Landscaping is a broad term covering many aspects. Not all commercial landscapers have the resources and expertise to provide every service, so choosing the right one can be a challenge. So, we have put together a few criteria to consider before entrusting a contractor to work on your grounds….
Choosing the right commercial landscaping company
Which services do you require?
Landscaping is a broad term covering many aspects. Some of these require considerable investment in specialist training and mechanical equipment:
- Design – advice and designs of feasible options to fulfil the owner’s vision within site and also budget parameters.
- Hard Landscaping – construction of drainage systems, hard surfacing, walls, fencing. Also installation of gates and barriers, bollards, water features, outdoor amenities, lighting, erosion control.
- Soft Landscaping – tree and shrub planting, preparation and laying of lawns.
- Maintenance – a regular programme of pruning, weed control, grass-cutting, leaf clearance, mulching, fertiliser and pesticide treatments throughout the seasonal cycle.
- Winter gritting and snow clearance – often done outside normal working hours.
- Tree surgery – high-risk work by skilled arboriculturists with specialist equipment.
- Green Roofs and Living Walls – installation by a specialist project team.
- Clearance of development sites – large mechanical plant and equipment required.
- Treatment of Invasive weeds – a specialist service with long-term benefits.
- Grounds Management – a complete service capability including all the above.
Not all commercial landscapers have the resources and expertise to provide every service. For smaller properties, a multi-skilled service capability may be unnecessary. However, for larger or multiple sites a ‘one-stop shop’ Grounds Management company is usually preferable. As a result, it saves the inconvenience and expense of trying to get specialist tasks done as and when they arise.
Checking a company’s environmental credentials is becoming increasingly important in the way we do business. Sustainable sourcing of materials, carbon footprint reduction, waste management and recycling, electric vehicles in addition to eco-friendly working practices. Despite this, the degree to which they implement these in practice can vary considerably.
Certifications & Accreditations
As in most trades, to protect against ‘cowboys’ there are a number of recognised bodies that vet contractors. They make sure they meet regulatory standards in relation to Health & Safety, insurances, staff training, financial stability and the environment. Consequently, many larger organisations only use contractors accredited by, for example, Safecontactor, CHAS, Constructionline, or SMAS. A company’s website will often hold all this information.
Before you enter into a service contract, find out how they will manage the account. Who will be responsible to make sure the work’s carried out properly, and who will be your regular point-of-contact? Having your account managed by a person who you know, and who knows your site, helps to ensure a successful working relationship. For one thing, it makes any problems easier to resolve.
References & Testimonials
Most landscaping companies showcase past projects on their website. What type of clients are they working for? What value projects have they completed? How do these compare with what you are looking for? For regular grounds maintenance, if you can find out how many years a contractor’s has retained their services, that gives a good indication of their satisfaction rating. After all, why change if you’re happy with what you’re getting? Also, testimonials and review scores can provide helpful insights.
There are many commercial landscaping contractors in the marketplace, from individual specialists to multi-skilled grounds management companies. Evidently Valley Provincial, with over 30 years’ experience working for property owners and managing agents, is among the latter. Above all, we’re commercial landscapers with expertise you can trust.