There are many different types of landscape businesses and each will offer their own set of services. It is important to research a landscape business before deciding to inquire about a project. You may want to look over their website or speak with them on the phone to see if they offer the services you want.
Businesses may offer landscape design as one of their services. There are different ways a business can offer landscape design. Some businesses are design only, some design and then install, and some include a basic design with installation.
Landscape architects or garden designers who only do design, will have some type of formal training or background in the field. They will have professional knowledge and skillset. This type of design will be custom and should be well thought out. It’s important to find a designer who resonates with you. Some designers just create plans that a homeowner can take and contract out for installation, or do themselves. Others can work with you on the installation as well.
Some businesses are considered design build. They will design the landscape and then install the design. A design build may contract with you do the design and installation. The design and the installation will each have its own separate costs. Some businesses may do a design-only job, but may charge more for the design. A design build business will have a landscape designer/s on staff and a crew that handles the installations.
Some landscape businesses may offer basic design services. They may bid the project into one price for a design and installation. The homeowner may have little to no say about the design or plant choices. Usually the designs have a similar layout and plant choices for all its jobs. This makes the job easier and goes faster for efficiency. This type of service cuts costs and condenses the process.
There are pros and cons of working with each type of landscape business that offers landscape design in these manners. It’s important that a client knows what they are looking for when it comes to landscape design and what kind of business will match this. Another factor can be how involved you want to be in the process or how much you care about the final product.
A landscape installation is when the business has a design plan in hand and will be installing the design. The business you worked with on the design may have in contract that they will install the garden as well. Some businesses don’t do design work, but will provide a bid for installations. Businesses like these will manage the whole project.
A client may also oversee the project and hire each installation type with their business of choice. For example, a client may hire a carpenter to build a gazebo, a mason to build a fireplace, and a landscaper to do the plantings.
Installations can involve many niche types of services like:
- outdoor kitchens
- built structures like decks, sheds, pergolas, gazebos, fencing
- land restoration
- landscape lighting
- soil amendments
A business may offer these services in house or may have to subcontract them out to speciality businesses. Each of these services requires a special skillset and a single businesses just may not be able to provide them all, or do them all well.
Landscape installations can be as small as a single garden bed to whole estates. Usually the installation is all done within a single timeframe or in phases over a period of time. Some businesses may not be able to offer every niche you are looking for. However there is opportunity to work with a business that will work with your needs and the design plan you have.
Many landscape businesses offer maintenance as one of their services, or sometimes only offer maintenance. Larger businesses may focus on gaining commercial contracts with businesses or government entities. Smaller businesses or even single gardeners can offer maintenance at various levels.
- pruning and trimming
- plant healthcare
- spring and fall cleanup
- transplanting and planting
They may offer additional services like:
- leaf and snow removal
- lawn care
- annual bedding plants and container pots, seasonal decor
- tree trimming (however you may want to hire a certified arborist for most jobs)
If the health and look of your garden is important to you, it’s important to find a professional that knows proper maintenance techniques. I often see bad landscape practices that could and will cost someone a lot of money in the future to mend.
A professional gardener will probably be more knowledgeable in pruning and plant healthcare which is really important. Landscaping businesses may or may not have this skillset they need for consistent proper garden care. New laborers may be hired each season and may not have any landscaping knowledge. For example, mulching trees too deeply, or shearing a Japanese maple can cost or ruin hundreds to thousands of dollars worth of landscaping.
These are the three main services that a landscape business may offer. There are many smaller services within each category. Each business will present these services in their own way. Some companies may have a niche service they are experts in, or they may offer a broad range of services. In the end, it’s important to research a business before hire. Like most things, you will get what you pay for, but that is not always the case when it comes to landscaping services.