Are you a homeowner or do you manage rental properties or public-facing businesses? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are likely in need of a solid landscaping partnership and you may be asking yourself how to choose a landscaper.
If you’re located in the Vancouver area, Hyland Landscapes, which services the Vancouver Area and beyond, is a top-rated landscaping company ready to aid you in your outdoor needs. With over 20 years of experience, Hyland Landscapes offers dozens of services to keep your home looking pristine.
Before we dive into how to choose a landscaper for your property needs, let’s have a look at the different types of popular services offered by landscaping companies for the upkeep of your residence.
What do landscaping companies offer homeowners and businesses?
Landscaping companies can vary in size and specialty. The most basic explanation of what a landscaping company offers is that they aid in the creation and maintenance of outdoor settings, like gardens, patios, and parks. Landscapers are not gardeners but they do work with the installation of vegetation. They work with a variety of elements such as stone, wood, water, concrete, etc. for the creation of your outdoor environment.
Many landscaping companies can help patrons design their outdoor spaces, from building decks and porches to pathways, to pergolas, swimming pools, and beyond. They are experts in outdoor construction.
It is necessary to use a landscaping company if you’re taking on any sort of large outdoor project as they are well-versed in adhering to the laws and regulations of the city you live in. Landscapers will liaise with contractors and building companies on your behalf to get the necessary equipment, material, and tools for the job.
The most common types of services offered by landscaping companies are the following:
Lawn care – the quality of your lawn has a huge impact on the value of your property. A green, healthy lawn not only looks inviting, but makes your home feel sophisticated, warm, and invigorating. Landscapers can install green turf on your property and can also be hired to maintain it. Proper lawn maintenance can be a real pain for a household, or for those who own larger properties. Hiring a landscaper ensures that your lawn is healthy and looking sharp. Landscapers are well equipped to handle mulching, fertilization for your lawn, aeration, irrigation, and leaf removal.
Garden and tree maintenance – if you’ve always dreamed of having a large lush garden, a landscaper can help in the actualization of this fantasy. Landscaping companies offer seasonal raking services and also work to enrich your soil, fertilize your plants, and control pesky weeds. Additionally, they’ll often offer pruning services to keep trees and shrubs at bay. Some landscapers can even assess the health of larger trees on the property.
Pest Control – Landscapers can help keep annoying critters like ants and mites from your property.
Hardscaping – This is the use of construction to create new structures for the property. This is the creation of things like staircases, pools, fountains, firepits, etc. Landscapers are also well equipped to create or change-up porches, decks, gazebos, outdoor kitchen structures, etc.
Lighting – Landscapers can install and wire outdoor lighting structures for both safety and aesthetic purposes. This is a great option for any Holiday lighting needs that might come up throughout the year.
Snow Removal – In the winter months, landscapers can be hired to remove snow, salt any dangerous pathways, and help make the property look like a winter wonderland.
How to choose a landscaper that’s right for me?
The options outlined above cover the basics of what most landscaping companies offer. How to choose a landscaper for your specific needs begins with a thorough assessment of what you want your space to look like. Before you start researching landscapers in your area, it’s important to select the type of services you’re in need of. Are you redoing your entire yard or do you just need help maintaining the lawn?
If you google landscaping companies in a city like Vancouver, the selection of companies available can be overwhelming. So how do you choose the best landscaping company for your needs? Full-service companies like Hyland Landscapes will help you design and execute what you need. But they are also available as a maintenance company for existing outdoor structures.
Before you start hiring, you need to decide on the scope of the work. Once you feel comfortable and certain in what you need to be done, you should proceed as outlined below.
Once you have an idea of the types of services that you would like to have executed on your property, it’s vital to do your homework and research the companies that offer what you’re looking for. Look for companies that are well rated and reviewed on google, yelp, etc. Companies that have referrals and a strong social media presence can be very easily vetted for the quality of their work. Look for landscapers that offer competitive prices for your needs. Be careful not to go with the most economical option, as often cheaper services yield cheaper results.
You’ll want to consider the number of years the business has been operating. Usually the longer the business has been open, the more repeat customers the business has, which shows a solid throughput with projects. Likewise, you’ll want to assess the landscaper’s project experience around the specific project you’re creating. It’s a very good idea to work with a landscaper who has executed similar projects in the past as they will have learned from those experiences and likely have more of a specialty in the field.
Approach your landscaping adventure like you’re a CEO hiring your executive team. A big part of how to choose a landscaper right for your needs is to spend time talking to them. Narrow your list of landscapers down to a couple and then have some interviews with them. This involves describing the scope of work you’d like have done on your property, discussing and collaborating on best approaches with the contractor, pondering the best materials, and getting some quotes. Go with your gut on this – which landscaper do you best gel with? Collaboration is a vital part of making a successful outdoor landscape so you’ll want to be on the same page as the people you’re hiring.
This is the time to discuss the approach to the project. If you’re looking for a landscaper to help you design your ideas, this is the time to have your first design collaboration conversations. Here, you will get to experience the type of person you are working with and how well versed they are in the type of project you wish to bring to life. You’ll also get a taste for their creative flair and if it suits your style.
Here are some common questions to ask your potential candidates to help align your values with theirs:
1) Where do you source your materials?
When it comes to the use of materials such as wood, it is good to ask where the material is sourced from so that you have an understanding of the quality of the goods being used. This is especially important if you are trying to be eco-conscious and are planning on installing and working with a lot of greenery. Generally speaking, locally grown plants tend to be more economical and have a better chance of long-term survival since they are going to be living in the same environmental conditions. They will also likely require less maintenance.
In Vancouver, there are hundreds of native greenery options available to you to make your garden look like a dreamscape.
2) How often should I be maintaining my outdoor space?
A professional landscaper will walk you through the maintenance program of your installation well in advance of ever touching your property. By asking this question, you can come up with a plan together regarding the maintenance needs of the space, how often the landscaper would come in for checks, and how to make the environment thrive in between these check-ins.
3) What’s the ETA for the execution of the project?
It’s very important to agree on a timeline ahead of signing a contract so that you’re not left feeling in the lurch when things aren’t happening as quickly as you imagined. It’s a good idea to ask if there are unforeseen issues that could hold the project back – things like bad weather – which can alter working days for landscapers.
Look into Insurance
One non-negotiable feature that you should keep an eye one is that your landscaper is able to provide you with comprehensive insurance for services rendered. Do not hire contractors who are not insured. This opens you up to a huge world of liability should anything go wrong on your property.
At this point, it’s also important to clarify if the landscaper will be subcontracting the work anywhere else. While this isn’t a screaming red flag, it is often more straightforward to work with companies who do everything in house. This avoids additional budgetary constraints, potential scheduling issues, etc. A subcontractor for highly specialized work is not always a red flag but using multiple subcontractors is problematic.
Additionally, it’s good to clarify permit needs at this stage. Successful landscapers know permit needs like the back of their hand and can assist you in this process.
Finally, once all the terms have been agreed upon, the landscaper will provide you with a contract. We strongly caution that you do not undertake any type of work on your property without a signed contract. The landscaper’s contract will provide you with a detailed list of the services agreed upon and what the financial compensation will be, along with the project’s schedule and schedule of payments. Additionally, professional landscapers will provide you with their policies and procedures so you know what to expect once the project is up and running.
How to choose a landscaper in Vancouver
For those who live in the Vancouver area in British Columbia, all of the above advice applies. Additionally, there are some other things to consider in this environment such as credentials and climate.
Vancouver based homeowners and property managers should also consider the types of certifications and training that the landscaping company has. This can include a Red Seal in Landscaping. The Red Seal program represents the industry’s recognition of an Interprovincial standard of excellence for the skilled trades. Other certifications that indicate a high standard include horticultural certificates, construction and construction management degrees (from a place like BCIT), etc.
It’s a good idea to get familiar with the types of suppliers landscapers use. Your Vancouver landscaper should have a strong relationship with the larger nursery and construction material companies in the Lower Mainland. A few prime suppliers that are important partners are Arts Nursery, one of the largest wholesale garden centres in the province. Arts Nursery provides everything from plants to decor, accents, turf, and soil. Another British Columbia giant that is good to have a solid relationship with is Burnco Landscape Supply, which is over a hundred years old and boasts itself as a “one-stop-shop” for landscaping supplies, including bulk materials like gravel and soil, natural stone for columns and boulders, as well as hardscaping products for the creation of pathways and steps.
The Effect of the Vancouver Climate
Vancouver, or Raincouver as residents often call it gets a ton of precipitation for eight months of the year. As such, it is important that outdoor materials are selected accordingly. Decks and any other wooden structures will survive much better if they are made from natural water-resistant woods such as cedar, or composite wood.
Any sort of installations with roofs will need to keep drainage in mind. If you live outside of the tropical downtown core, it may be in your best interest to build a winter relationship with your landscape for all of your snow removal needs.
Safety & WorkSafe BC
It is essential that your landscaper provides proof of being in partnership with WorkSafe BC. This covers any workers on your property from handing you the costs for any injuries or illnesses that occur on your property.
Conclusions on how to choose a landscaper
While choosing a landscaper, especially in a saturated area like Vancouver, can seem daunting, we hope that this how to choose a landscaper guide can help make the search more manageable for your needs. Hyland Landscapes is here to help you with all of your outdoor projects, offering attractive annual landscaping packages, one- off maintenance or installation needs, and any impromptu tasks that need attention.