Research and Hiring

A Guide to Selecting the Best Outdoor Design + Build Company

Research. Ask Questions. Get References!

Hiring a professional landscaper or outdoor building specialist is a decision that needs to be thoughtfully carried out with serious consideration. We have listed some major criteria that anyone should consider when researching new outdoor improvement companies.

ASK NEIGHBORS AND FRIENDS. Asking your neighbors and friends is a great way to begin the search for your next landscaper or outdoor building specialist. Their suggestions give you some pre-qualified leads and companies to call. But don’t stop there!

LOOK AND FEEL.Here is where you can really get good information from prospective companies. By showing them photos of products and materials, even photos of finished projects, helps the company understand the type of quality you expect. Don’t hide any details! Lay as much out on the table as you can to help the prospective companies give you an honest and fair quote.

PURCHASE AT LEAST (2) DIFFERENT DESIGNS FROM 2 DIFFERENT COMPANIES. At M2 Planning & Design, our designs cost $400 to $600 for either a front or back yard and $800 to $1,200 for a full yard. Make sure that all of the details are included in the quotes! Make sure that labor and materials are included in the quote!

CUSTOMER REFERENCES. Actually call the references and ask them how the company performed! Did they stick to their quote? Was their work complete? How did they act on the job? What kind of timeline did they take to complete the project?

SELECT A WINNING COMPANY BASED ON PRICE, JOB QUALITY AND PROFESSIONALISM. Don’t select by price alone! You have to consider a company’s professionalism, design ability, education, experience, previous work and quoted price before making a decision. Do their built projects take on a “cookie cutter” effect with results you have seen all over Charlotte. Do you want to look the same as everyone else? Are you happy with the material choices and the proportions of all the built entities within their work. Chances are you will realize the value for your dollar and select us for our backgrounds in Landscape Architecture which allows us to visualize a complete marriage of spaces and materials connecting your indoor rooms to your outdoor living spaces.

WATCH FOR COMPANIES FREQUENTING YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD. Here is a simple way to notice what companies are already doing business in your neighborhood. Notice how clean they keep their trucks and work site. Are they courteous to passing traffic? Does their work look professional? How often are they in your neighborhood?

SIGN A CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENT. Execute a contract specifying the work to be done, price, payment schedule, start date and estimated completion date. Get everything in writing in that contract! Make sure it includes all labor and materials. Every service is a line item on our quotes. Get detailed quotes and ask for breakdowns if your not sure!

WARRANTY INFORMATION. Make sure that your contract includes a warranty for the replacement of shrubs and trees that may struggle and die after planting. At M2 Planning & Design, we offer a warranty on shrubbery or plants if there is proper irrigation system that is installed, set, and adjusted by our irrigation specialist. If you choose for us to maintain the shrubs, including service like proper pruning, fertilizing, and disease control, the plants will have a lifetime warranty. Prices for the maintenance will vary on plant selection and number of plants. We offer a lifetime warranty on all stonework products and a 5 year warranty on labor. All of our lighting fixtures carry a 10 year warranty. The full details of our warranties are presented to you during the proposal and contract time.

LICENSED AND INSURED. Ask to see their liability and workers’ compensation insurance. You will find a copy of our insurance policy which has a one million dollar general coverage.

CLEAN UP. Who is responsible for clean up and the overall appearance of the finished job? When will the clean up happen? We offer a turn key operation. It will seem as if you snapped your fingers and your new landscape appeared! We are as clean as we can possibly be working with dirt! However, we keep our trucks clean and use clean and serviced equipment on all of our jobs. We make sure that what we disturb is put back properly and the driveway, patios, decks, walkways or any other surfaces are cleaned whether by blowing, sweeping, or washing with water. We want you to enjoy your landscape and not have to clean up our mess!

TIMING. Does your landscaper promise the job in 5 weeks and it is 7 weeks before it is done? We keep a tight grip on our schedule to make sure that we are never more than two weeks to one month out on our schedules. We do not bring on “day labor” to help us get our work done quicker if weather becomes an issue, because we want only skilled professionals on your property. It takes a great deal of time to learn special skills and we would not want to jeopardize the workmanship of your project. Weather permitting, we always stay on track. The quality of our work is worth waiting for!
Our best advice is to proceed cautiously and do your homework prior to selecting a professional landscaper or outdoor building specialist.