

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