Palm Springs landscape xeriscape
Though they may not advertise a specific home style as their signature look, different companies will specialize in different plant life and scape designs. Photo by Jim Brown.

Finding a landscaper can be a daunting task, especially when there are so many companies to choose from. Before you begin your search, here are some questions to consider to make sure you find the right landscaper for your home.

What is your vision?

Come up with a clear vision of what you would like to see in your yard. Do you want to include hardscaping, such as rocks, walkways or water features, or would you rather stick with plants, grass and trees? Research other midcentury landscapes to get a sense of what you like and don’t like and collect examples that are similar to your ideas. You can even research different plant life you might be interested in, but make sure it will thrive in your climate. These images and ideas will be of assistance when you are trying to narrow down companies.

For those of you that simply can’t narrow it down, here is another question to ask yourself.

What kind of landscaper fits your needs?

Before you start searching online for a particular company, you need to know what kind of landscaper you need. The answer will vary, depending on where you are in your design process. For example, a landscape architect/designer is in charge of planning and conceptualizing your landscape. They will help you with your vision and draw up the actual plans and layout. The only real difference is that a designer doesn’t have the degree that an architect can claim.

A landscape contractor is the one to bring your vision to reality. Landscape contractors are mostly builders. They are the ones to do the work and put everything together. If you have a simple landscape design in mind, you can bypass the architect and go straight to the contractor. If your design is less clear than you would like or has a more intricate setup, calling a landscape architect or designer should be first on your list.

Know that some landscaping companies only work in maintenance, which is helpful once your lawn is set up, but they don’t help with the designing or building process. Keep that in mind for when your project is complete.

You have your vision. You know the kind of landscaper you need. What next?

Does the company match your style?

Though they may not advertise a specific home style as their signature look, different companies will specialize in different plant life and scape designs. Look through their portfolio to find work similar to your vision and make sure they have experience with what you have in mind. If you want a beautiful patio and they don’t have any showcased, you might want to look elsewhere, even if their work is great.

Is the company licensed?

Make sure your landscaper is licensed to work in your state. In most states, a landscaper is required to have a license before they begin work on a project. There are many different certifications and licenses, depending on the kind of landscaper. Architects should have some form of LA at the end of their title, signifying they are certified as a Landscape Architect. The preceding letters can be a P for “professional,” an R for “registered,” or an L for “licensed.” Contractors don’t have a uniform license across the board, so ensure they are licensed, but you don’t have to look for anything specific.

If a designer claims they are part of an association, ensure that they are also certified with that association, as most associations don’t automatically require certification of their members.