Landscape Planning Guide

Landscape Planning Guide

by Rick MacRoy, owner of Landscape Creations

Mistake #1: Not checking out contractor qualifications —

How to avoid this common mistake —
Discuss these points with your landscaping contractor:

  • Do they have the creative and functional ability to design and plan your landscaping?
  • Do they have years of experience specific in hardscape and plant installation?
  • Are they licensed, bonded and insured?
  • Are they listed with Angie’s List or the Better Business Bureau. Do they have respectable ratings?
  • Do they belong to trade associations?
  • Do they have the sufficient equipment and labor to handle the job?

Mistake #2: Dismissing the contractor’s sales presentation —

Discuss these points to avoid this common mistake —
Does your landscape contractor:

  • Offer a professional on-site consultation?
  • Provide a sketch or scaled drawing indicating proposed work?
  • Charge a fee for the sketch or scaled drawing?
  • Is the proposed work a written contract (proposal) with specific description(s) and line costing detail?
  • Does the proposal indicate a deposit (beware of large deposit requests), specific payment terms, start and completion dates?
  • Is the proposal ‘work’ and ‘materials’ specific?
  • Do you know exactly what you are paying for?
  • Are you aware of ‘work’ specifications and the type and quantity of ‘materials’?
  • Are these specifications in writing?
  • Can your contractor offer customer references; how many, is the work similar in scope. Are the customers happy and does the work speak for itself?
  • Is the landscaping work guaranteed for workmanship and for how long?
  • Are permits, entrance bonds, and a contractor license fee required. Who acquires them?

Mistake #3: Not planning well enough for execution of landscape design —

To avoid this Common Mistake, be sure your contractor:

  • Has an on-site review of the layout and schedule with you prior to the start of work.
  • Is courteous and respectful of your neighbors’ property.
  • Assures you that the job site be kept safe and clean.
  • Responds to changes due to unforeseen site conditions or customers change request.
  • The contractor/business owner supervises the project and sees that specialized and/or detailed tasks are ‘hands-on’ by the business owner.
  • Leaves your property ‘power washed’ clean when your project is completed.

Mistake #4. Not following up —

To avoid this common mistake, make sure your contractor will:

  • Review and walk through the project with you upon completion. Make immediate corrections, if required.
  • Respond to questions and/or possible problems that may arise long after project completion.
  • Offer you care and maintenance handouts regarding your project.
  • Offer maintenance services for long term care.


Rick and Rich MacRoy, co-owners of Landscape Creations have been members of the Illinois Landscape contractors Association (ILCA) since 1999. They are authorized Unilock® contractors. Awards presented to them include:

  • Unilock’s Annual Top Award for Permeable Paver Application 2013
  • First Place Unilock Award Winner 2011
  • Best Entrance Award 2010
  • Top Award for Best Unilock Select Installation by Unilock Chicago 2009
  • Best Outdoor Living Space 2007
  • Award of Excellence – Most Dramatic Before & After Project 2005
  • Award of Excellence – Best Raised Patio 2000
  • Outstanding Sales Performance Award – Multiple Years
  • 15 year recognition as an Authorized Unilock Contractor