Does a Landscaper Need a License?
Your yard is an important part of your home. It’s the first thing people see when looking at your house, and it often takes up a large portion of your property. If it’s not properly maintained it can make a bad impression and lower the value of your home. On the other hand, investing in your yard has the highest returns on any home improvement project, with an estimated recovery rate of over 100%.
In addition, your yard can have positive effects on the environment and your health. A grassy area of 50 square feet releases enough oxygen to meet the needs of a family of four, and helps absorb carbon dioxide and purify the atmosphere. Furthermore, psychologists have found that an attractive landscape can help reduce stress. Because your yard has so much potential, it’s important to hire a reliable landscaper to care for it.
Should you Hire a Licensed Landscaper?
In almost every state a landscaping contractor needs to be licensed. To attain this license, an individual usually needs at least three years of experience in the landscaping field, and has to pass an exam. This ensures that the person will be knowledgeable of the area’s climate, soil and native greenery, as well as environmental standards and regulations. For example, a licensed Miami landscaper will know that Sweet Acacia is a much better choice for the climate than an Alpine Currant.
Additionally, a licensed landscaper will be bonded and insured. This protects your family financially by providing compensation for property damage and absolving you of responsibility should a worker be injured on the job. What’s more, it’s illegal for you to hire a landscaper to perform work that he is not allowed to do. Therefore, in addition to making sure your landscaper is licensed, make sure he doesn’t do anything involving underground pipes or drainage, as this usually requires a separate license or a plumbing contractor.
If you hire an unlicensed landscaper, while his rates may be lower, you’ll end up paying for it in the long run. He may be inexperienced and provide sub-par work, and he probably won’t be bonded or insured. What you save now you’ll end up losing in the long run when you need to have things done again or patched up.
Discuss your gardening preferences with your landscaper and let him know whether you want plants that require maintenance or not. If you enjoy trimming bushes and watering plants, he can install these types of foliage in your yard. If, however, you want a low-maintenance yard, that’s also available. Additionally, aside from adding to your home’s beauty, you can have your landscaping contractor install bushes for privacy or to reduce noise pollution.
Inquire about long-term plans. Your landscaper may offer annual check-ups or seasonal pruning at a discounted rate. In addition, be sure to discuss the use of pesticides and other harsh chemicals on your lawn. If you have children or pets who like to play on the grass, make sure it’s safe for them.
Aside from hiring a licensed landscaper, always try to select one with a good reputation and ask for references and examples of his work before hiring him.
Mark Stevens is a writer from New Jersey who has written over 100 home improvement articles. Want to ask Mark something? Send him a message.