Choosing a Landscape Contractor
See section on selecting a Sub-contractor
Landscape contractors are masters of many crafts and skills. Some carry out concept design while all look after the practical work of creating the landscape. They will be able to suggest imaginative ways to solve the practical design challenges that may be encountered.
Practical work can range from earthworks, new contours, paving, building pergolas or retaining walls, importing new soil or rocks, water features, lighting and electrical through to selecting and planting the species of plants which will adorn the garden.
The contractor needs not only to be the master of these practical skills, but also to have the artistic ability and judgement, and the experience to know what works best. The landscaper has an in-depth knowledge of the material options and plant species available to achieve the effects sought; the right scents, textures, colours, foliage, blossom and size.
Typically the landscape contractor is not an individual who works alone. They require the support of an array of people to provide specialist skills in areas such as stone masonry, bricklaying, lighting, estimating and design. The contractor may be a firm with a few employees or a big landscape company employing dozens of workers.
To ensure against poor workmanship and to achieve a professional result overall you should always contact the Landscape Association of your State who can provide you with a list of members either within a certain geographical area or who can carry out a specific type of landscape work. Members are also very aware of and understand the constraints that builders often work under, such as contracts with tight time frames and provision for liquidated damages for jobs that are not completed on time.
There are clear advantages in ensuring that you deal with a member of the LCA. The LCA is a self regulating industry body formed by professional landscape contractors. Its charter is to set professional standards, foster the industry and look after the interests of consumers. Members have to comply with quality standards and a code of practice. The LCA requires members to have been in business for a minimum of 12 months prior to joining and they must pass a credit check. Association Board members physically inspect and check 4 or 5 recent landscaping jobs completed for quality of workmanship before approving any application to join. Members must also hold the relevant licence issued by the Office Fair Trading for their scope of works.
To be granted their licence applicants must have a minimum of 4 years practical experience in carrying out structural landscaping, or have attained an approved qualification such as the TAFE Landscaping Certificate or Associate Diploma in Applied Science (Landscaping). In addition all licence holders are required to have some form of business management skills obtained through a course of formal study and may be asked to show evidence of their financial resources before being granted a licence.
Landscaping can dramatically improve the value of a property and choosing the right landscaper for the project is the key to achieving the required results. Call the Landscaping Association in your State for your landscaping needs.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Landscape Contractors Association of NSW Limited
PO Box 1226
BANKSTOWN, NSW 2200
Ph. (02) 9790 5151
Fax. (02) 9796 2726
Landscape Industries Association of Victoria &
Landscape Industries Association of Australia
Unit 4/1 Outlook Drive
BURWOOD, VIC 3125
Ph. (03) 9889 0078
Fax. (03) 9889 0645
Queensland Association of Landscaping Industries
Unit 1, 407 Logan Rd
STONE CORNER, QLD 4120
Ph. (07) 3847 8365
Fax. (07) 3847 8359
Landscape Industries Association of Tasmania
C/‑ Post Office
GAWLER, TAS 7316
Ph. (004) 255 253
Fax. (004) 245 555
Landscape Association of South Australia Inc.
PO Box 108
GOODWOOD, SA 5034
Ph. (08) 8210 5211
Fax. (08) 8231 4173
Landscape Industries Association of Western Australia
PO Box 778
SUBIACO, WA 6008
Ph. (09) 244 3560
Fax. (09) 244 3560