LandscapingWith the recent snow that fell across the city and temps in the low double digits, it may be hard to think about spring gardens. But believe it or not, now is the time to be thinking about your spring and summer landscaping. 

Spring bulbs need to be planted when the ground is cool, and while tulip, daffodil and hyacinth bulbs are best planted in fall, if you still have bulbs you’ve been meaning to plant do it now rather than wait until the weather warms up. 

Of course, if you had a landscaper, you wouldn’t have to worry about any of this at all. And if you’re like most busy homeowners, while you may love getting your hands dirty in the garden, you may not have the time to dedicate to designing your dream landscape and its constant maintenance. 

That’s where landscape designers and companies come in. And luckily, there are a number of reputable, professional ones in Cincinnati. In fact, Cincinnati State boasts one of the best horticultural programs in the state. 

Before you invest in a landscaper or designer, here are five tips to make sure the one you choose is a good fit for you and your yard. 

Ask for referrals 

Take a look at the landscaping in your neighbor’s yards. If there are some with gardens and landscaping that you admire, ask them who their did their landscaping. If they’re proud of their yards, they should be happy to give you a referral. Don’t know the names of the neighbors with the great yard? Ask them anyway. They’ll probably thank you for the compliment. 

If you’re on nextdoor.com, ask on the site for recommendations. And you could also ask for names of landscapers, landscape architects and designers is at your local greenhouse or garden store. Avoid asking at the big chains, who probably won’t be of much help anyway. 

Ask for examples of their work

Being a good landscaper requires a deep understanding of local horticulture and the ability to know what will work for a yard depending on its soil, shade, and other factors. Before you select a landscaper or landscape company, ask to see their portfolio or examples of their work. 

This is especially important if you’re working with a landscape architect or designer will be doing extensive landscaping to your yard. Just like with an interior designer or decorator, you’ll want to choose one who shares your aesthetic.    

Check credentials 

Ask the landscaper you’re considering about their education, including ongoing education, which is important. Check affiliations, certificates, and make sure they have the appropriate license to do the work they propose. You’ll also want to ask about their insurance. Never hire a landscaper without liability insurance.      

Natural or not?

If organic gardening or green living is important to you, make sure your landscaper feels the same. Not all practice natural lawn care or organic landscaping. Local, drought resistant plants are most ideal for green landscaping, as is landscaping that incorporates water conservation and avoids the use of any and all chemicals. 

Ask about upkeep

The last thing you want on your hands after hiring a landscaper to create a gorgeous lawn and gardens for your home is to be stuck maintaining everything. Make sure before the landscaper begins any work, to establish a maintenance plan. Find out how much upkeep – if any – you’ll be responsible for. 

You’ll also want to know what to look for in terms of any plants, trees, or flowers that need extra attention or look like they’re in danger of not surviving. Most landscape companies and designers have a guarantee of their service and work for up to five years. Make sure that a guarantee comes with any landscaping services you choose. 

Need garden inspiration?

Hiring a landscape designer or architect is exciting. For ideas for your yard, why not visit Cincinnati’s Krohn Conservatory, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens or Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum?