Here are a few questions to ask yourself before hiring a landscape contractor.  Click on each question to see our thoughts.

What are you looking for in a landscape design?

Do you want an area for entertaining, an extension of your living space, a low maintenance landscape or a high impact design that is colorful? Determine your budget before you speak with a landscape professional. If you do not know what you want in a landscape design, a qualified professional should be able to help you bring your needs and landscape style preference into focus.

How can a landscape contractor help you?

Many homeowners do not realize what a landscape contractor can do to help them improve their living environment. Landscape contractors not only install plant material, but install hardscape material including patios, decks, retaining walls, gazebos, irrigation systems and landscape lighting.

How long has the company been in business?

Professional landscape companies should have employees with either a secondary education in Ornamental Horticulture or several years of experience. Additionally, professional companies are most often active members in national or state landscape associations. Affiliation indicates that a company is interested in excellence and progressive thought. Ask the firm for a list of references and professional affiliations. Look at each of the jobs to see if the work is the size, style and quality you desire.

Does the company provide a written plan/contract?

Prior to making any agreement, have the landscape contractor, designer and/or architect prepare the details in writing. This plan can include the design, plant material to be used, all costs, a time-table and the terms of payment. You have the right to amend the contract.

Can the company supply reference information or a job in progress?

WLCA members will be able to supply you with reference materials regarding their work and past customers. They will be able to provide you with information on current jobs as well in order for you to see their work. Craftsman are proud of their work and will be happy to have you see it.

Is the company certified and insured?

If required by state law, the company should be licensed. While Wisconsin does not require landscape contractors to be licensed, the WLCA offers a certification program for contractors through the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET). 

Does the company have liability insurance?

Proof of insurance for workers' compensation, liability and vehicles should be available to you. Check a company's limits and policy expiration. Ask if they have an active safety program to minimize accidents. Under some circumstances, you could be liable for mishaps or accidents which occur on your property.

What services are provided in ongoing maintenance?

Ongoing maintenance is necessary in order to protect your investment. You can do it, or you can ask the company to do the work. Generally, ongoing maintenance involves plant and bed maintenance, mowing, fertilizing and pest control, among other services.