5 Questions to Ask a San Diego Landscape Contractor Before Hiring Them


What does the outdoor living space of your dreams look like? If you try to visualize it, what do you see? Do you envision a private oasis with water features and lush greenery, or do you prefer the simplicity of xeriscaping with desert plants? Living in San Diego, we are truly blessed with the ability to enjoy our outdoor living spaces year-round, which is why transforming your yard into your dream landscape is such an important project to undertake. So, where do you start?

Whatever landscape design ideas you may have, it is important to find the right contractor to bring them to life. Landscape contractors in San Diego have a wide range of experience and specialties, so it is vital to ask the right questions to ensure that you’re hiring the right team for the job.

To help get you started, we’ve listed 5 steps you should take before booking your landscaping consultation. Once you’re ready for that first meeting, we’ve also put together a list of the 5 questions you need to ask any San Diego landscape contractor before hiring them for your landscaping project.

How to Prepare For Your Landscaping Consultation

Determine The Objective For Your Space

Before meeting with landscape contractors, it’s important to have a general idea of what you hope to accomplish with your landscape design. Here are 9 questions designed to help you determine your landscape design objectives:

  • Do you need help creating a more private space in your yard?
  • Are you looking for landscape design ideas to maximize your outdoor space for entertainment?
  • Are you looking to add any water features?
  • Are you looking to expand your indoor living space to the outdoors with a covered patio?
  • Will your design include any kind of lighting?
  • Would you like more shade in your yard, or are sunny areas preferable?
  • Do you need a space for kids or pets to play?
  • Will your landscape design include any hardscaping such as pathways, firepits, or patios?
  • Do you want to incorporate native plants into your landscape design?

Get Inspired

Once you’ve honed in on an objective, it’s time to get inspired! Landscape contractors in San Diego have a variety of portfolios showcasing completed landscape designs and can offer suggestions based on your specific needs. Additionally, you can browse through online resources like Pinterest or take a drive around your neighborhood for some ideas.

Don’t be afraid to dream big! You may not be able to have it all, but landscape contractors can help you develop a plan that gets as close to your dream landscape as possible. Even if you are working with a limited budget, your team can help create landscape designs that are both functional and beautiful.

Put Together A Budget

Be prepared to share your budget with landscape contractors. This will help them better assess what is possible and provide you with an accurate estimate for the project. Have a ballpark figure of what you would like to spend before meeting with your team, but be open to their suggestions on ways to save money while still achieving your landscape design goals.

Prepare Any Relevant Documents

If you already have landscape plans or drawings, be sure to bring them with you when meeting your landscape contractors. Other relevant documents include property surveys and any reports from irrigation audits or soil tests that were completed on the property.

Highlight Your Must-Haves

If your landscape design must include certain elements (i.e., play spaces for kids), be sure to let your team know right away. This will help them come up with the optimal landscape design that incorporates your must-haves before focusing on your nice-to-haves.

Now you’re ready to schedule your consultation with the team whose portfolio and services align best with your vision.

5 Questions To Ask Before Hiring Your San Diego Landscape Design Team

What is Your Landscape Design Process?

Any professional landscape contractor will have a detailed process in place for every project they undertake. This should include everything from the initial consultation all the way through to the completion of the project. Asking about the landscape contractor’s process will help you better understand how they work and what to expect throughout the project.

Don’t be afraid to ask about timeframes, either. A landscape design may take longer to complete than you think, especially if it’s highly customized or there’s a long wait time for particular materials. Understanding their timeframes will help you determine how realistic your timeline expectations are and allow for a more accurate estimate of when the project can be completed.

Depending on the scope of your project, you may be required to pull permits. Be sure to ask your landscape contractors if this is something they’ll be responsible for or whether you’ll need to do it yourself.

What Does Your Payment Process Look Like?

Landscape contractors will often require a deposit before starting work on your landscape design. Be sure to ask about this upfront to determine their policy on final payments as well. Some may want the entire amount paid in full before completing the final product, while others may be okay with staggered payments.

Do You Have Insurance and a Valid State License?

Landscaping contractors in San Diego should have liability and worker’s compensation insurance. You’ll want to ask the team about this before proceeding with a project. Worker’s compensation will ensure that the company’s employees are covered should they sustain an injury on the job, while liability insurance will cover you in the event of damage to your property or a neighbor’s.

You should also find out if your landscape contractors are licensed so that they can be held accountable for any damages or should they fail to complete your project. These licenses are required by law in the state of California.

What Kind of Guarantee do You Offer?

A guarantee shows that your landscaping team stands behind their work and is determined to see you satisfied with the final product. For any large structures, fences, or decks, you should expect a two-year guarantee at the very least. Your team should also advise you on how best to maintain your plants, structures, and any additional features to help keep them looking great.

Do You Offer Maintenance Services?

Many contractors will offer some type of maintenance service to help keep your landscape looking great for years to come. This could be as simple as a bi-monthly visit to maintain your plants or a full-service package that includes mowing, mulching, weeding, and more. Ask landscape contractors about their maintenance services to see if they would be a good fit for your needs.

Get Ready to Hire Your San Diego Landscaping Team

Before you hire any landscape contractor, take some time to prepare and remember to ask these important questions. Doing so will help ensure that you’re making the best decision for your home and your peace of mind.

The landscape design process can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! If you’re looking for a landscape contractor in San Diego, our professional team at Stepping Stone Landscape Design is eager to help you realize your vision. We offer various design and landscape services designed to beautify your outdoor living space with exceptional attention to detail and water conservation in mind.

We invite you to take a look at our landscape design portfolio to see some of the projects we’ve worked on in San Diego. Eager to get started on your project? Give us a call at  (619) 762-8988 or complete our online contact form.

Request An Estimate