Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

  • Why this rating is the most accurate.
  • Our editors gather deep company info.
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Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

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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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Santa Cruz County – Landscape – Contractor CATEGORY

Scott Long is a 35-year veteran of the landscaping industry and vice president of Central Coast Landscape and Maintenance, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (831) 704-6948 or by email.

Scott Long

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Scott Long: A Verdant Venture

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CAPITOLA — Scott Long started his career in construction, but when his livelihood dried up (literally), he shifted toward an adjacent professional field. “My background is in home building,” he says. “Around 1980, there was a water moratorium in Santa Cruz and they weren’t issuing any building permits, which really put a halt to new construction. I wanted to continue working outside, so when landscaping came up as an option, I decided to dive in. My father, Jack, and I established Central Coast Landscape and Maintenance in 1982 and we’ve been at it ever since.”

Today, Scott says his favorite thing about landscape work is being able to augment the natural beauty of the sites he services. “We live in a beautiful spot, so I like the fact that instead of tearing things up to make room for buildings, we actually get to enhance existing landscapes and keep them beautiful.”

A longtime resident of Santa Cruz (where he lives with his wife, Susan), Scott expresses his appreciation for its characteristic diversity. “Santa Cruz has the best of everything. It has the beach, the mountains and a very diverse population, all of whom seem to get along quite well.”

Outside of work, Scott spends his time on a variety of active pastimes. “Besides being an avid golfer, I have a longtime interest in off-road racing,” he says. “I raced motocross professionally when I was younger, and I’m still involved with a San Clemente-based team called the Desert Assassins.” Additionally, Scott enjoys spending time with his and Susan’s two grown children, Cameron and Chanel.

In regard to his professional career, Scott espouses the importance of maintaining his reputation. “At Central Coast, we pride ourselves on doing what we say we’re going to do and performing at a high level,” he explains. “Our reputation is very important to us, and after 35 years, we’ve managed to keep it in high regard in our local area.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Scott says he’d see the world. “I don’t plan on retiring any time soon, but if I did, I’d probably do some traveling. There are a bunch of golf courses I’d like to play, both here and abroad, so maybe I’d do a world golfing tour.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Lillian’s Italian Kitchen in Santa Cruz.

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird.

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The Oakland Raiders.

Q: How do you like your eggs?
A: With just the whites.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My bicycle.

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The Benefits of Aerating Your Lawn

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CAPITOLA — When it comes to a home’s landscape, there are few things worse than a patchy, unsightly lawn. Preventing this condition often requires supplementary measures to watering, such as fertilization. Another simple and effective way to invigorate your lawn is by… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: The Aeration Advantage

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Complete Video Transcription:

CAPITOLA — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re looking for ways to promote the health and vitality of your lawn, consider the beneficial effects of aeration. Today we’re in… Read more

SELECTED PHOTOS FROM THESE TOP RATED COMPANIES

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

  • Dr. Earth

  • Lilly Miller

  • Rincon-Vitova Insectaries

  • Belgard

  • CalStone

  • Pacific Nurseries of California

  • Weathermatic

  • Basalite

  • Rain Bird

  • Keystone

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

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

Amesti
Aptos
Aptos Hills
Ben Lomond
Beulah Park
Bonny Doon
Boulder Creek
Brackney
Brookdale
Camp Evers
Capitola
Chittenden
Corralitos
Davenport
Day Valley
Ellicott
Felton
Forest Park
Forest Springs
Freedom
Glen Arbor
Glenwood
Gordola
Interlaken
La Selva Beach
Larkin Valley
Laurel
Live Oak
Lompico
Majors
Mission Springs
Monte Toyon
Mount Hermon
Olympia
Opal Cliffs
Paradise Park
Pasatiempo
Redwood Grove
Rincon
Rio Del Mar
Riverside Grove
Rob Roy Junction
San Lorenzo Park
Santa Cruz
Scotts Valley
Seabright
Soquel
Swanton
The Willows
Twin Lakes
Watsonville
Wildwood
Zayante

95003
95005
95006
95007
95010
95017
95018
95030
95033
95041
95060
95062
95064
95065
95066
95073

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)
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)
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
Clarify Your Needs before Hiring a Santa Cruz County Landscape Contractor

Being honest with yourself about the state of your budget for any outdoor project will also be very helpful in starting a defined search for a Santa Cruz County landscape contractor. 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.

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 idea 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 Santa Cruz County, including from any of the cities of Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Scotts Valley and Capitola.

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified landscaping 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 attempting 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 revamp?
  • 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
Interview Santa Cruz County Landscape Contractor in Person

Once you have completed enough phone interviews to feel confident in narrowing down your choices for a suitable Santa Cruz County landscape contractor, you are now ready to visit some contractors that serve your area, including Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Scotts Valley and Capitola or beyond.

Use the following questions to help you hire the right landscape contractor for you once you have visited some select firms.

  • Do you specialize in the sort of landscaping design and/or installation I am looking for?
  • Can you help me identify plants that work well in our Santa Cruz County 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 proposed project, who is responsible for securing those, are you or am I?
  • Will I be assigned one designer and/or landscaping 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 professional credentials or belong to any landscaping associations?
  • May I review 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 Discuss with References of Local Landscapers

    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 Santa Cruz County, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified landscaping company. Diamond Certified reports are available 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.

    It is difficult to be sure that the Santa Cruz County landscapers you end up choosing is the best fit for you. But with Diamond Certified on your side, you can have confidence in your choice.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified landscape contractor in your area, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by the landscaping companies you're considering.

    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, specifically 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 Santa Cruz County  landscape contractor references.

    • Did this landscaper provide open and timely communication throughout your project?
    • Did this Santa Cruz landscaping company ensure that he/she left your outdoor space safe for your family and pets during the project’s completion?
    • 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 landscaping service keep current with all building codes and permits?
    • If this landscape company is providing landscaping maintenance services, are you happy with their response time and maintenance service?
    • Were you satisfied with their landscaping services? Would you/have you recommended this contractor?Would you hire this contractor again?
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  • Review Your Options
    Finding Good Landscape Services in Santa Cruz County

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

    Santa Cruz County landscaping services stand as one of the most complicated pieces of the home improvement industry puzzle. Some landscapers work on relatively small tasks like mulch delivery and installation, seasonal planting, sprinkler system services, etc.

    Larger landscaping firms in Santa Cruz help clients draft a plan for their outdoor space that will have the neighbors heads turning and fingers dialing a landscaping professional of their own.

    Whether you live in the larger cities of Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Scotts Valley and Capitola or the smaller cities of Amesti, Davenport, Monte Toyon, Rio Del Mar and Wildwood, 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.

    Of course, 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 Santa Cruz County 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?
    • Is there a stand-out landscaper who can meet my needs in terms of landscaping services, pricing, landscape materials and customer service?
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  • How To Work With
    Working with Santa Cruz County Landscaping Services

    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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  • Be a Good Customer
    Getting the Most from Your Contract with Local Landscapers

    It's the landscape contractor’s responsibility to put in quality landscapes using the best possible installation techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your new landscaping services, too.

    Here are a few steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Santa Cruz County 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 satisfy your expectations.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!
    • Before you hire a landscape contractor in Santa Cruz County, 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. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • 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 services promptly.

    Why would you want to be a fair dealing customer? Landscape contractors in Santa Cruz County appreciate 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
Understanding Written Contracts from Landscaping Companies

A contract for professional landscaping services in Santa Cruz County should always include the following:

  • The busienss name, address, landscaping contractor’s state license number and telephone number
  • The 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
  • Approximate 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 the ways to protect yourself and your property
  • A statement that the contractor will uphold his/her bond, if one exists

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

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 Santa Cruz County landscape contractor, the job should progress without any major problems.

Once you are satisfied with the landscaping services, ask the landscaper you’ve hired to walk you though the completed landscaping services. At this time, check the work against the invoice or estimate your were given, and make sure it lives up to what was promised.

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Written Warranties
Protect Yourself with Written Guarantees on All Landscaping Services

You can do everything in your power to be a well-educated and honest client in your relationship with a Santa Cruz landscaping service. However, you'll also want to be aware of how you can protect yourself should the company not provide the services you expected.

Always ask for a warranty on any landscaping service provided. Some Santa Cruz area landscaping companies may try to say that they cannot provide a warranty because the products and spaces they work with are ever-changing and subject to outside interference.

However, a good landscape service will stand behind their work. These warranties will vary greatly depending on the services received, and plants and materials used.

So requesting a warranty before hiring a landscaping company is a good idea if having a warranty is important to you.

Any warranty or guarantee you receive should be in writing and should include the following:

  • The landscaping company’s name, license number, physical address and contact information.
  • Details about what services, materials and/or plants are included in the warranty.
  • A description of your obligation and duties when filing a warranty claim.
  • A description of how the landscaper will make right on the warranty: this may include redoing the work, offering replacement plants, giving a reduced fee for replacement or repair work, or a full refund. Make sure you understand these terms and whether they are prorated or expire on a specific date.
  • All exclusions should be in writing.
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Top 10 Requests
Popular Landscaping Services in Santa Cruz County

It is difficult to narrow down what clients of Santa Cruz County landscape contractors generally want when they hire a landscaping firm to help with their outdoor transformation because landscaping ideas can be as varied as the number of people who own homes and want to beautify their outdoor spaces.

However, the following elements of landscaping design are some of the most commonly requested features for outdoor installation.

Talk with your Santa Cruz County landscape contractor, including those in Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Scotts Valley and Capitola, to see what they are willing and/or able to accomplish in your outdoor space.

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

Flower Gardens and/or Plant Gardens in Santa Cruz County
Most commonly thought of as landscaping, 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.

Patios
Your Santa Cruz County landscape contractor can help you decide on the material best suited to your outdoor space for installing a patio. Adding a patio can enhance not only the beauty of your yard, but also the usability.

Fountains
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 Santa Cruz County landscape contractor to find one that fits your style and budget.

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 Santa Cruz County 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 enables you to direct 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.

Outdoor Kitchens, Barbeques and Fire Pits
Like adding another room to your house, the outdoor kitchen and fire pit truly adds measurable value to your property. While this can be a costly element to landscaping, your contractor can work with you to find an outdoor kitchen and/or fire pit that scales to meet your needs

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Terms Used By Santa Cruz County Landscaping Services

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 Santa Cruz County landscape contractor.

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.

contour
The form of the land. Contour lines are map lines which are used to show and measure slope and drainage.

conservation
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.

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

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

easement
The legal grant to use an area of designated property.

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

hardscape
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.

landscape
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 residential or commercial landscapes who implements the plans of landscape architects or works with homeowners to install customized landscaping to their yards.

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.

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

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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions for Landscaping Companies in Santa Cruz County

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified landscape contractor?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a landscape contractor in Santa Cruz County 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 local 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: 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: 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 charge?
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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