*Overseas MCT photo
*Overseas MCT photo

Although lately it has been hard to believe, spring is here and many of us are planning our planting and lawn care. 

If you have decided to hire help and are in the market for a landscaper, whether it is for a big job or small, here are five basic tips to consider first.

1. Know exactly what you want

Determine what work you will do yourself and what work you will hire someone to do for you. 

Will you need fertilizers, pruning, plantings, lawn aerating, or simply having the grass cut regularly? 

Take the time to consider all of your needs and prepare a list. 

If you are planning on new plantings, for example a new hedge, make sure you ask about plants that may be hazardous to children and pets, low maintenance versus high maintenance plants, slow growing versus fast growing, and plants that are suitable for your location and environment. 

Have any potential landscapers visit your home to discuss in great detail your needs in preparation for a written quote.

2. Shop around

Get recommendations and referrals for at least three prospective landscapers and if possible images of their landscaping jobs or addresses of people you can visit to view their work. 

Ask friends and family and if you admire one of your neighbours’ yards, ask them to recommend their landscaper. 

Make sure that you investigate their qualifications, training and experience and let them know what your budget is up front.

3. Get a quote

Once you have discussed your needs and budget, get written, itemized quotes —  not estimates. 

Make sure you fully understand how they bill their clients. 

Do not be tempted to go with the lowest quote — this does not guarantee the best work or value. 

Make sure that your quotes reflect your needs and ask
questions if you are unsure of the information and pricing presented.

4. Have a contract

Once you have chosen a landscaper, get a contract drawn up.

Your contract should clearly define the work being performed and all products and materials that will be used. 

Additionally, the contract should include;

n A start and end date of the contract.

n The total cost and when payment is due. 

n Any down payment that may be required.

n Warranty/guarantee information.

n Cancellation policy and penalties.

5. Go green

Bermuda is not without its environmental issues and it is important that we all make an effort to protect our environment. 

Do your research about eco-landscaping and then ask your landscaper about earth-friendly practices and products that you can incorporate into your landscape. 

Every effort we make to be a green consumer makes a difference.

There is quite a lot we should learn about proper care and maintenance of our landscapes and fortunately our local plant nurseries are all quite helpful. 

Take the time to discuss your needs and projects with them
and do plenty of research in looking for a landscaper and in getting to know basic lawn and plant care.

At Consumer Affairs, we offer guidance to consumers, businesses and other organizations. 

If we receive a complaint and believe that a violation of the law has occurred, we present the complaint to the business and request its assistance in resolving the problem. Most businesses are happy to work with us. 

Before contacting us we recommend that you first visit our website, www.ca.gov.bm and read the relevant advice. 

If you are unable to find the information you require on our website, please email us at consumers@gov.bm

Honey Adams Bell is the education officer for Consumer Affairs.