7 Questions to Ask Your Landscape Designer
Making major changes to your landscaping is, obviously, a major investment of both time and resources. Whether you’re looking to create a contemplative garden oasis, hopping neighborhood hang-out, colorful curb appeal, or some mix of all the above, you need to be sure your landscape designer and installer can deliver!
But with so many options, how do you choose? Here are a few key questions to ask your landscaper to find out if they are “the one.”
Do You Understand My Vision?
Or in other words—does your landscaper truly understand what you want out of your landscape and why you want it? Can they articulate it back to you?
This is one of those things we really, really love to do at Bosch’s. It’s not just “landscape design.” It’s using our extensive experience to take our customer’s big ideas and dreams and make them reality. Nothing is more satisfying—or fun!
A good landscaper can execute a plan. A great landscaper makes your vision and passion their own, and can even use their expertise to make further recommendations on how best to achieve that vision. Don’t be afraid to get really specific and detailed about what you want out of your project. The more we know about what you want, the better we can deliver for you.
Have You Done Many Projects Like This Before?
Here’s an easy question for you. Let’s say you need surgery and you’re trying to select the best surgeon for the job. Would you rather pick a surgeon who performs that procedure once or twice per year, or one who does it once or twice per week—or more?
Landscaping and hardscaping aren’t surgery, of course, but it’s still a big, long-term investment, and you want to be sure your contractor has the experience and skillset to do a great job. Don’t be afraid to ask about past projects, or ask for photos of previous projects.
How Do You Choose the Plants You Use?
This is a big one.
If the answer your landscaper gives isn’t much more complicated that “because they look nice,” that’s a potential red flag.
The thing about plants is that, just like people, they have “personalities,” so to speak. Some need lots of sun. Others need lots of shade. Some are hardy and drought-resistant, while others need lots of water at regular intervals. Climate, temperature, soil quality—each plant has a range at which it functions best, and those ranges don’t always overlap from plant to plant.
Each type of flower, shrub, tree, or other plant life should be carefully selected to thrive in the conditions it will be placed in—and depending on how light, shade, and slope vary across your yard, the exact placement of each plant can make a huge difference!
Where Do You Get Those Plants?
If this question wasn’t already answered above, it’s worth asking specifically.
Ideally, your landscaper should be using either plants that were locally grown (when transplanting trees, shrubs, etc.), or seeds of species that are known to grow well in this region.
Keep in mind, they don’t necessarily have to be native species to West Michigan—although that may be something that’s important to you! The most important thing is that they were and do grow well in this climate. Plants that were grown far away and then shipped here are less likely to adapt and thrive in their new environment.
How Much Maintenance Will My New Landscape or Hardscape Require?
There’s no such thing as a “maintenance-free” outdoor environment. You’ll have to devote at least some time to basic things like mowing, raking, weeding, etc. However, there is a big range between the easiest yards to take care of and the most difficult.
As we said before, some plants require regular watering, pruning, fertilizing, weeding, rebarking, and the like in order to be the absolute best they can be, while others grow great with minimal attention.
The same goes for hardscaping elements like patios or pathways. Some materials, like concrete, are as easy as can be, and rarely require more than sweeping and rinsing down with a garden hose. Concrete is also quite easy to repair, too, if it gets cracked.
Other materials, however, might be more prone to staining or developing moss or mold, and thus require more TLC to keep in top shape. That doesn’t necessarily make them worse choices if you really like the style and are willing to put in the work, but consider carefully how much effort you’re realistically willing to make.
All that being said, your ability (or inability) to do all the maintenance yourself doesn’t necessarily have to be the limiting factor here. Bosch’s does provide exceptional landscape maintenance services and can help support your new landscape for years to come!
How Long Will It Take?
Now, let’s be clear. We’re firm believers in the idea that, if you have to choose between doing the project right or doing it fast, you should always opt for quality over speed. And for the record, we do our best to make sure that our customers don’t have to make that choice at all.
That being said, it’s important that your contractor can give you a realistic, informed timetable for when work is projected to be completed—and be honest with you about the possibility of delays. Obviously if you want to have your new patio or outdoor kitchen ready by your annual Fourth of July cookout, you need to know if your contractor can deliver!
Just remember: the earlier you start the process, the better. While we make every effort to finish every project on schedule, weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances we have no control over are always a real threat in this industry. But if we know ahead of time that you have specific hard deadlines, it can help us prioritize in those rare instances where work does get delayed.
What Will It Cost?
Obviously, cost is on everyone’s mind when talking about a landscaping project.
It’s important for you to be upfront with your contractor about what your budget is going to be, since that will dictate what can realistically be achieved. You should also ask for clarification about how unexpected changes in the scope of the project or the design would be billed.
At Bosch’s, we try to be as transparent as possible about how much your project will cost, and use our experience to design and install landscape and hardscape elements that meet your needs and budget. We are very good at figuring out where we can save you some money in certain aspects of the design (and where the extra investments really do make a difference) in order to create a landscape you can really be proud of, without breaking the bank.
Contact Bosch’s for a Free Estimate for Your Next Project
While we understand you have many options to choose from, we hope that you’ll conclude that Bosch’s Landscape and Lawn Specialties is the perfect choice for your next West Michigan landscaping project!
To request a free estimate, give us call at (616) 399-6861, or request one online.