Do you have the perfect vision in mind for your property? Maybe you know something needs “fixed;” on your property; however, you are unsure where to begin. How do you start a hardscape project? This is a great question because it can definitely be a daunting task. There are various things to consider to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Follow these steps, and you will be on your way to the hardscape project of your dreams.
Step 1. Select a Landscape Contractor
A great place to start is by researching your local community for contractors that offer the particular services you need. While completing this research, we recommend checking to see how long the contractor has been in business. You will also want to look for reviews and testimonials about the contractor’s services provided to other customers. This information will give you great insight into the quality of work offered by the company.
It is important to find a qualified contractor to complete the project that you vision for your property. Certain credentials will help ensure that you receive the absolute best quality of service. Here are some associations that you will want to look for:
ICPI – The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute. They provide professional training to installers of hardscapes using concrete pavers, natural stone, and retaining wall systems.
PLNA – The Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association. On their website, you can find highly trained and professional landscape contractors that Pennsylvania properly licenses.
Do your best to minimize your final list of contractors to three strong candidates. Take time to review your candidates and choose the contractor that is the best fit for your family and property. Once this is complete, you can move on to the next step!
Step 2. Describe Your Vision.
- What products do you prefer? Here are just a few choices: Natural stone; Manufactured pavers, Clay brick, Concrete, or stamped Concrete.
- What elements do you want in your new Landscape? For example, LED night lighting, a gas or wood-burning fire pit, or a soothing recirculating water feature. These are just a few options to consider.
- What size should your hardscape project be? Do you plan to entertain a large number of people, or do you plan to create a place for you and your family? Clearly defining the size of your hardscape project will ensure that your contractor isn’t developing a too small or too large space for your property.
- Are you going to use this space at night? If this is your intention, you may want to discuss landscape lighting installation.
Sharing photos is a great way to communicate your vision and ideas to your contractor. You may take pictures of your own or go to the internet and search for images through websites like Houz or Pinterest. These websites will often provide you with great inspiration!
Step 3. Questions to Ask
Congratulations, you have selected your contractor, and your vision is clearly defined! Once this is complete, you want to be prepared to ask a few questions. Here are a few to get you started:
- When can you start my project? If you have a timeline or completion date requirement, now is the ideal time to ask, “Can you meet my deadline?” To reduce pressure and stress, be proactive and do your best to set realistic expectations.
- How long does it take for you to get an estimate back to us? Companies may vary with how long it might take to deliver a project estimate to you. During your initial visit, you will want to ask this question to have the right expectation set and better understand when to expect your project estimate.
- How long will this project take from start to finish? Each project is different, requiring more or less time to complete. You will want to discuss your specific project with your contractor for a projected project timeline.
- Who will be our contact person if we notice an issue? For most companies, the designer/salesperson is the company’s face. You need to confirm your main point of contact as soon as you begin your project.
Make sure to write down any other questions that arise. Keeping organized is important throughout this process. It will also ensure that you do not forget to discuss anything important or time-sensitive.
If you take the time to research various contractors and make sure they have the proper credentials, you will be on your way to working with a qualified contractor to get started with your hardscape project. Once you have made that decision, make sure you clearly define the vision for your property. When your project is complete, you want to ensure that what you had in mind will be your reality. Lastly, ask the right questions! By doing so, you will not forget to discuss anything important throughout this journey.
We wish you the best of luck with your hardscape project!