It is extremely important that you identify and use the right contractor to ensure your investment in a quality landscape. A good choice will reward you for years to come. The first thing you should make sure is that the contractor you choose is licensed to do the work they are hired to do. If the work required is outside the scope of work within their specific license, you need to make sure they use licensed sub-contractors. For example, if you hire a landscaping contractor, with only a C-27 to pour concrete, install a flagstone patio, build a bbq or a pergola, you are having unlicensed work being done, unless they are working with licensed subcontractors. A C-27 is very limited, covering drainage, irrigation, soil amending, planting, installing sod and low voltage lighting. If your project requires more than that, hiring a general contractor may be in your best interest. When choosing the contractor, make sure the people you talk to will be on the jobsite until it is finished. You should feel comfortable they will treat your property with respect. Beware of the bidding war and always remember you will get what you pay for. Seemingly, low bids can be built up when materials, structural construction, craftmanship and design are compromised. If these items along with customer service, prompt construction and an itemized proposal are important to you, consider Better Landscape as your contractor.
The following construction information is a standard of Better Landscapes and should be for you as well to ensure your investment for years to come.
Grading and Drains
Proper inlet locations and proper grading are of the utmost importance. Planting areas must be drained away from all structures by a minimum 2% slope. Hardscape areas should have a minimum of 1% slope away from the structure towards the drain. Improper drainage can result in water damage to the structure or to the concrete slab.
It is important that the main line is installed at the proper depth, using the proper class of PVC pipe and correct city and county inspections. It is extremely important the right size of pipe is used down each side of the property. The pipe should be Schedule 40 and is the only pipe used by Better Landscape. Less expensive piping can deteriorate and cause problems in the future.
Masonry and Hardscape
Ensure that structural items connected to your job are completed in an exceptional manner. Wall footings should be large enough and contain the right amount of steel; digs are made on all outside edges of slabs to prevent water seepage. The proper preparation and steel rebars are imperative to help prevent future cracks. Better Landscape uses Class II baserock or sand at least two inches thick and number 3 steel rebar at 24 inches on center in each direction applied. We also use concrete six sacks mix and footing mixes go to 3,000 PSI. By taking these precautions, the risk of cracks will be greatly reduced.
The selection of the right specimens and location of plant material is an essential factor for design and maintenance. Each area has its own unique requirements for soil preparation. Better Landscape rototills all areas with the highest quality super humus compost, which has high organic nutrients for optimum growth. In special gardens, lawn areas and planters, we combine 60% screened soil with soil conditioners including tillo, sand, super humus and red fines. Vegetable gardens and flower beds are blended with chicken manure and rice hulls.
Mulching is essential to retain moisture and prevent erosion. We use a variety of mulches for different purposes: small and medium bark, shredded redwood bark, cedar shredded bark, fir humus and ground wood pellets.