There are a lot of landscaping companies in New Hampshire and choosing one can be a difficult decision. The first thing to do is look for an NHLA member. By choosing a member of NHLA you are hiring a professional who is part of a statewide organization with access to many different educational opportunities and with a commitment to environmental stewardship. Our members are kept up-to-date on the latest horticultural practices, pruning techniques, lawn care, irrigation, and lighting and hardscape practices through a year- round selection of seminars, workshops, and meetings.
An NHLA landscape contractor can offer a variety of services, including design, installation and maintenance of your property based on your specific needs and requests. Many firms have landscape architects and designers on staff, offering the expertise to create and orchestrate the complete design, installation, and maintenance of the most complex landscapes. Search our database to Find a Professional.
The New Hampshire Landscape Association has also created a Professional Certification program. A New Hampshire Certified Landscape Professional (NHCLP) has completed a process of additional rigorous study and work experience. You can see a list of NH Certified Landscape Professionals here.
The tips below may help you in choosing a landscape professional:
Decide what you are looking for in a landscape design and how a landscape contractor can help.
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 also install hardscape material, including patios, decks, retaining walls, gazebos and irrigation systems. 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 bring your needs and landscape style preferences into focus.
Ask how long the company has 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 listed to see if the work is the size, style, and quality you desire.
You should always check a landscape professional’s standing with your state or the Better Business Bureau.
Select a landscape company that is insured.
Make sure your landscape professional has proof of Worker’s Compensation and Liability Insurance. Worker’s Compensation protects you in the event a worker has an accident. Without it your home and assets could be at risk if someone is injured on your project. You could be held liable. The contractor should also carry an insurance policy that has a general liability aggregate limit of a minimum $1,000,000. This protects your property should something happen to damage it, like a fire. A client should never assume the proper insurance has been obtained, and should always perform due diligence on their projects.
In addition, ask your landscaper if they have an active safety program to minimize accidents.
Visit a job in progress.
Ask to see a project that will be similar to the work you will request. You want to hire a company that does good work, reflects professionalism and integrity. Examine the quality of the job–and see if the crew’s appearance and job presence are acceptable.
Ask the company to provide a written plan and/or 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 timetable and the terms of payment. You have the right to amend the contract.
Check with your landscaper about warranties and guarantees.
Your landscape professional should be familiar with local codes and obtain all necessary permits. Many projects require city permitting, and doing work without permits can cause serious problems throughout the course of your project. These problems include, but are not limited to: fines from the city, new permits required, and work could be stopped until the appropriate permits are pulled and plans are submitted, and prolonging the project and increasing the costs (aside from the fines). Many contractors may try to complete projects without pulling the appropriate permits to avoid fees and increase their profit. This can be very harmful to the property owner, even becoming a potential safety hazard. If the proper permits are not pulled, the contractor’s work can be critically examined by city inspectors later, adding more time and money to a project. You could be responsible for the cost of adding or removing elements of the project to comply with city codes.
What is the plan for the plant material once the contractor has left? Ongoing maintenance is necessary in order to protect your investment. If you plan to do it, the professional you hire should provide care instructions for the plants they have installed on your property. Or, you can ask your landscape professional to provide ongoing maintenance, which may involve mowing, fertilizing, pest control, among other services. If they do not provide this service, they should know of a good landscape maintenance crew to recommend.
To find an NHLA Landscaper go to our Professional Directory.