Can We Just Get Along – 9 Keys to Healthy Relationships Between Landscape Designers and Contractors

How does a landscape designer ensure for a prosperous and beneficial relationship after finding a quality landscape contractor or other sub-contractor? Fortunately this doesn’t have to be difficult. Just follow these 9 important steps.

9. Have the landscape project site prepared for your landscape contractor

If you want to frustrate your landscape contractor beyond belief, schedule them to start and not have the site ready for them when they show up–it’s not pretty. Landscape contractors want to run efficiently just as we do. Respect this and ensure the site is ready for them to begin their work. This can include having materials on site, any staking and tagging that needs to be done and other construction trades out of the way.

8. Nurture your relationship beyond the project site

Building a positive and friendly relationship beyond your landscape businesses can lead to trust and respect which carries over to the project site. There are many ways to foster a positive relationship. You can take the contractor to lunch or coffee; take them to a baseball game, etc. I know of many companies who have an annual “contractor appreciation” party.

7. Present opportunities to bid and work on unique projects

Just as landscape designers prefer to work on high-end prestigious projects, so do landscape contractors. Give them the opportunity to take part in projects they can be proud to have their names associated with. Your contractors will invest more of themselves in unique projects and the results will show.

6. Insist on two-way regular communication

Nothing frustrates me more than when my sub-contractors don’t return my phone calls promptly. A close second is when a contractor doesn’t call me when a landscape design decision needs to be made on site. That said, communication works both ways which means we need to do our best to promptly inform our contractors when schedule changes occur, substitutions are made, etc. Discuss your expectations regarding communication before you begin working together.

5. Maintain control of the landscape project but don’t micromanage

This can be a difficult balancing act. The key is to work with landscape contractors you trust to complete the work to your standards the first time around. Put your trust in them, and let them do their job. Your landscape contractor doesn’t want you looking over their shoulder. This leads to hesitant decision making and frustration on their part.

4. Clearly define the scope of the landscape project

Our landscape contractors want to know exactly what they are responsible for on each project. This leads to more accurate pricing of course. It also leads to less confusion regarding “who’s doing what” between sub-contractors. Here are three ways to clearly define the scope of the landscape project:

1. Provide each sub-contractor with a detailed outline of their responsibilities as well as those of the other sub-contractors.
2. Provide Construction Documents- this includes landscape construction details as well as clearly written specifications.
3. If necessary, hold a “Pre-Bid” meeting on site with all sub-contractors and discuss #1 and #2 above.

3. Pay your contractors immediately

Everyone wants to be paid on time; this is a no-brainer. Provide your landscape contractors and other sub-contractors with a deposit as early as possible and pay the contract balance immediately upon completion of the project. No contractor likes to call and ask for money. I don’t like to get the awkward call from my contractors…so pay on time.

2. Value your landscape contractor’s expertise

Perhaps the biggest frustration I hear from landscape contractors and other trades is that their experience and expertise is not appreciated by landscape designers. Believe it or not, there are other people who know more than we do. We have to show our contractors respect by listening to their ideas and suggestions. We will learn more this way and in the process earn the mutual respect from our contractors.

1. Clearly communicate your expectations

Just as we need to clearly communicate the scope of a project, we also need to candidly communicate our overall expectations to our sub-contractors. Most important is the quality of work we expect. But this also includes expectations regarding scheduling, payments and warranty work. Another expectation that should be discussed is employee conduct. Do you want landscape contractors with uniforms or are you okay with shirtless contractors running around your site? What is your policy regarding smoking on site?

We need to set these expectations up front before working together.

Commercial Landscaping Service

What to Look For In a Commercial Landscaping Company

Finding a commercial Phoenix landscaping company that can achieve the exact look that you want without compromising quality and environmentally sound practices can be quite tricky. There are landscaping companies out there that focus just a little bit too much on the aesthetics, and not on the equally important groundwork like irrigation and pipeworks, soil testing, bush fire prevention, and greenery maintenance.

If you’re currently on the search for a good commercial landscaping service that can turn your Phoenix property into a beautiful horticultural haven, there are a couple things you may want to consider aside from their rates. Sure, rates and costs are usually the first things you will look at, but more importantly, you should look at the specific services that the commercial landscaper offers.

Landscape Construction and Maintenance

A good commercial landscaper should be able to coordinate and work with you regarding your desired look, design, and landscape layout. This is also why it helps to have at least a clear idea of how you envision your property to look like after landscaping work has been done on it – so that the main idea or theme will come from you, and the company will talk you through how that specific look can be achieved. The company should also conduct a site visit before they give you a definitive amount for their charges and construction expenses.

A good landscaper will also offer you maintenance services as part of their landscaping package. This means that their work is not and should not end with just the commercial landscaping construction. You should also ask the landscaper about their customer service.

Irrigation Installation

As mentioned, a good landscaping company will also thoroughly construct and examine the necessary pipework and irrigation system of the landscapes they create. The pipes and valves of the water supply system should be in good working order to ensure that the plants and trees in your landscape won’t wither and lessen the beauty of the landscape. For the environmentally conscious, it would also be nice to get a Phoenix landscaping service that follows principles on water conservation and engages in other environment-friendly practices.

If you’re looking for a good commercial Phoenix landscaping company, you should also check if they’re certified by your local business bureau and have the necessary permits to operate in the area. For example, the contractors and employees working with the company should be backed by the Arizona Landscape Contractors Association, Arizona Certified Landscape Professionals, and Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, to name a few. If available, you should also check out their portfolio so you can get a glimpse of the work they’ve done in and around the area.

Tips to Choose a Commercial Landscape Maintenance Services Provider

People who own commercial property spend a considerable amount of time in beautifying their landscapes. If you own a resort or hotel, then beautifying it to a great extent helps in creating a great impression among visitors.

Here are some useful tips which you can follow to select a reliable commercial landscape maintenance services company:

Be sure that the contractor offers the services which you need

One common misconception that many commercial property owners tend to have is that all commercial landscape companies offer the same type of services. However, this is not true. Therefore, you need to acquire a list of services that the company offers. Compare it with your individual needs. The usual services offered by these companies includes snow & ice management, landscape enhancement, irrigation and lighting, landscape construction, landscape design and landscape maintenance.

Landscape maintenance involves weeding, mowing, edging, trimming, pruning, turf and ornamental programs and seasonal color. In case of landscape construction, contractors plant, perform hydro seeding, installation of turfs, retain walls, installation of water features, drainage, erosion control and outdoor amenity installation. Landscape design involves site evaluation and plans to create or enhance focal points of outdoor areas. It also includes community master planning and amnesty designs such as outdoor kitchens, dog parks, patios, fire pits and fire pits.

Contractors who handle irrigation and lighting handle repair, installation, maintenance and suggestions for efficient water usage. The snow and ice management services offers involves plowing, ice melt application and clearing of sidewalks. The landscape enhancement services offered by contractors includes redesigning of focal points or addition of non-contracted items like planters, baskets, removal and trimming of trees and seasonal color displays.

Find out whether they employ sustainable practices or not

Do you need a company which can offer you with services and ensures that your landscape becomes sustainable? If you do, then you are certainly taking a wise decision. Making landscapes energy and saving water are environment conscious decisions and will make a significant impact on your budget and environment.

The landscaping company which you opt for needs to pay attention to the sustainability factor. The materials they use and their water management projects at your site should take into consideration the sustainability factor.

There are a number of questions which you will need to ask the contractor before hiring their services. Ask them where do they buy their plant materials and supplies from. Enquire whether they use native plants or not. Ask them about what changes can be done to help you save your money. Also ask whether the company can suggest any organic programs which are applicable in case of your property. Find out whether they recycle yard waste such as leave, fallen branches and clippings or not. Enquire about the programs which they offer to make lighting and irrigation more efficient.

Research the credentials of the company

You can save yourself from a considerable amount of headaches by performing some research before selecting a contractor. Check the website of the company, ask for references and also get in touch with your business associates. If you have a few questions looming in your mind, you can contact the contractor directly.

When you fix an appointment, ask whether the company holds any certification or license for the work they perform. Enquire whether they can offer any documentation or not. Ask about the affiliations and industrial qualifications of the company. If they claim that they are insured then ask them to provide you with insurance documentation. Also ask them whether they have the manpower and equipment to handle your project or not.