Guide to Getting Started

Before you jump into your outdoor living upgrade, be sure to contemplate these critical considerations.

Check your yard for buried electric lines, cables, pipes

Before you begin planning your landscaping project, call your local utility companies to check your yard for buried electric lines, cables, pipes, etc. This step is essential for your safety and the success of the project, and this service is free in most areas.

Consider a Contractor

We want your project to be a success. Depending on the scope and the construction conditions, you may need to hire a contractor. The following questions will help you determine whether you do:

  • Will your wall be taller than the maximum gravity height of the product you have chosen?
  • Are you building on clay soil?
  • Are you unable to lift the weight of the product you plan to use?

If you answered "YES" to one or more of these questions, you need to hire a contractor.

Finding and Working with a Contractor

  • Inquire specifically about the quality of the contractor's work and whether the project was completed on time and on budget.
  • Require your contractor to show documentation of licensing and bonding. Licensing guidelines vary by state and municipality. Call your city hall to determine what is required in your area.
  • Ask for a schedule, with estimated starting and ending dates. If it's important that the job be completed within a specified time frame, communicate this to your contractor. Determine who will perform the work and whether subcontractors will be retained.
  • Request a detailed bid and contract. If after reviewing either document you need clarification on any aspect of the project, ask for it in writing. Both parties should sign and date the contract.
  • Ask for lien waivers. Lien waivers protect you from being held responsible for payment to the contractor's suppliers and subcontractors once you have paid your contractor in full.Look for a good fit. A compatible contractor/homeowner relationship is crucial to the success of your project. Assess your contractor's personality to make sure it’s a good fit with your own. For example, if you’re a meticulous person, you'll prefer a contractor who pays the same attention to detail.