The key to successful backyard landscaping is hiring the right contractor. But with dozens of landscape contractors in Los Angeles, all exhibiting different levels of experience and expertise, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your project.
This guide will help you find and screen for good landscape contractors in Los Angeles and Southern California. But before we do that, let’s look at what a landscape contractor does.
Here at GreatBuildz, we speak with clients every day who need to find a great landscape contractor in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura & San Diego Counties.
GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners with reliable, pre-screened contractors, then provides ongoing project support to ensure a stress-free experience.
Why Do You Need Landscape Contractors in Los Angeles?
Landscape contractors (or backyard contractors) create and construct projects for residential and commercial properties. They hold a C-27 Landscaping Contractor license certification issued by the Contractors State License Board. Their work includes design details like planting lawns, gardens, and shrubs or building an outdoor kitchen, patio, pergola, etc.
Top landscape contractors in Los Angeles have experience and knowledge about local conditions like soil and weather that can affect a landscape project. They also know the local trends, regulations, and architecture and can bring the three together to create a beautiful backyard or front yard.
Landscape contractors can do the following:
- Install softscape landscape elements like lawn, compost, mulch, soil, and plants.
- Install hardscape landscape elements like plazas, walkways, trellises, gazebos, arbors, fences, retaining walls, fountains, lighting, sculptures, irrigation pipes, etc.
- Design outdoor spaces such as an outdoor kitchen or fireplace.
- Obtain relevant building permits
Landscape Designers and How They Work With Landscape Contractors
Landscape designers create beautiful, functional outdoor spaces for individuals and companies. The state of California doesn’t require landscape designers to be licensed.
A landscape designer in California may prepare drawings, plans, and specifications for selection, placement, or use of landscapes or plants for a single-family dwelling. They may also prepare drawings for the conception design and placement of landscape features and tangible objects. They may also not prepare drainage and grading plans for the alteration of sites.
Landscape designers often work with or for landscape contractors to make the project seamless for their clients. Designers can guide contractors through their design and requirements, like what they need to pay more attention to in the documentation package or the need to secure trees early, and so on. They may also guide contractors through their design to ensure they understand the key design elements and vision. Both parties need to coordinate and communicate for the best project outcome.
Included in landscaping are a lawn, trees, bushes, irrigation, etc. Before planting, you will need to install an irrigation system, which will cost between $3,000 and $8,000 depending on the size of your backyard. Regarding a lawn, you can pick between the less expensive option of using grass seed or the more expensive option of planting sod. Additionally, you might try artificial grass, which is more expensive to install but requires no water and requires less upkeep. You should expect to pay between $2,000 and $15,000 for a lawn. Inquire with your landscaper about the expenses of shrubs, trees, and flowers, as well as the size of your yard, for the remainder of your backyard renovation.
Choosing the Right Landscape Contractors in Los Angeles
Qualities of Good Landscape Contractors in Los Angeles
- Is responsive and punctual
- Has a clean license and good reviews
- Listens to your ideas
- Provides a written estimate
- Provides recommendations about materials and plants
Red Flags of Bad Landscape Contractors in Los Angeles
- Is habitually late or rarely returns calls
- Speaks poorly of their associates or clients
- Avoids zoning, permits, and building codes
- Has contractor licensing abnormalities
- Has many lawsuits or liens
The Process of Finding the Best Landscape Contractors
Define Your Project
Start the landscaping project off on the right foot by defining your goals. Goals about the design intent, budget, timeframes, and construction will help set the stage for all future progress on your project. This will also guide you in picking the right contractor for the job. Defining your project – even if it’s just loosely, helps you get a lot more out of your conversations with contractors. Examples of goals may include creating low-maintenance, eco-friendly, or user-friendly landscape designs within a specific timeframe.
Find Landscape Contractors
There are many landscape contractors in Los Angeles. In fact, a quick search for landscape contractors near me will reveal dozens of options to select from. However, since these contractors can’t all be good, you cannot settle for the first option that comes your way. So, it’s best to start with a list of 3-5 contractors who you’ll want to compare and scrutinize. You can find contractors through referrals or a free contractor matching service like GreatBuildz.
Research Each Contractor
Now it’s time to research each contractor on your list to see if they meet your expectations. Take time to review their website and online reviews. You can also check with sites like Better Business Bureau (BBB) for reviews, ratings, and resolved/unresolved claims against the contractor in question. BBB is organized by location, making it easy to check your prospective landscape contractors in Los Angeles. Other things you want to watch out for include the contractors:
- Experience level: How long have they been in business, and how many landscaping projects have they handled during this time?
- Past projects: Check their site’s portfolio page for their past work. See if you like what they’ve accomplished so far. Many contractors share their best work, so if you can’t find something you like, there’s probably nothing more left to see.
- Reputation: What is the contractor known for in the marketplace – are people saying good things or bad things about them? Check their reviews and testimonials to learn this.
- Reviews: Search for the company name plus terms like “review,” “scam,” “legit,” etc., to see other people’s opinions about the contractor. Sites like BBB, Yelp, Google Maps, and Facebook are also great places to check for reviews.
Cross off contractors who don’t meet your expectations on the list. Then, call the remaining ones to learn more about their licensure, history, and what sets them apart.
Schedule a Face-to-Face Interview
A one-on-one meeting is the best way to gain great insights into a company. You not only get to see their resources but also their expression and enthusiasm. And now that you only have a few local companies to interview, it shouldn’t be a problem. Discuss your concerns and ask questions to clarify things. You can also find out how they run projects, resolve conflicts and disagreements with homeowners, communicate with clients, and how they calculate construction costs. Use open-ended questions that get the contractor to talk. Here are a few things you want to learn during your face-to-face.
- If they’re licensed for landscaping: Ask for their license number and make sure it’s current and in good standing. In Los Angeles, this license is issued by the state. Use the CSLB site to confirm the license.
- If they carry any insurance: They should have general liability insurance that protects your property and home in case of an accident. They should also have worker’s comp insurance to protect you from liability if someone is hurt while working in your backyard.
- The number of building permits they’ve obtained in LA in the last two years: This helps you ensure the contractor knows the local building code laws and permitting process.
- References: Get former clients’ contacts to call and ask about the process, timelines, budget, professionalism, and final product. Find out how satisfied they were with the contractor and whether they could refer or do business with them again.
- Warranty: The best contractors in Los Angeles will guarantee their work. Many will provide a written warranty agreement. Of course, the longer the warranty, the better.
- Subcontractors: Since most contractors don’t have all types of workers in-house, it’s best to find out who they’ll hire and for what work.
Choose Your Contractor and Sign a Contract
At this point, you should be able to tell the prospects apart and pick the best landscape company. You’ve checked their reputation, learned about their work ethic, and understood their personality; now it’s time to transform your outdoor space into something beautiful and functional.
When it comes to finding the best landscape contractor for your project – GreatBuildz is simplifying the contractor search in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura & San Diego Counties. GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners with reliable, thoroughly screened contractors and provides project support from start to finish.
Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next renovation project or visit our website for more information: www.greatbuildz.com