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  • Writer's pictureCorey Fox Landscaping

How to chose the best landscaper for your project?

So you’ve got a fantastic outdoor space that you’re itching to turn into your own little piece of paradise. Now choosing the right landscaper is key to bringing your vision to life and creating a functional, beautiful space that will stand the test of time. Whether you’re dreaming of a zen garden to unwind, a hangout spot for friends and family, or the whole pool and landscape shebang, this guide will walk you through important considerations to help you choose the best landscaper for your project.

Sutherland Shire Backyard Landscaping Project Fire Pit

Define Your Landscaping Needs:

Before you even start googling "best landscapers in the Sutherland Shire," take a sec to imagine what you want. Are you thinking of an entire backyard makeover, cozy nook for reading, a vibrant garden, or maybe a fire pit for those cold winter nights? Get those creative juices flowing! Clearly outlining your requirements will help you narrow down your options and find a landscaper with expertise in your desired areas. Some of the key aspects in this initial part of discovery are:

  • Project Goals: Decide on your main goals. What do you want your space to be? A chill spot, a party zone, relaxation heaven or maybe a little bit of all those things?

  • Design Dreams: Consider how adventurous you want to be with design. Do you love intricate pathways, lush plantings, or just a cozy spot to lay your hammock? What style do you like, resort style, Australian coastal, Balinese / Tropical? Jump onto Instagram and Pinterest and start finding some projects that tickle your fancy. We also have an inspiration and projects page on the Corey Fox Website which can give you some ideas of projects we have worked on.

  • Budget Basics: Set a budget – before your dreaming gets too far out of hand it’s best to set a hard budget for your project and always keep a minimum of 10% aside for unforeseen expenses. We know all about running a smooth project, but not knowing what’s buried beneath your soil, for example, can add to costs later down the road. It’s better to be prepared than get a shock once you’ve started!

Corey Fox Sutherland Shire Kirrawee Project Pool and rear wall

Do You Need a Landscape Designer or a Landscape Architect?

When planning a landscaping project, you may come across the terms "landscape architect" and "landscaper" etc. While both professionals’ roles involve creating beautiful outdoor spaces, understanding their differences can help you make an informed decision to suit your needs. At Corey Fox Landscaping we are a full-service landscaping business where we can help you design, build, and bring to life your ideas and vision for your dream space.

At Corey Fox Landscaping we are fully qualified and trained in landscape design, construction and horticulture. That means we offer full-service landscaping right from creating your initial design through to construction and planting.

There are some circumstances, however, where we may advise bringing in the expertise of a Landscape Architect. If you have a very large or complex project with major structural components integrating with an existing plan such as a home renovation, we will likely recommend reaching out to one of our trusted Landscape Architect partners for a more detailed design. We are more than happy to work with any Landscape Architect of your choice too.

Corey Fox with Landscaping Plans

Let the search begin!

You’ve got the above sorted and either have a good idea of your needs for your space, or perhaps even plans drawn up. Now’s the time to get a list of some landscapers that work in your area. At Corey Fox Landscaping we work predominantly in the Sutherland Shire and throughout Sydney. Get a short list going by googling landscapers in your area (e.g. ‘landscapers Sutherland Shire”) and start doing some digging:

  • Get Picky: Not all landscapers are the same. Upon doing some research you might find that some Landscapers have limited construction experience i.e., mainly dealing with softscapes plants, grass, soils etc. If you have any hardscaping i.e., paving, stone masonry, concreting, carpentry and pools then you need to ensure your landscaper has extensive experience delivering projects in these areas.

  • Design Dazzle: Browse through their portfolios and past projects *wink wink*. Do their past projects match your style and what you have pinned as your dream projects. Having a landscaper with experience in the style you like is important so they can draw from past experience to guide you with materials and plantings to suit your style.

  • Detail-Obsessed: Look for those little design details that make a big difference in their projects for a sign of quality and workmanship. A well-crafted garden path or a cleverly placed seating area can tell you a lot.

  • Years of service: Look for how long the business has been operating in your area and what skills and expertise they offer.

Corey Fox Sutherland Shire Loftus Backyard plants and paving

Show us the creds

A reputable landscaper will have a strong reputation within the community. First port of call is:

  • Google business reviews. The best way to get a feel for the landscapers you are considering is to learn from others’ experiences through reviews and testimonials. Check how recently they were written and look for consistent positive feedback regarding their professionalism, craftsmanship, and ability to meet deadlines. Read about previous projects and how they handled any issues that arose to get a good feel about the kind of people you’ll be dealing with.

  • License Check: Make sure they're licensed and have the green light to conduct the right avenue of business. Look for a Landscaping construction license and pool building license if that’s going to part of the work as well as membership with The Landscape Association.

  • Coverage is Key: Ask about insurance, how much cover, what it covers – it's like a safety net for potential oopsies.

Corey Fox Courtyard Project Sutherland Shire

It’s not just about the quoted price.

Alright, you’ve picked a favourite – and maybe one or two others to check out too. Now, let's see if you jive with them. On your first consultation, you can show them all the hard work you’ve done with your ideas, requirements and wish list to help them get an idea what to quote.

The first meeting is also really important to see how you get along with the Landscaper on a personal level. Every project has its own set of challenges, and sometimes it’s going to take teamwork to make the dream work.

  • Good Vibes Only: Chat with them and see if you're on the same wavelength. Communication is key.

  • Creative Chats: During a consultation, throw your ideas out there and see what they cook up. A little brainstorm session can be a ton of fun and help identify if you work well together.

  • Communication: Ask about detailed items for your project like how long will it take to complete my project?, will you be using any partner businesses to help complete my project etc.

Understanding Landscaping Quotes: comparing apples with apples

If you are comparing quotes between two or three landscapers, there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid being caught out. Some businesses will deliberately mark certain necessary costs as ‘Exclusions’ from their quote to make the total price look cheaper than competitors. The strategy is simple – look like the cheapest quote, win your business, then up-sell or sting you for the additional costs once the project is underway.

We recommend that you carefully review the detail in the quote with breakdowns for materials, labour and other inclusions to make sure you’re comparing like-for-like. Pay close attention and ask lots of questions about noted exclusions and their likelihood of being required. E.g. if one quote has an excavation allowance of 2 days, and a comparison quote includes 5 days, find out how likely they anticipate finishing in the quoted time is.

Be cautious of unusually low estimates, as they may indicate subpar quality or hidden costs. If you have a better feel about a supplier with a more expensive quote, speak to them candidly about those cost differences. Chances are when they explain the work involved, you’ll realise the differing prices reflect differing service, quality or material inclusions inclusions being factored in and your final price may not actually be so different.

And finally, once you’re ready to sign, make sure you ask for a written contract that outlines the project scope, timeline, payment terms, and warranties. Review the contract carefully and clarify any doubts.

  • Maintenance on on-going care – make sure the Landscaper knows what’s required to make sure your space is in tip top shape year-round. If they built it, they need to know how to maintain it. This includes things like plants, knowing pruning, fertilisation and watering requirements is something they will handover to you at the end of the project.

Sutherland Shire top down view of Kirrawee Pool project

Choosing the best landscapers for your project shouldn't be a stressful ordeal. Selecting the ideal landscaper for your project involves careful consideration of various factors, including your project requirements, whether you need a landscape architect, the landscaper’s portfolio and credentials, the quality of their communication, and your gutfeel on compatibility. Given the value your landscape design adds to your home and lifestyle, it’s important to make a decision based on this full range of factors rather than just going with the cheapest quote which can often cost you more in the long run.

By following this comprehensive guide, you'll be well-equipped to make an informed decision that aligns with your vision, resulting in a stunning outdoor haven that reflects your personal style and meets your functional needs.

At Corey Fox Landscaping, we create beautiful outdoor spaces through the considered integration of hardscapes and functional zones with softscapes and planting elements of your garden. We believe each garden should be as unique as you are, designed for your lifestyle, sympathetic with your home and creating a seamless flow between indoor and outdoor living.

With over 18+ years’ experience as a full-service practice working around Sydney and the Sutherland Shire, we provide end-to-end management of your landscaping project. Our services include landscape design, pools and renovations, excavation, retaining walls, carpentry, irrigation, paving, decking & tiling, stone masonry, gardens, planting and horticultural maintenance. Contact us today to get the ball rolling with your dream outdoor space!


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