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What Does a Landscaping Contractor Do?

March 13, 2020

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If your property lacks style and visual appeal, it might be time to call a landscaping contractor! Adding a few flowers here and there can create a more welcoming look around your home or commercial structure, but professional landscaping is an excellent way to create a cohesive look and ensure your property always looks its best.

A landscaping contractor plans and installs landscaping features according to a property’s owner’s desired look and budget, ease of maintenance for various flowers and greenery, and a property’s overall soil conditions. He or she also might also make changes to a property’s grade or slope, install sprinkler or irrigation systems, and tend to a lawn and landscaping over time.

If you’ve been struggling to create stunning landscaping features for your property, you might consider the benefits of hiring a professional contractor, for design, installation, and maintenance of your property. Their services can mean that beautiful, stunning backyard or commercial property you’ve always wanted!

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What a Landscaping Contractor Does

A landscaping contractor does much more than mow lawns and plant flowers. A healthy, lush property with flowers and greens that thrive requires careful planning and a bit of scientific knowledge of greenery along with an artistic touch! Note a few details about what landscaping contractor do so you know why it’s beneficial to rely on their services for your property.

  • A landscaping contractor first meets with a potential client to find out their desired look for the property. For example, do they only want a few soft greens against their modern office building, or do they prefer a lush, country cottage look?
  • The landscaping contractor also notes a client’s budget, both for installation and continued maintenance of their landscaping.
  • A client might also discuss how much maintenance they’re willing to put into their new landscaping features; for example, a homeowner who doesn’t want to pay a landscaping company to maintain their flowerbeds or tend those flowers themselves needs low-maintenance landscaping!
  • Landscaping contractors inspect a property’s soil conditions, slope or grade, size, amount of sunlight exposure versus shade throughout the day, and potential obstructions to new landscaping such as tree roots and buried utility lines.
  • Many landscaping contractors offer suggestions for needed changes to a property, such as installing sprinklers or irrigation systems for very dry soil, or increasing the property’s grade to ensure proper moisture runoff.
  • A landscape design is drawn up, allowing the landscaping contractor and client to work together when it comes to needed changes; for instance, if the client doesn’t like the overall color combination of a suggestion landscaping feature, that can be changed on the design before those flowers get planted!
  • Landscaping designers also might suggest hardscape features, or those made of wood, stone, brick, and other solid materials. These features help offset landscaping and add visual interest, breaking up the look of flowers and shrubs. Patio pavers also provide safe walkways around a property.
  • Pest control is a vital part of healthy landscaping, and it’s vital that a property owner use as few chemicals as possible to control pests! A landscaping contractor might suggest certain plantings that repel pests in your area or might introduce various insects that eat other pests, keeping them off your new flowers and greens.
  • Once a design is finalized, a landscaping company then installs chosen flowers and greens as well as hardscaping, sprinkler systems, and the like. They may use heavy equipment such as excavators or tractors, if needed, or might plant smaller flowers and shrubs by hand.
  • Landscaping contractors might also install lighting, decking, patio pavers, water features, and other specialty features around a property.

Whether or not a client has a landscaping company maintain their new plantings, the landscape contractor typically ensures a property owner knows how to keep flowers and greens looking their best throughout the year.

What Is a Landscape Architect?

The word “landscaper” is often used for anyone who works with landscaping features, including companies that simply cut grass and edge a lawn. However, there are various aspects of landscaping design, installation, and maintenance, some of which require specialty skills and knowhow.

A landscape architect specializes in designing landscaping features to work around structures, including houses, commercial buildings, outbuildings such as garages, bridges, and the like. A landscaping contractor installs these elements once designed.

A landscape architect might be the specialist you need if your desired landscaping features must work around various obstructions on your property. For instance, if you want to create a lush oasis around your home’s pool and hot tub, or need landscaping to hide air conditioning compressors on your commercial property, a landscape architect is often the best choice.

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How to Choose a Landscaping Company

Not every landscaping company is alike, and it’s never good to assume that someone calling themselves a landscaper is qualified to design, install, and maintain your landscaping features! One vital part of choosing a qualified landscaping company is to note their portfolio of past projects. Have they designed landscaping features similar to those you prefer, whether that’s something minimal and manicured or a more traditional garden look?

It’s also good to note if a landscaping contractor takes time to discuss your needs, budget, and desired look, and then inspect your property. If a landscaper seems rushed and wants to simply plant flowers and move on, he or she might not be the best contractor for you! It’s vital that you choose plantings native to your area or that grow easily in the soil conditions on your property, and a good landscaper will check that soil and your property’s growing conditions as needed.

Many landscaping contractors offer community services in their neighborhood, as a charitable endeavor and to show off their work. Note if you can find these services from a particular landscaping company, as these projects might demonstrate their attention to detail and if they can create a landscaping design appropriate for a particular property.

Choosing Various Landscape Designs and Details

While a landscaping designer will usually offer lots of suggestions for stunning features on your property, you might note some popular landscape designs and details. Knowing the differences between them can help you decide the right choice for your home or business!

  • Tropical landscaping includes plants and flowers that thrive in hot, humid conditions. These plantings include palm trees, orchids, and hibiscus. Heavy mulch keeps soil in place during a rainy season, while lots of rocks are often used to add contrast against large, tropical greens.
  • Coastal landscaping thrives in sandy soil and excessive sunlight. Stones are used abundantly in coastal landscaping, as they’re less likely to suffer excess wear than concrete when exposed to lots of sun. Daisies and beach roses are popular flowers for use in coastal landscaping.
  • Modern landscaping typically includes minimal flowers but lots of soft grasses, to add a bit of green while keeping the design simple. Modern landscaping might also include lots of gravel and simple square stones for walkways as well as manicured shrubs and greenery.
  • Manicured landscaping refers to features and details with a definite trim or shape to them; box hedges are a favorite choice for manicured landscaping as they’re easy to keep in a neat, square shape!

If you’re still not sure of these landscaping varieties, check out pictures online and note the various details in flowers, shrubs, and other items. This will help you decide the best landscaping style for your home or commercial property.

A Quick Glossary of Landscaping Terms

To better understand work needed on your property for your chosen landscaping, consider a quick glossary of landscaping terms. Knowing these terms makes it easier to communicate with your landscaping contractor about your choices or needed changes to your property.

  • Aeration refers to a method of increasing oxygen and water in soil, typically by making small holes or cuts along its surface.
  • Annual plants grow for one season and then die. Choosing annual plants for your property’s landscaping means having to replant them every single year!
  • Compost is sometimes confused with mulch; compost is made from decomposing garden materials, for added soil nutrients. Mulch provides cover for soil, keeping moisture and nutrients in the soil.
  • Drainage does not mean just a loss of water from the soil but the rate of water loss. A landscaping contractor might need to correct your property’s drainage so it has sufficient moisture for supporting plants.
  • Grading refers to changing the slope or level of soil. Improper grading allows for too much water runoff or not enough, and a landscaping contractor might need to address grading issues before planting flowers or shrubs.
  • Temperature tolerance refers to the levels of hot and cold withstood by a plant.
  • Shocking refers to a loss of leaves after a plant is moved to a new area. Shocking is often temporary, as most plants begin to thrive again with proper care.

If you’re not familiar with any terminology used by a landscaping contractor, be sure to speak up and ask! He or she should make clear what’s needed for your new plants to grow and thrive, and for you to enjoy your newly landscaped property for years to come!

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