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Why Trust Diamond Certified Landscape Contractors Rated Highest in Quality?

Custom landscaping by a landscape contractor.

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a landscape contractor that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified landscaper. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated landscaping contractor and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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Jerry Allison is a 42-year veteran of the landscaping industry and president of Jerry Allison Landscaping, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2013. He can be reached at (831) 275-0999 or by email.

Jerry Allison

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Jerry Allison: A Natural Development

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

WATSONVILLE — When Jerry Allison got his first proper landscaping job in 1974, he wasn’t new to the field; rather, it was something he’d long been acquainted with. “I’ve been doing landscaping work since I was a kid,” he remembers. “When I was 10 years old, I used to mow and edge my neighbors’ lawns, and I spent my high school years gardening to make extra money, so it was something that just came naturally to me.” Given his innate inclinations, it didn’t take long for Jerry to progress in the industry—after working at a plant nursery for two years, he got his contractor’s license and started his own landscaping business.

Today, as president of Jerry Allison Landscaping, Inc., Jerry says his favorite part of his job is bringing his clients’ projects from conception to completion. “I enjoy the process of taking something I’ve envisioned in my mind and making it a reality. That was always the most exciting aspect of the job for me, and it continues to be today.”

Having lived in a variety of locations during his childhood (mainly due to the itinerant nature of his father’s military career), when Jerry moved to Santa Cruz in 1974, he intended to stay put. Four decades later, he considers the city and its associated county an ideal environment for a landscaping professional to succeed. “There are a lot of amazing opportunities here in terms of landscaping projects, so it’s a great place to be doing what I do. Plus, this area has a lot of different soil types, which keeps things interesting and challenging.”

Outside of work, Jerry spends the bulk of his free time with his wife, Cecile, and their family. “My stepson, Scot, was the best man at our wedding, and today he works for my company as office manager and bookkeeper,” he says. “Cecile and I also have a daughter, Calla, and a grandson, Braden, who live in Southern California, so we visit them pretty regularly.” Jerry also makes it a point to stay physically active. “I swim two to three times a week and do a lot of biking with my wife. We recently agreed to do a triathlon with my daughter, so we’ve been doing a lot of swimming, running and biking in preparation.”

In his life and career, Jerry espouses the virtues of biting off more than you can chew. “Before I was a landscape contractor, I worked as a river guide,” he recounts. “When I started that job, I didn’t know what I was doing—in fact, during the first year, my coworkers called me the ‘rock magnet.’ But eventually, I learned the ropes and got really good at it. Ever since then, that’s pretty much how I’ve pursued everything: by jumping in, giving it my best effort and figuring things out as I go.”

When asked what his future retirement might look like, Jerry says he’ll have no trouble finding ways to stay busy. “I have a hard time not doing anything. For example, the first time I took time off after starting my business, Cecile and I went to Hawaii for what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation. The guy who lived next door to our rental house was in the process of building a rock wall, and I ended up helping him work on it because it looked more fun than just sitting around at the beach.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Have you ever read a book more than once?
A: “The Catcher in the Rye.” I first read it in high school, and I picked it up again recently and really enjoyed it.

Q: What’s your favorite tree?
A: The Dawn Redwood. During a trip to New Zealand, I went to a park and found a Dawn Redwood that had been planted on the exact date that I was born, which, coincidentally, is International Arbor Day. It’s had a special place in my heart ever since.

Q: If you had a theme song, what would it be?
A: “Gettin’ By” by Jerry Jeff Walker. When I was a river guide, I used to bring my guitar along and regale my passengers by singing songs, and that was kind of my theme.

Q: What’s the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?
A: Chocolate-covered crickets.

Q: What’s your favorite newspaper comic strip?
A: “Lio.”

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The New Paradigm of Landscape Irrigation


WATSONVILLE — After four years of drought in California, forecasts of a wet winter mean relief may finally be in sight. While the ongoing lack of rain has taken a toll on the state’s landscape production and water supply, it’s had at… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: The New Paradigm of Landscape Irrigation

Complete Video Transcription:

WATSONVILLE — Host, Sarah Rutan: Some people think things will simply return to normal after the California drought is over, but when it comes to landscape irrigation, what’s… Read more




  • Dr. Earth

  • Lilly Miller

  • Rincon-Vitova Insectaries

  • Belgard

  • CalStone

  • Pacific Nurseries of California

  • Weathermatic

  • Basalite

  • Rain Bird

  • Keystone

Orbit Irrigation Systems
Netafim Drip Irrigation
Hampton Bay Landscape Lighting
Hadco Lighting
McNear Brick & Block
Baselite Outdoor Lighting
Irritrol Irrigation Systems
Kim Lighting
Rain Bird Irrigation
Unique Outdoor Lighting
Hunter Irrigation
Toro Landscape Equipment
Monrovia Plants
Kichler Landscape Lighting
Intermatic Landscape Lighting
Dixon Landscape Materials
Keystone Retaining Walls
Jain Irrigation Systems
Calstone Landscape Paving
FX Luminaire Lighting

landscape design
garden landscaping
xeriscape design & installation
water-efficient landscaping
backyard landscaping services
front yard landscaping installation
landscaping rock installation
landscape maintenance
pool area landscaping
hardscaping / hardscape design
commercial landscaping services
residential landscaping installations
patio landscaping
hillside landscaping plans
small landscape gardens
privacy landscaping design
new landscape installation
landscape lighting installation
landscape supplies
flower garden design & installation
landscape management
garden plant selection & installation
landscape edging design

Big Sur
Bolsa Knolls
Cottage Corners
Cannery Row
Carmel Highlands
Carmel Valley Village
Carmel Valley
Confederate Corners
Del Monte
Del Monte Forest
Del Monte Heights
Del Rey Oaks
East Garrison
Fort Romie
Gabilan Acres
King City
Las Lomas
Millers Ranch
Moss Landing
New Monterey
Oak Hills
Old Hilltown
Pacific Grove
Pacific Grove Acres
Pebble Beach
River Oaks
San Benito
San Juan Bautista
Tres Pinos
Robles Del Rio
San Ardo
San Lucas
Sand City
Santa Rita
Spreckels Junction
Sycamore Flat
Tassajara Hot Springs
Watsonville Junction


ANLA American Nursery & Landscape Association (http://www.anla.org/)
APLD Association of Professional Landscape Designers (http://www.apld.org)
ASLA American Society of Landscape Architects (www.asla.org)
BBB Better Business Bureau (http://www.bbb.com/)
CLCA California Landscape Contractors Association (http://www.clca.org/)
CLCASFBA CLCA Bay Area Chapter (www.clcasfba.org)
CSLB Contractors State License Board (www.cslb.ca.gov)
DCA California Department of Consumer Affairs (www.dca.ca.gov)
Diamond Certified (www.diamondcertified.org)
ELA Ecological Landscaping Association (http://www.ecolandscping.org/)
IA Irrigation Association (www.irrigation.org)
IALE International Association of Landscape Ecology (http://www.landscape-ecology.org/)
LDA Landscape Design Association (www.ldaonline.org)
NLAE Nursery & Landscape Association Executives of North America (http://www.nlae.org/)
PLANET The Professional Landcare Network (www.landcarenetwork.org)
WNLA Western Nursery and Landscape Association (www.wnla.org)

Know What You Want
What to Ask Yourself before Beginning Your Search for a Landscape Contractor in the Counties of San Benito and Monterey

The first step towards creating a professional landscape in your outdoor space is to clearly understand exactly why you are seeking professional help with your yard. You have to know why you want to change the look of your landscape before a professional landscaper can begin the process of transformation.

Being straightforward with yourself about the state of your budget for any outdoor project will also be very helpful in starting a defined search for a Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractor. As with any home-improvement project, a budget must be tentative and allow for setbacks or complications, but you must have a number in mind before you begin. To truly be ready to answer the question of “how much,” you will need to clarify what exactly needs to happen with your space, how much of your landscape you are going to tackle and the basic idea of what you want the transformation to look like. You don’t have to come up with a design (that is why you are hiring a professional), but you do need to have some small clue as to what you are looking for so that you know how to plan, especially when it comes to creating a budget.

In order to help you create a tentative plan and budget, take a look at the questions below. If you answer them honestly for yourself, you will be well on your way to beginning the real process of hiring a good landscape contractor in Monterey and San Benito Counties, including from any of the cities of Salinas, Monterey, Marina, Greenfield, Gonzales and Hollister 7 .

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  • Am I looking for a landscape contractor to increase the value of my property?
  • Do I want to increase my enjoyment with my outdoor space?
  • Do I have water and/or energy concerns that are prompting my need for a landscape contractor?
  • Am I endeavoring to create a safe environment for children and/or pets with a new landscape?
  • What outdoor activities does my current landscape allow for? What would I like a professional landscape to support?
  • Do I have any idea what style I am looking for (English garden, new age tranquility, etc.) or do I need professional help with that step as well?
  • What features am I interested in (water fountains, rock gardens, waterfalls, built-in barbecuing space, etc.)?
  • What materials do I like best (granite, stone, wood, etc.)?
  • How big of an area (in square feet) am I looking to overhaul?
  • What is the current state of my outdoor space (rough dirt and rock, basic grass, terraced, etc.)?
  • How much am I willing and/or able to spend on this landscaping project?
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What To Ask In Person
Questions to Ask a Landscape Contractor in the Counties of Monterey and San Benito in Person

Once you have finished enough phone interviews to feel confident in reducing the number of choices for a suitable Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractor, you are now ready to visit some contractors where you live, whether that’s in the larger cities of Salinas, Monterey, Marina, Greenfield, Gonzales and Hollister 7  or the smaller cities of Jamesburg, Logan, Plaskett, Sand City and Welby. Use the following questions to help you hire the right landscape contractor for you once you have visited some select firms.

  • Do you provide the sort of landscaping design and/or installation I am looking for?
  • Can you help me identify plants that work well in our Monterey and San Benito Counties climate?
  • How long do you think it will take to complete my proposed project?
  • Is it your policy to provide a written contract for all new landscaping?
  • Do you provide landscaping maintenance? Are there any discounts for customers who have you design and/or do the initial installation?
  • If permits have to be obtained for my planned project, who is responsible for securing those, are you or am I?
  • Will I be assigned one designer and/or contractor to work with throughout my project, or does your company float designers and/or contractors?
  • Can you provide me with ten new addresses and contacts for landscaping installations you have done recently and (if you provide maintenance) five new addresses for landscaping maintenance that you are working on currently?
  • Can I see certified proof of your contractor’s license, liability insurance and workmen’s compensation?
  • Do you hold any other professional credentials or belong to any associations?
  • May I examine your portfolio?
  • How quickly after we solidify my landscaping plan can I expect a contract?
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  • What To Ask References
    Questions to Ask References of Landscape Contractors in the Counties of Monterey and San Benito

    It is difficult to be sure that the Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractor you end up choosing is the best fit for you. But with Diamond Certified on your side, you can have assurance in your choice!

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified landscape contractor because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality from a landscape contractor in Monterey and San Benito Counties, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are obtainable online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified landscape contractor in your area, particularly if you live in the smaller cities of Aromas, Bolsa Knolls, Neponset, Tres Pinos and Santa Rita, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by your contractor. Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the landscaping firm are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the contractors will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

    If you do call references on your own, ask for a list of the company’s 10 most recent customers with projects similar to yours. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied. Use the following questions to learn all you can you’re your Monterey and San Benito Counties  landscape contractor references.

    • Did this contractor provide open and well-timed communication throughout your project?
    • Did this contractor ensure that he/she left your outdoor space safe for your family and pets during the project’s completion?
    • Did this contractor clean up the worksite each day?
    • Did this contractor keep ahead of delays as much as possible and give good warning if a delay was unavoidable?
    • Was the project completed within the time frame and your agreed-upon budget?
    • Did this contractor keep current with all building codes and permits?
    • If this contractor is providing landscaping maintenance, are you happy with their response time and maintenance abilities?
    • Were you satisfied with their service? Would you/have you recommended this contractor?
    • Would you hire this contractor again?
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  • Review Your Options
    Finding and Hiring a Good Landscape Contractor in the Counties of Monterey and San Benito

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Monterey and San Benito County landscaping contractors stand as one of the most complicated pieces of the home improvement industry puzzle. Some contractors work on relatively small tasks like mulch delivery and installation, seasonal planting, sprinkler systems, etc. Larger landscaping firms help clients draft a plan for their outdoor space that will have the neighbors heads turning and fingers dialing a landscape professional of their own.

    Whether you live in the larger cities of Seaside, Soledad, Pacific Grove, King City and Carmel-by-the-Sea and San Juan Bautista or the smaller cities of Aromas, Bolsa Knolls, Neponset, Tres Pinos and Santa Rita, both types of companies can be found and you have to understand your needs before making a final decision on who to hire.

    Once you’ve decided on the kind of landscaping project you have on your hands and the type of company you want to hire, you’ll need to be aware that landscaping can get expensive. According to commercial data, the average cost to install landscaping for residential properties is $4,000. Your project may fall well under or well over the national average, but there are ways to get good value for whatever monetary amount you decide to spend. Your choice of a landscaping contractor is one of the biggest factors in gaining value for the money you spend on your outdoor oasis. So before deciding on the best landscaping contractor in Monterey and San Benito Counties for you, it’s important to consider the following questions.

    • Have I carefully assessed my needs, measured my property and done appropriate prior research to understand the type of landscaping firm I need to hire?
    • Do I have an idea of the design I am looking to implement, or do I need help with that initial step?
    • What is my budget for this project?
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  • How To Work With
    What to Anticipate when Working with a Landscape Contractor in Monterey and San Benito County

    Now that you’ve employed a landscape contractor, you will want to be prepared for the process of working with them for the best results. Although each contractor works in their own way, the following steps are a generalized plan for the process of working with your landscape contractor.

    Initial Consultation Interview:
    This will happen at your outdoor site. The contractor should ask to hear your version of the transformation that will take place, review the property, discuss initial design plans and discuss your options according to your budget and needs. From this interview, a tentative design and contract can be built.

    Questionnaire or Review Interview:
    Synthesis of every wish and option talked about during the first consultation. This can also include an actual questionnaire complete with pictures of other designs to review and give comments on. Your color palette for the project should be finalized at this step.

    In-depth site analysis:
    The contractor should take photos, completely measure the space, analyze your soil, look into any building codes or permits needed, note weather patterns and drainage issues as well as slate any existing plant material for relocation or removal.

    Concept sketching and plan development:
    Once there is an agreed-upon base plan, your contractor should offer other ideas and options for your space. After these have been discussed, the final design can be approved. Final design needs to include everything from site elements to material specifications, irrigation system determination to plant installation.

    The start date for the project, usually beginning with the removal and rearrangement any existing landscape.

    Site observation:
    Your contractor should visit your project periodically to monitor installation and answer any questions or concerns that may have arisen. This is the time to bring up any changes to the design that you are considering.

    Plant installation:
    This is one of the final steps to completing your landscaping project and your contractor needs to ensure that you are an integral part of the process. You need to understand the plants that are going to be part of your outdoor life for years to come.

    Final on-site interview:
    Your contractor should take a walk-through your project with you upon completion to review any last instructions and to answer any last questions you might have. This is the time to make sure your satisfaction is met in regards to any contractual elements.

    Remember that your Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractor may work a little differently through these steps, but the process should look similar and the main details should still be included, even if they happen at differing times.

    Benefits of Working with Landscape Contractors in Monterey and San Benito County
    You may wonder if it is worth all the trouble to look for and hire a Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractor, especially if you live in a smaller city like Aromas, Bolsa Knolls, Neponset, Tres Pinos and Santa Rita. Do-it-yourself landscaping can seem like an attractive way to save money.

    However, professional landscapers in Monterey and San Benito Counties can provide you with all the knowledge, expertise and experience it will take to turn your bland yard into an outdoor oasis. Benefits of working with a trustworthy landscape contractor include:

    • Increase your property value (in some cases, by as much as 15 percent)
    • Bring focus to your vision for transforming your outdoor space and a design that incorporates energy (and therefore money) saving tips
    • Installation of irrigation, sprinkler, lighting systems, etc. that take special know-how and improve your project to a new level
    • Doing landscaping projects by yourself may seem to save you costs up front, but hiring a knowledgeable Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractor can save you a lot more time, money and headache in the long run.
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  • Be a Good Customer
    How You Can Be a Good Customer When Dealing with Landscape Contractors

    It’s the landscape contractor’s concern to put in quality landscapes using the best possible installation techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your landscape contractor, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when employing a Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractor.

    Be clear and upfront with the contractor. Let them know what you want, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can fulfill your expectations.

    Remember, a sociable smile goes a long way!

    Before you hire a landscape contractor in Monterey and San Benito Counties, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the firm’s representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local landscape contractors occur because of a breakdown in communication.

    Ask your contractor if you should call to check on the progress or if he/she will call you with updates.

    Be sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they’re working on your yard. The work will move along more smoothly if your contractor can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.

    When your contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the landscaping project on schedule.
    Pay for the landscaping work punctually.

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Landscape contractors in Monterey and San Benito Counties are grateful for customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Working with Your Landscape Contractor in the Counties of Monterey and San Benito

Licensed bonds are mandated for Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractors, but this doesn’t necessarily mean your job will be concluded in the way or in the timeframe that you were hoping for.

Payment and performance bonds help make sure you get the work you pay for. Although nothing can really ensure that your project will be completed, these bonds give a financial guarantee against mechanics’ liens—these can be filed against you if your landscape contractor does not pay subcontractors or suppliers that they use. Payment and performance bonds also deliver a certain amount of money to finish a project if your contractor will not do it. Remember that this bond should include the total estimated cost, to fully cover any expenses you may be left with. You should know that these bonds can cost one to five percent over the total price, but you have to weigh how much it will gain you in the end if something goes wrong.

Another reason to look for a Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractor with more experience, whether you live in the larger cities of Seaside, Soledad, Pacific Grove, King City and Carmel-by-the-Sea and San Juan Bautista or the smaller cities of Jamesburg, Logan, Plaskett, Sand City and Welby, is because contractors who are fresh to the landscaping world may not be able to obtain these payment and performance bonds.

There is one other option to give your project a sense of security, especially if your contractor is unable to acquire a bond. Joint control companies specialize in construction, both building and landscaping. These companies receive your payment and then distribute it to your contractor and its suppliers, subcontractors, etc. A joint control company should take a look at the final project before paying out your money and also provide a warranty against any mechanics’ liens. Your Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractor should be able to provide you with names of these type of companies.

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Written Warranties
Written Contracts and your Landscape Contractor

California law states that home enhancement projects over $500 must be agreed-upon in writing. It is still best, even if your landscaping project is under that amount, that you request a written contract.

A contract should always include the following:

  • Name, address, contractor’s state license number and telephone number of the contractor
  • Registration number of any employee involved on the project
  • A detailed description of the work to be completed and materials list (including quantity and type of plants and irrigation equipment)
  • Any warrantees or guarantees (including verbal contracts) on work and equipment
  • Estimated start and end date
  • A statement holding the contractor to clean up and removal of all job-related detritus after the completion of the project
  • A statement explaining any building permits needed or codes to be followed and ways to safeguard yourself and your property
  • A statement that the contractor will uphold his/her bond, if one exists

After signing the contract, changes that you and/or the contractor make in the work or materials to be use must be added in writing. The change order must also include any increases or reductions in the total job price.
If you have carefully planned the job and selected a licensed Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractor, including those in the smaller cities of Aromas, Bolsa Knolls, Neponset, Tres Pinos and Santa Rita, the job should progress without any major problems.

Paying Your Landscape Contractor in the Counties of Monterey and San Benito
If it is your first time working with the company, you want to make sure that the job will get done before you put money into it. Be especially guarded against contractors who ask for any amount before starting your project. Most Monterey and San Benito Counties contractors do not require a down payment, although they may request their payment in installments over the length of the project. If a down payment is expected, remember that the legal limit for home improvement projects is only 10 percent of the total estimated cost of the job or $1,000, whichever comes out to less.

If you have requested a payment and performance bond or are using a joint control company, this down payment cap does not count. Make sure that any down payment or payment schedule is written in your contract and always make payments by money order or check, never cash.

Finally, do not pay your last installment until the project meets your expectations and the specifications outlined in your contract. Even small things, such as cleaning up any remaining trash in your yard should be the responsibility of your contractor, and to protect yourself, it is always best to withhold final payments until you are completely satisfied.

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Top 10 Requests
Top Ten Service Requests

Landscaping ideas can be as varied as the number of people who own homes and want to beautify their outdoor spaces. It is challenging to narrow down what clients of Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractors generally want when they hire a landscaping firm to help with their outdoor transformation. However, the following 10 elements of landscaping design are some of the most commonly requested features for outdoor installation. Speak with your Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractor, including those in Seaside, Soledad, Pacific Grove, King City and Carmel-by-the-Sea and San Juan Bautista, to see what they are willing and/or able to undertake in your outdoor space.

Flower and/or plant garden
Most commonly thought of as softscaping, flowers and plants are just one of the many ways landscape contractors improve the beauty and value of your home. Their expertise can help you choose the right flowers and plants to flourish in your yard.

Outdoor lighting
Not often associated with the landscape, outdoor lighting is actually an integral part of providing beauty and safety to your outdoor space. Landscape contractors will either be trained to do this part themselves or hire a subcontractor who specializes in lighting to accomplish your design.

Stone walkways
The more natural choice for walkways in your outdoor space, stone can enhance the look of your yard without adding a lot of man-made material. Stone walkways also help showcase any spaces that have been landscaped without a lot of traffic to ruin planted areas.

Your Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractor can help you decide on the material best suited to your outdoor space for installing a patio. Adding a patio can boost not only the beauty of your yard, but also the usability.

Water features are a fantastic way to bring interest and depth to your landscape. Fountains help contain the water to a smaller, more manageable space and you can work with your Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractor to find one that fits your style and budget.

Outdoor kitchens and fire pits
Like adding another room to your house, the outdoor kitchen and fire pit truly adds measureable value to your property. While this can be a costly component to landscaping, your contractor can work with you to find an outdoor kitchen and/or fire pit that scales to meet your needs.

Koi ponds
Fish add an instant sense of true nature to your outdoor space not accomplished by any other feature. Koi ponds are popular for those homeowners who are willing to keep up the effort it takes to maintain them. Discuss maintenance with your Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractor, as it can be extensive.

Natural streams and waterfalls
Another water feature with a little more natural credibility than a fountain, the stream and/or waterfall can immediately transform an outdoor space into a magical oasis. This feature also changes the types of plants that can be introduced into your yard, as it adds natural irrigation and watering capabilities.

Brick paver walkways
Similar to a stone walkway, the brick paver walkway assists you in directing outdoor traffic in your landscaped space and keep trampling to a minimum. Brick pavers are much more uniform and suited to a design that incorporates more rigid lines between naturally occurring landscapes and man-made features.

Helpful with erosion control and drainage issues, terracing can be a lovely way to address difficulties with your outdoor space. Your Monterey and San Benito Counties landscape contractor can provide many options for accomplishing this look while incorporating your other design wants and needs.

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Terms for Landscaping Companies

Landscape contracting and the landscaping business in general have a specific language that may sometimes feel like a code that needs cracking. The following list of terms and definitions should help you navigate your way when hiring and working with your Alameda County landscape contractor.

air rights
A type of easement which allows a contractor to build over a street or structure.

American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)
A professional society that represents landscape architects betters their practice and understanding through education, research, state registration, etc.

base plan
A plan showing site boundaries and features, used as a basis for further development.

building codes
Regulations that specify the type of methods and materials allowed on a project.

building permit
An authorization dispensed by a government agency which permits construction of a project according to agreed-upon specifications.

built environment
A man-made creation or alterations to an outdoor space, including its natural resources.

Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD)
A digital design program that produces precise plans for landscaping projects.

Also known as: CAD, computer aided design
The form of the land. Contour lines are map lines which are used to show and measure slope and drainage.

The safeguard, improvement and use of natural resources according to principles that will guarantee economic or social benefits for our environment now and in the future.

conservation plan
A plan for protecting natural or manufactured resources. Used as a tool in making decisions regarding soil, water, vegetation, manufactured objects and other resources.

The creative illustration, planning and specification of outdoor space for utility, value and beauty.

Where water escapes from a land surface or subsurface, through sewers or natural means.

The legal grant to use an area of designated property.

How the land slopes. Grading is the process of changing the degree of the slope in order to promote drainage and landscape design.

Things that are added to a landscape, such as paving stones, gravel, walkways, irrigation systems, roads, retaining walls, sculpture, street amenities, fountains, etc.

International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA)
A multinational organization of landscapers whose purpose is the advancement of landscape design.

The amount of land that can be seen at a glance.

landscape architect
A professional who designs outdoor spaces from whole ecosystems to residential sites

Also known as: designer, planner, consultant

landscape architecture
The science and art of design of the land involving natural and built elements and concern for resource conservation to improve outdoor spaces. Effective landscape architecture makes the most of the land, adds value to a project and minimizes costs, all while minimizing negative effects to nature.

landscape contractor
A trained installer of landscapes who implements the plans of landscape architects.

manipulation of space
The organization of land for aesthetic or functional design. Refers to the building of small backyard patios to huge urban plazas.

master plan
An initial plan showing proposed development. Master plans show phases of work needing to be completed and are therefore subject to changes over time.

natural resources
Elements naturally occurring in an area that can be used to fulfill human needs, including air, soil, water, native vegetation, etc.

site plan
A drawing including dimensions that indicates the form and physical objects existing in an outdoor space and those still to be built.

The naturally occurring elements landscape architects work with, such as plant materials.

Legal land-use control and building regulations usually implemented by a municipality, involving the designation of land areas for specific purposes.

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Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ for Landscape Contractors

Q: Why select a Diamond Certified landscape contractor?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a landscape contractor with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only landscape contractors rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified landscape contractor.

Q: What services can a landscape contractor provide?
A: A good landscape contractor will be able to hear your vision and provide insight on what can work with your space. They will start by crafting a plan that fits your specific needs and vision. Your contractor will manage the people, materials and equipment needed to produce the transformation to your outdoor space. They are also in charge of any building permits and your safety during the project’s completion. A really good landscape contractor will give you a final product that maintains itself as much as possible and performs as good as it looks.

Q: When should I employ a landscape contractor?
A: There is not a point too soon at which you should look for a licensed contractor. As soon as you are dedicated to landscaping your space, which means you need to know what you don’t like about your current yard and what you would want installed to make it more enjoyable, then you are ready to begin your search. Hiring a licensed contractor early in the process can help you keep from making costly mistakes and heightens the chances that you will be pleased with the final outcome.

Q: How can I make sure I am hiring the best possible landscape contractor?
A: Seeking out a Diamond Certified landscape contractor is always the best place to begin. Beyond that you should ask around to see if any family, friends, neighbors or co-workers have hired contractors that they would recommend. It is essential to hire a contractor who is familiar with the type of project you are looking to complete. Pay attention to the services and experience of every company you interview.

Q: What is the best indicator that I have hired the right landscape contractor?
A: Research indicates that the number one way people can tell they will be satisfied with the final results of their landscaping project is whether or not they were able to communicate effectively with the landscape contractor from the beginning of their professional relationship. Your contractor should make you feel comfortable to bring up any questions or concerns that arise along the way. In addition, you should be confident that your landscape contractor understands from the outset what you believe your transformation should look like. Ask many clarifying questions as you work on a plan together to make sure that you are on the same wavelength as your contractor.

Q: Why should I choose a licensed landscape contractor?
A: Licensed contractors are bonded against negligent work and any breaches of contract. In addition, licensed contractors in the state of California are required to serve in the field for at least four years before applying for a license. Hiring a licensed contractor ensures that the company working on your outdoor space has professional experience and has passed an exam that tests their knowledge of the field extensively.

Q: How much expense will hiring a landscape contractor add to my project?
A: You will pay for the expertise of a landscape contractor, but hiring the right one can in fact save you a lot of money. The expertise you pay for will let you know exactly what features your outdoor space is suited for and what can be installed with ease and less expense. You won’t waste nearly as much money and they can also help you seriously reduce maintenance costs following the installation of a well-planned landscape. In addition, because of the man and machine power at their disposal, they can complete projects in much less time than it would take you to do the same thing.

Q: How do landscape contractors get paid?
A: Landscape contractors can charge based on time it takes to complete a project, an agreed-upon project fee, a percentage of the cost of the total work done or by the square foot area of the project. You should be clear on how a contractor charges before you enter into a professional relationship with them, ask for a detailed estimate and always work under a specified contract.

Q: What is my role in the process of landscaping my space?
A: You will need to clearly share your design wants, decide on a workable budget and provide insight into how the design will affect the livability and enjoyment of your space. A trustworthy contractor will continue to communicate with you throughout the process and be available to lend advice and design suggestions. You need to feel like a partner in the process and informed along the way.

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