In today’s blog, White Diamond Realty provides some basic landscape tips for luxury homeowners in North Central West Virginia.

Hiring a professional landscaper has both pros and cons. Great professional landscapers have an eye for design and do quality work that is completed on schedule. They can increase your property value by adding luxury features like stone patios, retaining walls, or outdoor kitchens.  Additionally, good landscaping tends to reduce the need for ongoing property maintenance. Before you hire one, however, there are a few things you need to know.

Avoid landscapers that don’t meet these basic criteria

When it comes to hiring a professional landscape contractor, word of mouth is not good enough. Although online review platforms like those provided by Yelp and Bob Vila can be helpful, it’s important to watch for red flags. For example, never hire an unlicensed or uninsured contractor. For an extensive list of tips on finding the reputable landscapers, check out this handy guide from Forbes Homes.

Carefully read the contract

Once you select a landscaper, be sure that the contract you sign is specific and ironclad. Both the property owner and the contractor must agree on every condition of the contract to ensure that each party’s interests are well served.

Contracts for landscape services must include a clear and detailed description of the project, including the specifics of how, when, and where each step will be completed. The contract should document all materials and every service to be provided, as well those that could be provided for an added cost if desired. The contract should include the names and contact information of the landscaping contractor and client, a statement that acknowledges both parties mutually consent to the terms and conditions, and the contract’s start and end date along with the terms of payment. It must not have any loopholes that the contractor can use to breach the agreement.  If key details are missing, the agreement could be too weak to stand in court, removing protections that you need as a homeowner.  A more complete guide to landscaping contracts can be found at Contracts Counsel.

Get your timing down

In North Central West Virginia, the best time to hire a professional landscaper is the spring season rather than summer. According to Upscale Living, spring landscaping gives seedlings and saplings ample time to mature before cold weather returns, which helps ensure they are strong enough to survive an Appalachian winter. Of course, this is also when landscapers are in high demand, so if you have any plans to improve your luxury property’s landscaping, don’t hesitate. Make an appointment now, before the thaw is in!

Determine whether your job requires a landscape architect

Landscape architects and general landscapers differ in several ways. Landscape architects are licensed professionals who have a degree in landscape architecture and work on larger, more complex projects. They may provide planning, design, and direction for outdoor spaces, including the placement of outdoor structures and the layout of softscape. On the other hand, general landscapers may install masonry, carpentry, irrigation, and planting or maintain a landscape by mowing and pruning. Landscape designers often work on smaller residential projects and may not require any certifications.

Tailor your landscaping solution to natural features

The best landscaping solutions are tailored to the properties they address. For example, if your home sits on a steep grade, there are specific landscape options best suited for your property. One option is to terrace your slope, which involves creating flat areas at different levels on the slope. You might also install retaining walls to hold back soil and create flat planting areas. Another option is to add a vegetable garden or make use of trellis to grow vining plants. You can also take advantage of elevation changes by installing a tumbling waterfall in a sloped backyard.

Got rocks? There are several landscape design options for rocky yards. One option is to use larger rocks, like boulders, to create a retaining wall to increase your home’s curb appeal. You can also use smaller rocks instead of mulch in your flower beds to keep weeds at bay. Another option is to replace grass with rocks or create layers with rocks. You can create a stone path or steps, or even use rocks to build a water feature. Large boulders common to West Virginia can also provide a lovely contrast to the lusher areas of a naturalistic landscape.

If you are lucky enough to have a forested area on your property, consider a woodland landscaping style. This low maintenance choice allows forest trees, shrubs and florals to grow in their own time with little human interference. Another option is to curate the amount of natural light that shines on your home by shaping the leaf canopy. You can also strengthen the existing forest by taking care of the canopy and considering the intermediate shrub layer. Additionally, you can create paths, curate views, clear the forest floor, and even create a secluded getaway spot.

If you live along one of North Central West Virginia’s numerous streams, lakes, or rivers, you’re in luck. Properties fronted by large bodies of water, such as Cheat Lake, can be landscaped to facilitate access and enhance enjoyment of the water. For example, hardscape elements such as piers, boat docks or boat houses add form and function. Waterfront properties also offer opportunities for inspiring, aesthetically pleasing designs. In general, still-water landscapes tend to be calming, while running water adds sound and a cooling effect. A great landscape professional will work with you to make sure your property magnifies these desirable natural features.

Now that you’ve learned some basics about hiring a landscaper in North Central West Virginia, check out White Diamond Realty’s featured properties!

Luxury is: A Picture Perfect Landscape White Diamond Realty provides some basic landscape tips for luxury homeowners in North Central West Virginia