Your 5-Step Plan to Hire the Right Landscaper

Your 5-Step Plan to Hire the Right Landscaper

April showers bring May flowers, right?

With all of the rain we’ve gotten in Southern California over the winter this year, we’re going to need Mother Nature to bring us some sunshine sooner to pull us out of this rainy malaise.

Now that the earlier rainstorms pulled us out of a decades-long drought, it’s time for homeowners to get prepared for a robust spring. As Robin Williams said:

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, LET’S PARTY!”

To make sure you’re prepared for your backyard to host that party, you need a good, quality landscaper. With ideal growing conditions 12 months out of the year, the landscaping industry in Southern California is littered with maintenance companies, design aficionados, and everything in between.

To find the right landscaper for you, you need a plan. 

Here’s our 5-step plan for hiring the right landscaper for your backyard this year. Because any goal worth reaching, like a memorable party, takes a good 5-step plan.

Get Clear with Your Landscaping Goals

Do you just need regular, ongoing maintenance for the season? Or do you have a big project in mind, such as building a back deck or gravel walkway?

There are two primary types of landscaping professionals that you’ll encounter:

  1. Lawn and landscape maintenance
  2. Full-service landscaping and design companies

Lawn and landscape maintenance entities provide lawn care services and general maintenance around your yard, including weeding, edging, pruning, and removal of leaves. Depending on the breadth of certifications they’ve obtained, some can also handle applying pesticides and other chemicals to your yard to prevent insect infestations and undesirable weeds from growing.

Full-service companies provide maintenance work and almost everything you can think of beyond those basic services, including installation and design. These companies will be much larger than your average maintenance firm, with account managers and architects that can show you options for remodeling your yard, building new fences, and adding that fire pit you’ve been dreaming about.

Simple maintenance can cost less than $100 a month for recurring service, while big-time projects will quickly rise into the thousands of dollars depending on the scope of the job. Before reaching out to potential prospects, ask yourself if maintenance is all you need this season, or if something bigger needs to get done. 

It might be wise to consider a full-service landscape company early, even if your big project isn’t a priority. That way, you can build trust and confidence with that company’s maintenance operation before letting them bring the heavy machinery in your yard for the remodel.

Research Landscape Contractors and Collect Referrals

Next time you see a landscape contractor working in your neighbor’s yard, ask them about their business and what type of services they provide. 

Many times, you can save a good chunk of change by working with a company already working in your neighborhood. They can easily add you to their weekly schedule since they’re in town, and who knows, you might even be able to talk them into a better deal.

Now, if you don’t like the look of your neighbor’s yard, you’re going to want to start your research elsewhere.

Do some searching online for landscape contractors in your area and see what companies have the best reviews, most stunning photos, and look most likely to return your call. Great customer service and communication separates the best landscapers from the rest, since you never want to feel unsure of where your yard project stands in a company’s schedule. 
Interview Multiple Landscapers and Get Plenty of Bids

Invite 3-5 landscape contractors out to your home to discuss your needs and specifics related to your vision for the yard. If you’ve got plenty of time, invite more, but 3-5 is plenty to give you some options to choose from.

Get a feel for the landscaper's personality, expertise, and communication style. 

Do they ask a lot of questions? Do they make recommendations without being sales-y? Do they respect the budget you have to work with?

With regular maintenance, you want to trust that the landscape contractor will do exactly as they say and get the work done when they commit to do so. 

With larger projects, make sure they are thorough and detailed, as unforeseen problems do arise with bigger remodels. The right landscaper communicates what materials they will use, how long a project will take, and what you can expect the completed project to look like.

If at any point you feel unsatisfied with the visit, trust your instincts and move on down the list. 

Also, make sure to get every estimate and bid in writing. Not only does it give you the liberty to compare quotes side-by-side, but you also get further evidence of a contractor’s communication style with the thoroughness of their proposal to you.

When in doubt, go with the landscape contractor you trust most. If you can’t find any to start, give our office a call and we’ll be happy to give you some ideas on trustworthy contractors.

Vet Your Top Prospects and Check for Certifications

Lawn and landscape maintenance companies don’t need the qualifications, licenses, and certifications that more robust, full-service landscape companies do.

So if you want to build a new irrigation system or install some patio lights, check to make sure the landscape contractor has the licenses necessary to perform that type of work. Almost anyone can mow a lawn. But you wouldn’t want just anyone to build your new deck in the backyard.

Plus, if problems arise, you do not want to be on the hook for unforeseen expenses. As with any industry, the best landscapers will be fully licensed and insured to do the work you are looking for. No exceptions.
Pick Your Top Option and Discuss Schedule in Detail

Once you’ve decided on the best landscape contractor for you, discuss the next steps with them and build a solid foundation of communication moving forward.

With larger projects, some companies may not be able to complete the work for a few months, which is standard for contractors that have a lot of satisfied customers. But keep those timelines in mind, especially if you have to do any prep work to the yard before work begins.

The last thing you want is to leave for work in the morning, only to find that the landscapers are at your door to start removing your old fence, and you didn’t leave them a key.  Proper planning matters.


When deciding on the right landscaper for your yard, the biggest key is trust and communication. Even though plenty of companies have all of the latest technology to show you what your yard COULD look like, your intuition on whether or not they CAN and will do the work exactly as communicated reigns supreme.

Do your homework, collect plenty of bids, and choose the landscape contractor that provides you the best value for your budget. 

That way, when the spring party gets rolling, your yard will be the perfect host.

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