While the honey-do list for your yard can seem fairly simple, there’s a lot more to good yard upkeep than mowing the grass and mulching the flower beds. Hiring a landscaper can be the key to taking your yard from average to extraordinary. It’s not just about adding in new features and renovating the space, sometimes it’s as simple as giving your yard some much needed care from a professional. There are different types of landscapers, difference questions you should pose based on your needs, and various tips you can take with you as you find the perfect landscaper for your needs.

What Are the Different Types of Landscapers

You might not have known it, but there are various landscaping specialties out there. While one landscaper may be skilled in the heavy lifting of landscaping work, others are better versed in the design portion of the project. Understanding different landscaper roles can be critical in successfully hiring a landscaper.

  • Landscape contractor: Landscape contractors carry state-issued licenses that allow them to work at maintaining your landscape as well as upgrading it. Whether or not someone at this level has skills and certifications in design varies from landscaper to landscaper.
  • Landscape architect: This position requires more certification, in the form of a college degree in landscape architecture as well as a valid state-issued license in that field. What comes along with this is knowledge in engineering, design, land grading, architecture, and more.
  • Landscape designer: Whether or not landscape designers carry certifications for their positions will vary depending on your state, and what exactly they are capable of doing is also dependent on each individual landscaper. Generally though, designers have a creative flare when it comes to landscaping
  • Arborist: An arborist will have specific knowledge of trees and vegetation as part of their skills in landscaping. A college degree is required to be a true arborist and some companies require an ISA certification. An arborist is what you want if you’re looking at putting in new vegetation or performing maintenance on specific flora in your yard or garden.

Tips to Find and Hire a Landscaper

After you decide to hire a landscaper, you’re going to need to do some pre-hiring research on what your needs are and what your landscaper options have to offer. As we mentioned above, not all landscapers have the same qualifications, and even among similarly titled landscapers, they’re not all going to be right for your job and your job may not be right for their skill set.

  • Decide on your needs: You can quickly narrow your search by evaluating what you need and what you definitely don’t need. This can mean narrowing it down to designers, or deciding you don’t need a landscaper with specialized training.
  • Do research on cost: Before you start talking to anyone, go in knowing what you should be paying so you can identify any funny business is price estimates. Some landscapers work hourly while others have a flat cost per project. Do research on national averages to arm yourself with knowledge as you start talking to potential landscapers
  • Check credentials: If you do decide you want a landscaper with certifications and degrees, be sure to vet the credentials they claim to have. You can do this through state websites that give you a quick guide to the validity of licenses and the standing of any licensed contractor
  • Read reviews: Testimonials are a big indicator of things websites and credentials can’t tell you, such as flexibility, friendliness, personability, communication, and more.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Landscaper

You’ve evaluated your needs, you’ve done your research, you’ve narrowed down your options of landscapers to the final batch of candidates. How do you separate them out and decide who is going to fit best for your project? Think of this part of the hiring process like a job interview, because it is. You’ll want to be prepared with relevant questions to narrow your search even further.

  • Do you offer a free, preliminary consultation?
  • What services do you have experience in?
  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • What specialized training do you have for this work?
  • Can you offer references or reviews?
  • What sets you apart from other companies for a job like this?
  • Do you have any work quality guarantee?
  • Will all the work be done through your company or do you utilize outside contractors?
  • How long will the project take?
  • Do you charge hourly or per project?
  • What information do you need from me to move forward with the project?


Hiring a landscaper might be a more involved process than you realized. But your yard is the first thing your guests see, and in the warmer months it can be the place your family spends the most time. Whether you’re trying to maintain the status quo of your lawn or looking to completely revitalize or upgrade your outdoor space, hiring a landscaper can be a huge difference in how well the project turns out. And which landscaper you hire will be crucial.

You want to go in with research on your side to ensure your landscaper is qualified, experienced, and insured for the work they are doing. You’ll want to know as much as possible about prices, about your own yard, and whatever information the landscaper will need from you. To make the process easier, you can always head over to eLocal to find experienced landscapers to begin your research and hiring process.

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