Now that you’ve hired a Santa Cruz County landscaping company , you will want to be prepared for the process of working with them for the best results.
Although each landscaper 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 lead landscaper 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 landscape service 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.
Ground-breaking: 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.
Your Santa Cruz County 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 Dealing with Santa Cruz County Landscape Contractors
Do-it-yourself landscaping can seem like an attractive way to save money.
But consider these factors:
- Do you have the knowledge of what plants work for your yard, your climate, your commitment to growing plants?
- Do you understand how to irrigate so that you are not wasting money on plants that won’t survive?
- Do you have the expertise to install any high-end features you may be considering, such as an outdoor kitchen or waterfall?
- Do you have access to high-quality landscaping materials, including professional-grade plants and hardscaping materials
Professional landscapers in Santa Cruz County 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 professional landscape contractors in Santa Cruz or your area include:
- Increase your property value (in some cases, by as much as 15 percent)
- Enhance your outdoor space with their specialized knowledge of the land and climate
- 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
Hiring a knowledgeable Santa Cruz County landscape contractor can save you a lot more time, money and headache in the long run.
Realize the Value of Bonds: Working with Your Santa Cruz County Landscape Contractor
Licensed bonds are mandated for Santa Cruz County landscape contractors, but this doesn’t necessarily mean your job will be completed in the way or in the timeframe that you were hoping for. Payment and performance bonds are the next best thing to helping you 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 provide 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 Santa Cruz County landscape contractor with more experience, whether you live in the larger cities of Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Scotts Valley and Capitola or the smaller cities of Beulah Park, Chittenden, Laurel, Riverside Grove and Zayante, is because contractors who are new 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 obtain 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 Santa Cruz County landscape contractor should be able to provide you with names of these type of companies.
How to Make Payments to Your Santa Cruz County Landscape Contractor
Most Santa Cruz County 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.
You’ll want to be careful about how and when you make payments to your Santa Cruz County landscape contractor. 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. If you have requested a payment and performance bond or are using a joint control company, the down payment cap does not count. You’ll need to 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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