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Hiring a Landscape Design Company: Top 20 Myths

There are a lot of benefits to hiring a landscape design company, no matter what type of property you own.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about landscape design companies that often make property owners in northern New Jersey a little wary about using them. The following are 20 of the most common myths that you may have heard about hiring landscape design companies.

Landscaping companies are for commercial properties only

Landscape Design Company in Bergen County, NJ

For many people, hiring a landscaping company makes sense if you have a gigantic landscape around your commercial property – such as an apartment complex or a mall. However, landscaping companies can be incredibly beneficial to residential homeowners as well. Keeping up appearances helps improve the curb appeal of a home. Not to mention that many homeowners just don’t have the time to maintain their landscape themselves.

Landscaping companies aren’t worth the cost

Improving your landscape can actually help improve the value of your property, making them well worth the cost. Additionally, commercial properties with improved landscape design will attract more business. This is because a company that puts an effort into their physical appearance gives customers or clients the feeling that they put the same effort into their products or services.

Landscaping companies only plant flowers and trim bushes

Landscaping companies do much more than just pick out some pretty flowers to plant on your property or keep everything nice and trim. They also help plan and install hardscape material such as decks, patios, swimming pools, outdoor living rooms and kitchens, irrigation systems and gazebos.

All landscape companies are the same

Never just hire a landscape company based on a referral or their price estimates alone. Every landscape company is different, from the projects they specialize in to the type of certification they hold. Do a little research in order to find the best landscape design company for you.

Landscaping is something you can do yourself

Landscape Design Company in Bergen County, NJ

Don’t be mistaken into thinking that landscape design companies only help to design the layout of your landscape – even that is a difficult task. Everything from your flower beds to your patio has to be carefully considered in order to make sure the landscape is balanced, not just aesthetically but functionally as well.

Additionally, the actual maintenance of the landscape is tougher work than you might think. Doing it yourself will take you a long time since you are not a professional. Odds are you don’t have the time to do it yourself – nor the know-how. Homeowners that try to install hardscapes themselves often end up paying a landscape company more to correct problems.

You’ll have no say in the process

Some property owners are afraid that by hiring a landscape design company, they’ll be giving up control over how their landscape looks. This is not true – a good landscape design company will work closely with the property owner to help create the landscape they want – offering suggestions and improvements whenever it is appropriate.

The best way to find the right company is through referrals

While getting a referral from friends or family will help set you on the right path toward finding a high-quality landscaping company, you shouldn’t just base your decision solely on referrals. Realize that your neighbor may be referring a landscaping company that did an amazing job installing their pool – but you are looking for a landscaping company to help design the layout of your garden. Just because a company is good at one aspect of landscape design doesn’t mean it is good at every aspect. Do a little more research on the companies you are looking to hire.

The appearance of a company doesn’t matter

Today, it is not uncommon to drive around Bergen County and see more than a handful of landscaping companies on the roads. Often, these trucks are old and falling apart. While appearances aren’t everything, finding a landscape design company that cares about the appearance of its trucks also ensures its equipment, and more importantly your landscape, are kept the same way.

Landscape design companies that require deposits are unprofessional

Landscape Design Company in Bergen County, NJ

There is nothing unprofessional or unethical about asking for a deposit before work is done. While you may find that some companies don’t require a deposit for work to begin, this does not mean that those that do are of lesser quality. Many companies can’t work with the hope that they will be paid at the end of the job, especially in an economy where many contractors are simply trying to stay afloat.

Prices are negotiable

While landscape companies will provide you with an estimate, which tends to be a ballpark figure, this does not mean that their work is negotiable. Most landscaping companies do a lot of work in order to figure out ways to reduce their overhead. They do this so that they can offer competitive prices, which means they can’t lower their estimates without losing money. Obviously, you want your landscaping company to turn a profit or else they won’t be around long enough to work on your landscape!

You can save money by not using a permit

Some landscape projects, such as mowing your lawn, aren’t going to require permits. However, some will – such as installing a swimming pool. This depends on your city’s building codes. Forgoing the permit is a big mistake, since it can cost you even more money in fines as well as the costs of brining the work up to code.

You can save money by pulling the permit in your own name

Your landscaping contractor should always pull the permit. This is so that the name of the contractor is on the permit, which then holds them responsible if anything goes wrong. Not to mention that the contractor will understand the drawings and blueprints, which means that if the person providing the permit doesn’t understand something, he or she won’t mandate an unnecessary change that will cost you more money.

Landscape design companies are untrustworthy

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Some homeowners don’t trust landscaping companies because they think that they are a sham. Like every type of business, there are a few bad apples. However, this doesn’t mean that you should dismiss every single landscaping company. All you have to do is ask for a list of references from the company to find out what their reputation is.

A P.O. Box address is a sign of an untrustworthy landscape design company

Companies that have just started out often use a P.O. Box for a number of reasons. It’s more secure than a residential mailbox, thereby providing more protection for contracts and checks sent through the mail. If your landscape designer has a P.O. Box address, he or she may just want to be separating their personal correspondence from their business correspondence.

The landscape design company with the most-affordable rates offers the best value

First of all, just because the price is affordable doesn’t mean that the job they do will be of high quality. Speak to a few references about the work done by the landscaping company before you buy into a low bid. You should also check their estimate to make sure they have priced certain materials correctly. Contractors that are slightly less trustworthy may list cheaper materials, such as wooden beams that are smaller than the ones required, in order to make the estimate seem lower. Always be careful with a contractor that offers the lowest bid.

The landscape design company with the highest rates offers the best value

On the other end of the spectrum, you shouldn’t assume that the highest bid results in the best-quality work either. Their bid may be higher even though they are using the same quality materials as another company. This could be because they have a higher overhead, or because they have a different pricing structure. Always do your research, no matter what the estimate is.

A contract with your landscape design company isn’t necessary

Landscape Design Company in Bergen County, NJ

You should always make sure that everything is written down in a contract. For some landscaping projects, this may seem obvious, such as the installation of a pool or outdoor patio. However, even simple tasks such as planting and mowing should be discussed and written down. The contract should explicitly state what services the landscape company is providing, the cost of supplies, the cost of the service itself, the start and end dates for any projects, the dates for regular maintenance and more.

Insurance isn’t necessary

Not only should you ask every prospective landscaping design company whether or not they are insured, you should ask for proof. The last thing you want is to be liable for any injuries that happen to uninsured employees or damages that occur on your property. You’ll want to see proof of both business liability insurance as well as worker’s compensation coverage before agreeing to hire them.

If the landscape design company has good references, then they are probably certified

You may have received a good reference for a landscaping company, but that doesn’t mean that certification doesn’t matter. Companies that are members in certain trade associations or require employees to be certified are much more serious about their professionalism than those that don’t. A certified company will also make you feel much more at ease allowing them to do larger projects on your property.

Professional landscaping just isn’t necessary

Your yard may look fine the way it is, but why wouldn’t you improve something if you are able to? Improving the landscaping of your yard not only helps make your home look better, it improves the curb appeal as well. This means that visitors will have a much better first impression of your home, and if you ever decide to sell your property, you’ll have a much easier time attracting potential buyers. The same goes for property owners who are running businesses. The better their landscape looks, the easier it is to draw customers and clients.

Final thoughts

As you can see, there are a lot of myths about hiring a landscape design company in Bergen County. Unfortunately, these common misconceptions often prevent property owners from hiring a company, which means they are losing out on the ability to improve their landscape. Improving your landscape does so much more than just make it look prettier – it helps your landscape become more functional and even improves the value of your property as well. If you own property in the northern New Jersey area, then consider hiring a landscape design company to help improve and maintain your landscape today.