Selecting the right landscaping company


Now that early summer is here, it's prime time for homeowners who care to have their lawn and garden areas professionally taken care of to select a landscaping company that will suit their wants and needs.

The homeowner's landscape can be a showcase for the home, and is an integral part of the great investment the owner has made in the property. Acknowledging this, a good deal of research should go into selecting the right landscaping company.

There would be nothing easier for the homeowner to do than to just open the phone book, or look online for the closest or cheapest landscaping company in their area. But the homeowner that truly cares a great deal about their landscape, and wants the very best consultation and landscaping services, will research companies, ask questions, and make a determination as to the right landscaping company based on the information they obtain from their diligent research.

It would be wise for the homeowner to come up with a checklist of questions they have about landscaping services before making contact with companies. Some important things they might like to know more about can include the following:

* How long has the company been in business in the area?

* Is the company, and its employees, certified? Credible certifications include Certified Landscape Technician, Landscape Architect, and Water Auditor.

* What education does the company's staff have? Have they been through extensive training to understand agronomy and soil science?

* Do they perform any type of lawn analysis? This can incorporate analysis of soil conditions, grass type, climate, and how the homeowner uses their lawn. This analysis will help their specialist tailor a plan to address the specific needs of that lawn.

Society is becoming more conscious now of the potential harm that pesticides and some fertilizers can cause. This awareness can lead to asking the following questions:

* Do they use pesticides? Some pesticides damage the soil, which in turn kills worms and other soil organisms, things that keep the soil healthy, which keeps the lawn healthy.

* If the company doesn't rely on pesticides, do they offer "natural organic" or "slow-release" fertilizers? Quick-release fertilizers apply a heavy dose of nutrients, very quickly, to the lawn. They are more likely to wash off into streams and lakes, and feed algae that choke out fish and other water inhabitants. Slow-release fertilizers are less likely to have this harmful wash-off.

If possible, the homeowner should try to determine what level of customer service the company provides. Do they provide friendly, personable customer service on the telephone, online, or perhaps most importantly, in person? Do they make follow-up calls or visits after the initial job is completed to see how their landscaping is coming along?

In addition to lawn services, landscape companies design landscapes, determine compost applications, annually aerate and overseed, check and, if needed, install water drainage systems, and many other related responsibilities.

On the surface, finding a landscaping company to service the homeowner's property can be very easy. But proper research into companies can really pay off in the long run.


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