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Comparing bids between landscape contactors

So you want a new patio or walkway, and you’re doing your research to pick 3 contractors to talk to. After all, it is the smart and responsible way to go about having a project built. All that is great, but do you know how to look for the differences between the bids, installation methods and the services that each one will give you? What information is going to help you make the right choice? This can be very intimidating for anyone, but especially for someone not in the consruction field, familiar with building terms and methods.

comparing landscape contractors

Are you comparing apples to apples?

At first glance, those apples – or bids – all look great, but are they the same? Probably not. How do you know that the landscape contractors you’re talking to are giving you pricing for the same thing?

Here are a few things to watch for:

  • First off, is everyone bidding on the same design? The only way to guarantee that everyone is bidding on the same project is for you to provide each one with the same drawing. Since that is not always possible, and usually quite unlikely, you at least need to know what each contractor has in mind to build. Have each one give you (or at least show you) the design sketch they’re working off of. Not every contractor gives out drawings with their proposals, and that’s OK. They may have a fee for you to keep the drawing, but they should have a drawing they’re working off of. You should be able to see it and know what they have in mind.
  • Are you only interested in the lowest price? If this is the case, you can stop reading right now, because the rest of this article isn’t important. Or is it? There is a saying in the business world that people are looking for 3 things: best price, best quality or best service. It is also a proven fact that you can only have 2 of the 3 at a time. Which 2 are you going to choose?
  • The installation process or building method is the next thing to compare. This can actually be broken down into a couple of categories: how they are going to build your project, what equipment they will use and what materials they will build with. They should have some standard building practices and construction details for how they build each type of project.   For example, are they digging out the patio by hand or do they have machinery they use for better efficiency? How deep are they going to dig? What kind of base material are they going to use? There is no need to be shy when asking questions about any of this. They should be able to explain it all in a way that you can understand – even if you’re not in the construction industry.
  • How long has each company been in business? Do they have the experience, manpower and skill needed to handle your project in a timely fashion? Are they professionally trained? Do they have a reputation for doing good work? These are all very good questions, and may be a little more difficult to find the answers to. Ask to see some of their work and for a list of past customers so that you can talk to some of them.
  • Do they stand behind their work? The paver and wall installation industry recommends that each contractor guarantee their work for at least 1 year. Watch out for the ones that have what we call a “Taillight Warranty”… one that lasts only as long as you can see their taillights as they drive away from your finished project.
  • Finally, can you communicate with them? This may seem like simple stuff, but don’t take it for granted. This question is multifaceted. First, can you physically call or email them and have them get back to you with answers to your questions in good time? And second, on a more personal note, do you understand each other? Basically, do they get it? Or are they after their own agenda? And do you understand the explanations they give you?

These are just some of the general topics to watch for. Each one has more detail that can be looked into and compared. Most likely each company is going to have their own way of doing things and they will not be or operate the same as the next one.

Your job is to sort through all of this, and come to a decision that you are comfortable with and can live with.

Landscaping Tips for Small Yards

Landscaping Tips for Small YardsAttention homeowners: just because you have a small yard doesn’t mean you have to settle for an inferior landscape. There are several ways to make your small yard seem larger than life.

 

Landscaping Tips for Small Yards

 

There are several tips and tricks you can utilize to better the visual appeal of your small yard.

 

  1. Focal Point: Add a focal point to your yard, such as a pergola or fire pit. However, make sure the focal point doesn’t not overtake your yard.
  2. Privacy: If you have a small yard, odds are you have close neighbors. The secret to a great landscape is privacy. Add lush plants and shrubs to help create your own personal getaway.
  3. Water Features: Fountains, waterfalls and ponds add beauty, sound, lushness and intimacy to any landscape, large or small.

 

However, the best way to transform your small yard is with the help of a professional landscape designer, like the ones found at Urban Gardens. We create extraordinary landscapes by combining our artistic vision, expertise and knowledge to seamlessly blend the architecture of a property with its landscape environment.

 

Professional Landscape Design

 

One of our landscape designers will meet with you to discuss your wants, needs, and any concerns you may have. We will then use this information and perform a site analysis to help design a landscape that best meets your vision and utilizes your small yard to its full potential.

 

Our goal is to design a solution for today’s needs, while also addressing future opportunities.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Professional Landscape Design, please contact Urban Gardens in Baltimore by calling (410) 833-4930 or visiting our website.

 

Urban Gardens – a unique, multidisciplinary landscape design/build firm and retail nursery serving the greater Baltimore area!

DIY Landscaping vs. Professional Landscape Design

Professional Landscape DesignDo-it-yourselfers are leading a revolution. After all, you can learn how to do anything on the Internet, from cooking to mechanics to carpentry and so much more. There are articles you can read, videos you can watch, and detailed instructions on how to do just about anything. So why wouldn’t you opt to go the DIY route over hiring a professional? It’s cheaper and more rewarding, right? Well, not always. This is especially not true when talking about landscaping.


DIY Landscaping vs. Professional Landscape Design


Reading all of the how-to books in the world cannot make up for experience, knowledge, and an artistic flair. These are all qualities that professional landscapers possess. As we have said before, landscaping is so much more than simply placing plants, flowers, trees and shrubs throughout a yard. Proper landscaping takes knowledge, a good creative eye, and, most importantly, proper planning. This last part is where many DIYers come up short – planning.


Benefits of Professional Landscape Design


  1. Planning: When it comes to your landscape, you want the final product to look like one yard, not a collection of disjointed projects. This is why planning is so important. You need to have a plan before planting the very first flower. While many DIYers focus on only one aspect of their landscape at a time, a professional landscape designer will help you look at the bigger picture and make sure every aspect of your landscape flows together.
  2. Knowledge: A professional landscaper knows which plants go best together and which plants thrive in your climate. Do you?
  3. Execution: Not only does a professional landscaper know how to design a landscape, not only do they know what plants work well together, but they also know how to execute a landscape.
  4. And More!


Professional Landscape Design from Urban Gardens


Landscape design establishes a framework to guide development and begins with a collaboration of ideas and concepts. The landscape designers at Urban Gardens will discuss your project with you in order to determine how best to achieve your vision and determine your project budget, scope and other details.


If you’re interested in learning more about Professional Landscape Design, please contact Urban Gardens in Baltimore by calling (410) 833-4930 or visiting our website.


Urban Gardens – a unique, multidisciplinary landscape design/build firm and retail nursery serving the greater Baltimore area!

Make your Landscape Pop with Fountains and other Water Features

Water FeaturesIs your landscape missing something, but you can’t quite put your finger on the problem? Well, have you ever considered a Fountain or other Water Feature? Fountains, waterfalls and ponds add beauty, sound, lushness and intimacy to any landscape.

 

Benefits of Fountains and other Water Features

 

There is something about a water feature that just makes lounging in your backyard a little more enjoyable. Perhaps it is the sheer beauty of the fountain or pond. Perhaps it is the relaxing trickling of the water. Nothing is more calming. Or perhaps it is the fact that water features actually improve the quality of air in your yard.

 

Believe it or not, as water molecules are jostled, they release negative ions, which combine with air impurities, neutralizing them and helping to pull them from the air. The end result is noticeably cleaner air.

 

Professionally-installed Fountains and other Water Features

 

When it comes to fountains and water features, it is best to leave that type of work to a professional landscaper, like Urban Gardens. We can incorporate a wide variety of water features, including waterfalls, streams, ponds and fountains, into your landscape to deliver a beautiful and tranquil feel.

 

At Urban Gardens, we design and build water features that compliment your home and transform your landscape. We work throughout the greater Baltimore metropolitan area: Baltimore County, Carroll County, and Baltimore City. We service clients in a 25 mile radius from our nursery facility at 4405 Butler Road in Reisterstown, Maryland 21136.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about making your landscape pop with Fountains and other Water Features, please contact Urban Gardens in Baltimore by calling (410) 833-4930 or visiting our website.

Urban Gardens – a unique, multidisciplinary landscape design/build firm and retail nursery serving the greater Baltimore area!

 

You can also follow Urban Gardens on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Google+.

The Benefits of Professional Landscape Design

Benefits of Professional Landscape DesignWhen it comes to your home, more specifically your landscape, you have two options: hire a professional or go the do-it-yourself (DIY) route. While the latter has grown increasingly popular for several reasons, the biggest of which is cost, nothing, I repeat, nothing that can measure up to a professionally designed landscape.


The Benefits of Professional Landscape Design


Landscaping is so much more than simply placing plants, flowers, trees and shrubs throughout a yard. Proper landscaping takes knowledge, a good creative eye, and, most importantly, proper planning. This last part is where many DIYers come up short – planning.


While many DIYers focus on only one aspect of their landscape at a time, a professional landscape designer will help you look at the bigger picture and make sure every aspect of your landscape flows together. Remember, your landscape should not look like a collection of smaller projects; it should all work together – harmoniously. A professional landscape designer will ensure your landscape is done properly and looks fantastic all year long. A professional landscaper will know what plants work best in your local climate, with minimal maintenance.


Professional Landscape Design: The Consultation


A professional landscape designer will meet with you to go over your wants and needs and perform a site analysis in order to best achieve your vision and determine your project budget, scope and other details. From this meeting, your landscape designer will draft a master plan. The purpose of this plan is to provide design solutions for today’s needs, while also addressing future opportunities. Master planning also establishes a logical sequence for construction and budgeting


Professional Landscape Design: The Finished Product


At Urban Gardens we create extraordinary landscapes by combining our artistic vision, expertise and knowledge to seamlessly blend the architecture of a property with its landscape environment.


If you’re interested in learning more about Professional Landscape Design, please contact Urban Gardens in Baltimore by calling (410) 833-4930 or visiting our website. You can also follow Urban Gardens on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Google+.


We work throughout the greater Baltimore metropolitan area, although most of our projects are located in Baltimore County, Carroll County, and Baltimore City. We service clients in a 25 mile radius (including Monkton, Reisterstown, Glyndon, Hunt Valley, Sparks-Glencoe, Ruxton and Roland Park) from our nursery facility at 4405 Butler Road in Reisterstown, Maryland 21136.

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Urban Gardens, Who Are We?

Urban Gardens is a multidisciplinary landscape design/build firm and retail nursery that serves the greater Baltimore area. At Urban Gardens, you can expect to find landscape designers, horticulturists and gardeners that are knowledgeable about everything you could possibly want to know about your garden or landscaping for your home.backyard

When it comes to landscaping your property, we will create a garden or landscape that is a refreshing and different from that of your neighbors. Our philosophy is based on extending the living space of a home into the landscape, reflect your personality in the garden and enhance your outdoor living space.

Each project is given the full attention of our team and we will not lose sight of your objectives while meeting if not exceeding your expectations. We will work with you to create something you will love. The designs we create and implement are simple, clean and classic with modern styling.

Our job is to overcome any natural landscapes and create a functional and user friendly space for you and your family to enjoy.

Our expertise includes:

  • Sustainable Design
  • Project Management
  • Design-build
  • Landscape restoration
  • English gardens
  • Rain gardens
  • Herb gardens
  • Landscape maintenence
  • Outdoor lighting
  • Arbors and Pergolas
  • Patios
  • Terraces
  • And more…

If you’re interested in designing a new yard or making some minor updates, Urban Gardens in Baltimore has you covered.

Urban Gardens is located at 4405 Butler Road in Reisterstown, MD. For more information, please visit our website or call us at (410) 833-4930.

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