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6 near you

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a landscaper or lawn care professional during the COVID-19 pandemic?

To set up an appointment or consultation call with a lawn care professional or landscaper during the COVID-19 pandemic, take advantage of digital technologies to avoid face-to-face exposure. When searching for lawn mowing, landscaping and lawn care companies online, ask if they’ll do a video call to assess the job and give you an estimate. You can also go over strategies for completing the job and conducting virtual payments to stay safe.

How can I find out if a landscaper or lawn care professional is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

To consult national guidelines on essential COVID-19 service providers and see whether a lawn care professional qualifies, visit a page on CISA’s website called Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19. This website contains 16 categories of critical infrastructure sectors that you can search through. However, not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure so you should also check your city or state’s government website.  

Can I use digital payments to pay for outdoor landscaping and design, lawn mowing, tree trimming and other similar services?

Many outdoor landscaping and design, lawn mowing and tree trimming companies will likely accept some form of digital payment instead of cash or check. The COVID-19 pandemic will likely causing more businesses to adopt digital platforms like Zelle, PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash and Google Pay.

Search professionals’ online profiles to see if they list digital payment services, and ask them about their payment policies during a consultation call.

Does a landscaper or lawn care professional need to enter my home?

Because landscaping and lawn maintenance take place outdoors, it is unlikely that these professionals will need to enter your home.

To stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, practice social distancing at all times -- even with professionals doing work outside. You can minimize exposure during a consultation by using a video chat service. And when you pay, you can use a digital payment service like PayPal. Discuss strategies with any lawn mowing, landscaping, tree trimming and lawn care companies you may be considering.

Do landscapers or lawn care professionals offer remote or virtual services?

Landscapers and lawn care professionals generally do not offer remote or virtual services. But if you come across a profile that states the landscaper is offering remote services, it’s best to contact them to see what type of remote work is offered. 

Typically, lawn care and landscaping professionals can perform many of their duties without coming into physical contact with clients. Message local lawn mowing, landscaping, tree trimming, and lawn care companies near you to schedule a video call and inquire about remote services.

How much does it cost to have landscaping done?

Professional landscaping can help reinvent your outdoor space, boost your curb appeal and get a major return on investment with. Landscaping can encompass anything from adding new plants, trees and shrubs, to leveling the ground and laying sod for a lawn, to building in hardscaping such as sidewalks, water features or retaining walls. The national average landscaping price is $10,160. Landscaping prices can be far lower (with hourly rates ranging from $50 to $150) if you’re only seeking professional help with softscaping or seeking consultation on landscape design. Softscaping means adding or changing horticultural elements, such as planting a garden or adding a hedge. Hardscaping is where costs can really start to rise. Hardscaping requires labor and heavy equipment to excavate the earth; you may need to pour concrete, or you may need a pro who can transport and place gravel and other inorganic elements. Your total landscaping cost will vary based on the amount of work you want done, how much labor is required, and the cost of the materials you are using. A good rule of thumb for a major landscaping project, according to the American Society of Landscape Architects, is to budget 5 percent to 10 percent of the value of your home.

How do you find a good landscape architect?

Hiring a landscape architect is an investment in your home. Landscaping can reduce water bills, improve your home resale value, add to your daily living experience and significantly boost curb appeal. A landscape architect will draw the designs for your new landscape; you’ll want to hire a landscape contractor to carry out the plans. Many companies provide design-build landscaping services, with a company architect creating plans for your vision and the landscape contractor executing the vision. With the proper academic background and licensing, a person can be both landscape architect and landscape contractor. Here are a few tips for finding a great landscape architect:

  • Research online portfolios and find several landscape architects whose work interests you.
  • Read online reviews of client experiences.
  • Research whether the landscape architects you are interested in are currently licensed and in good standing with the licensing board, and check whether any complaints have been issued against them. Each state will have their own searchable database. For example, you can search for California landscape architects via the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs.
  • Request bids from your selected landscape architects.
  • Hire the one you like the most, taking care to have a clearly written contract outlining scope of work.

For more, check out our tips for smart hiring on Thumbtack.

How much does it cost to landscape your front yard?

Prices for landscaping your front yard can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the scale of your front yard project. Your landscaping price will reflect how much change you implement, how much labor is required, and the cost of materials.

Landscaping is typically made up of softscaping and hardscaping. Softscaping refers to selecting trees, bushes, flowers and plants to achieve a desired aesthetic and to meet goals such as having a drought-tolerant yard. Hardscaping refers to moving earth, installing structures, and putting in decorative stonework, sidewalks or lighting. For softscaping, you may want to hire a landscape designer to consult on your plants and layout, and then do the digging and planting yourself or hire a gardner to handle the heavy lifting. A landscape designer’s hourly rate may range from $50 to $150 or more. If you want a turnkey approach, meaning someone who works with you to create the vision and then executes all the work, landscaping pricing will typically come down to a cost per square foot rather than an hourly rate. It’s a solid investment: Great landscaping can add up to 28 percent value to your home.

What does a landscape contractor do?

Landscape contractors work from outdoor architectural or design plans to build and install hardscaping or softscaping for the client, much as a general contractor uses architectural designs to build a house. Landscape contractors are experts in soil drainage, grading, hardscaping (installing concrete paths and retaining wall, building ponds, etc.), and planting. They have heavy equipment such as excavators and tractors to prepare the land as needed.

Some landscape contractors are also landscape architects or landscape designers. The titles can be compared with those in home construction: A building or landscape architect must earn a specialized architecture degree and pass an exam to have a license. A designer — whether an interior designer or a landscape designer — does not usually require a license to work. Landscape contractors are not required by law to work from plans designed by a landscape architect, so you may work directly with the landscape contractor to specify the work you’d like done. The national average cost for large-scale landscaping projects is $10,160. Pricing can vary greatly depending on the project scope, materials and design.

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