Is your property looking drab? Learn about hiring landscapers to make your vision for your outdoor space a reality.
If you have an outdoor space you need to maintain, you can potentially do it yourself. However, there are many reasons why you may benefit from the services of a professional landscaper. For example, you may not have enough time in your busy schedule to maintain the space on your own. You also may lack knowledge that a professional landscaper has. Therefore, you might have difficulty selecting plants and outdoor features that work in your space or maintaining those features.
A professional landscaper has proper training in all aspects of designing and maintaining outdoor spaces. One major reason to hire one is that doing so can cut your energy bills down and improve the safety level of your property. According to energy.gov, using the services of a professional landscaper can reduce the energy usage in your home by up to 25 percent. Here are some other important points to know before hiring a professional landscaper.
How Much Does a Landscaper Charge Per Hour?
You may be wondering how much it costs to hire a landscaper. There is no specific answer to that question because the cost depends on a number of factors. Some of those factors include:
- Project Size and Scope
- Size of the Landscaping Company (Number of Workers)
- Average Costs for Landscaping in Your Geographic Location
Many landscapers charge an hourly rate for services. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, $33.96 was the average hourly rate for a professional landscaper who held a minimum of a bachelor's degree. The average hourly rate for a grounds worker without formal training was $15.49. However, many landscaping companies in the United States charge $50 or more per hour. It may tempt you to hire a landscaper offering a low hourly rate, but proper training is important. A professional can assess and prevent many potentially hazardous or expensive issues in an outdoor space.
How Much Does Landscaping Cost Per Square Foot?
Not every landscaper charges an hourly rate for every project. Sometimes a charge per square foot is more sensible based on the scope of the project. Much like a landscaper that charges an hourly rate, one that charges a rate per square foot determines that rate using a number of factors, such as:
- Materials Used
- Terrain Difficulties or Hazards the Landscaper Must Overcome (Steep Slopes Etc.)
- If Special Machinery is Required to Complete the Job
- Time of Year/Weather Conditions
Although not always the case, landscapers often charge per square foot for installation services. For example, you can probably expect to pay per square foot for a fence installation. A per square foot charge is also often applied to installations of patios or driveways. According to homeadvisor.com by Angi (formerly Angie's List), you can expect to pay $4-$40 per square foot for landscaping services. The exact cost varies by location and scope of work.
Estimating Subcontractor Costs
When hiring a landscaper, you also need to consider possible subcontractor costs. A subcontractor is a company or individual trained to perform a specialized task. Subcontractors are often required for landscaping work because there are so many specialties in the field of landscaping. Your landscaper may hire subcontractors for tasks that require:
- Specialized Training or Knowledge (Installing Outdoor Kitchens Etc.)
- Equipment the Landscaper Does Not Have Readily Available
- Restoration, Initial Installation, or Relocation of Potential Hazards (Gas, Electrical, or Water Lines Etc.)
Since every project is different, there is no specific rate for subcontracting on every landscaping project. How much you must pay for subcontractors depends on the types of subcontractors your landscaper requires and how much work they have to do. However, you can get a subcontracting estimate from your landscaper prior to having the work done. A professional landscaper often forms ongoing relationships with specific subcontractors and can easily tell you what those subcontractors charge for certain types of work. Those cost estimates are often rolled into the cost estimate provided by the landscaper.
As the property owner, you must understand a subcontractor estimate is exactly that. It is not necessarily entirely accurate. Often, unforeseen issues arise, especially during the completion of larger landscaping projects. Plan ahead and set some money aside in case subcontracting costs increase after you receive the initial estimate.
Responsibilities for a Landscaper
You might think of a landscaper as a person or company responsible for lawn maintenance, such as grass mowing. However, the responsibilities of a landscaper are far more extensive than that. Understanding those responsibilities may encourage you to hire a landscaper for a wider variety of outdoor projects.
The best landscaper performs work similar to that of an interior decorator, except only in outdoor spaces. If you are hiring a landscaper for an extensive redesign of your outdoor space, the process starts in an office. The landscaper must first sketch out plans for the remodel. Once you approve those plans, the implementation process begins. A properly trained landscaper knows exactly how to perform multiple duties including:
- Install and Maintain Various Types of Plants
- Position Plants and Trees to Create Wind Breaks
- Create Shady Areas and Improve Energy Efficiency
- Install Walkways and Other Stone or Brick Features, Such as Patios
- Design Water Features
- Design Custom Outdoor Features Like Fireplaces and Kitchens
- Perform Maintenance on the Above Features When Necessary, Like Trimming Bushes or Applying Pesticides
It is also the responsibility of a landscaper to know when help is required. A professional landscaper has trusted subcontractors available who can come to your property to perform custom work. The best landscaper also works closely with you throughout the year to maintain your property. Therefore he or she must be friendly and make you feel comfortable. When selecting a landscaper for long-term property maintenance, always choose one that you get along with well. Remember, your relationship is likely to be ongoing for years to come.
Find Landscapers Near You
A quick online search for landscapers in your area may yield many results. However, not all of the listed landscapers are necessarily well trained or reliable. Dig deeper to get the “dirt” on the best landscapers near you. If you have a friend in the area with a well-maintained yard, ask which landscaping company he or she uses. If you are relying solely on online research, check to see how long each landscaper has been in business and what types of landscaping jobs they perform. Then conduct interviews of landscapers on your short list. Ask for references and credentials. Also, read unbiased reviews. If more than one landscaper seems qualified, use cost estimates and special deals as your deciding factor.