Get Quotes from Top Landscapers in Austin, TX
Questions to Ask Before Hiring A Landscaper in the City of Austin
To promote sustainable landscaping practices, the City of Austin offers a variety of rebates, grants, and free items to homeowners. Aside from these benefits, lawn care service, landscape maintenance, and upgrades are safe home improvement investments that may see you recover up 267 percent of the cost whenever you decide to sell. Smart homeowners in Austin ask their landscapers the following question to determine the best hand for the job:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Landscaper in the City of Austin?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Landscapers in the City of Austin?
- Do You Comply with the City of Austin Landscape Ordinance?
- Will You Get the Landscaping Permit Required as per the City of Austin Code?
- What Kind of Landscaping Services Do You Offer?
- What are the Best Types of Grass for Lawns in the City of Austin?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Landscapers in the City of Austin?
- How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Landscaper in the City of Austin
While landscapers operating in the City of Austin are generally not required to have a license, certain landscaping projects may require specific licenses. For example, the City of Austin requires a license for the installation of irrigation systems from the Texas Commision on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Similarly, your landscaper will need a commercial pesticide applicator license from the Texas Department of Agriculture if the application of restricted-use or state-limited-use pesticides is part of your lawn care or landscaping project.
Landscapers carrying out any irrigation project must apply for a landscape irrigator license through the TCEQ's Occupational Licensing online application. The TCEQ sends an acceptance letter to the mailing address on the application once it has been received, reviewed, and authorized. Once they have obtained the approval letter, landscapers can register for the landscape irrigator exam by calling the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), which currently administers the exams, at (800) 723-3811. Applicants for the landscape irrigator exam will be required to submit a copy of the TCEQ approval letter to the TEEX.
Operating without a landscape irrigator license is a Class C misdemeanor and is punishable by fines of up to $500.00 in addition to related costs. To find out if your landscaper is duly licensed for irrigation work, use the TCEQ Search Licensing platform. You can direct all inquiries to the TCEQ office at:Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
12100 Park 35 Circle
Austin, TX 78753
For a commercial pesticide applicator license, landscapers can apply by filling the Texas Department of Agriculture's online form or downloading and submitting a physical form to the Department's mailing address at:Texas Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 12076
Austin, TX 78711
Phone: (877) 542-2474
Before final approval, the landscaper will also need to pass the general standards exam, as well as at least one category exam, in this case, category 3A, Lawn and Ornamental Pest Control: Landscape Maintenance. Recertification as a licensed commercial applicator is yearly. To recertify, the landscaper must earn five continuing education credits, two of which must come from the following categories: laws and regulations, integrated pest management, and drift minimization. Operating without a commercial pesticide applicator license is considered a maximum hazard potential violation with fines of up to $2000 for first offender, $3000 for second offenders and $5000 for third and subsequent violators. To check the license of your landscaper, use the Pest Control Business License platform.
When it comes to billing, Landscapers in the City of Austin often use either an hourly or a square footage fee billing system. Also, landscaping rates are often determined by factors such as the type of landscaping work to be performed and the labor intensity of the operation. As a result, you should always confirm this with any landscaping contractor you want to engage. When trying to choose a Landscaper in the city, you should compare rates and come up with an average cost for your job by acquiring several estimates from different professionals.
A landscaper in Austin earns an average wage of $32,540, annually. The table below provides a cost comparison of the average hourly wages of landscaping and groundskeeping workers in Austin against those of this category of professionals across the rest of Texas and other major American cities:
Ascertaining that your Landscaper is familiar with the City of Austin Landscape Ordinance's standards and requirements is a critical step in achieving a successful landscaping project. The basic elements of the landscape ordinance guide and regulate what a landscaper can and cannot do. The following are some of them:
- Street Yard Requirements
- Buffer Requirements
- Tree Mitigation
- Plant Selection
- Soil Conditioning and Mulching
- Protection of Landscape Areas
- Irrigation and Innovative Water Management
Confirming that your desired landscape contractor is familiar with the city's landscape ordinance and follows its regulations assures that your landscaping project will not be in violation of any city code. In the end, it helps you avoid the penalties connected with ordinance infractions, as well as the financial, legal, and physical hardship that these penalties often entail. You may learn more about the City of Austin Landscape Ordinance and how it can affect your landscaping project by contacting the City of Austin Code Department at (512) 974-2633 or visiting their office at:Austin Code Department
5202 E Ben White Boulevard
Austin, TX 78741
Depending on the type of landscaping work you want to do in the City of Austin, you may need to obtain a permit. Projects that involve trees that are not regulated, that is, trees less than 19 inches in diameter do not require tree permits in the city. While most landscape projects do not require permits, those that include construction (such as patios, arbors, fire pits, pools, or retaining walls) will require one. However, a permit might still not be required for these constructions if they meet the City of Austin's conditions for permit exemption. Below are some landscaping work that do not require permits:
- The construction of a fence that is not higher than 8 feet (2,438 mm) high unless it is in a flood hazard area.
- The construction of a retaining wall that is not more than 4 feet (1,219 mm) tall measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless it is sustaining a surcharge or is located within a flood hazard.
- The construction of a one-story detached adjunct construction, such as a patio, with a floor space of no more than 200 square feet (18.58 m2) and a height of no more than 15 feet (4,572 mm), that does not form a dwelling, includes no plumbing, and is not located in a flood hazard area, is not considered a dwelling.
- The construction of a prefabricated swimming pool that is smaller than 24 inches (610 mm) deep.
Use the Residential Intake Request Form to submit the required permit application, revisions and updates to the City of Austin. For permit-related inquiries, please contact the City of Austin Permitting and Development Center at (512) 974-2000 or visit their office at:City of Austin Permitting and Development Center
6310 Wilhelmina Delco Drive
Austin, TX 78752
In the City of Austin, professional Landscapers offer a wide range of services to interested parties. Residential and commercial landscaping services, landscape installation, irrigation systems, drainage solutions, and more specialized services such as hardscaping, softscaping, and xeriscaping are all available. These services often involve a broad knowledge and skill set in areas such as horticulture and arboriculture. In view of this, it is advisable to ask your potential landscaping contractor to verify their areas of specialization so as to ensure that they are the proper fit for the work.
It is also a good idea to take a step further and ask for photos of recent landscape jobs they have done with the same requirements as yours. Professional landscapers will gladly offer this information, and any contractor who is hesitant to do so should be avoided. After that, you should ask for a cost estimate for the project you want to accomplish. Cost estimates for common landscaping services in Austin are listed below:
The type of grass you can plant in Austin is largely dependent on its climate. According to the Koppen Climate Classification, Austin has a Humid Subtropical Climate. Long, hot summers and short, mild winters characterize this climate, which also features pleasant spring and fall transitional seasons. Austin has an average daily maximum temperature in the mid to upper 90s Fahrenheit and receives an average of 35.5 inches of rain per year, with the wettest months being May, October, and June, in that order.
Due to its temperate climate, the best grasses to grow in the City of Austin include:
- St. Augustine grass
- Buffalo grass
- Scutch grass
- Muhly grass
- Mexican feather grass
Before planting any of these grasses on your lawn, you should always speak with a professional landscaper to ensure that you receive the best results. Use trustworthy online organizations like the National Association of Landscape Professionals and Better Business Bureau to discover skilled Landscapers.
While landscapers in Austin are not required to have insurance, it is advisable to ensure your landscaping company has some kind of coverage, be it Commercial General Liability Insurance or Workers' Compensation Insurance. Given the seriousness of the injuries that a landscaper might get on the job, it is always in your best interests to make sure that any landscaping contractor you hire is fully insured. This will safeguard you in the event of a workplace mishap. Request a copy of your landscaper's insurance certificate to verify if the contractor is fully covered for any bodily harm or unintended property damage that may occur during the job. You should also double-check this documentation with the appropriate insurance company. For more information on insurance policies for landscapers, you can call the Texas Department of Insurance's customer helpline at (800) 252-3439.
A report in local media by KVUE Defenders in September, 2020 detailed the experiences of several Austin residents losing tens of thousand dollars to Apex Construction. The dubious home improvement contractor had taken large sums of money from unsuspecting Austin residents for home improvement projects without completing or, in some cases, starting any work. Unfortunately, this kind of scam is very common, especially amongst elderly couples.
Here are some measures you can take to ensure your landscape contractor is legitimate and you are not about to fall for a landscaping scam:
- Take a look at their feedback: Check people's experiences with specific landscapers using a variety of online resources available, such as the Better Business Bureau. Check to see if the firm you're considering has any negative reviews, complaints, or unresolved concerns. If a complaint has been filed, make sure that it has been properly resolved before hiring that landscaper.
- Look for their Website: If you can't find a company's website, it could be a red flag. A company's legitimacy is often determined by its website. Their website should also be a valuable resource, offering information such as credentials and certificates, samples of previous work, and customer reviews. Even if some newer or smaller contractors do not have a website, searching for them is still a good idea. You can also use social media to broaden your search.
- Check for good references: Make sure you were referred to this landscaper by a reliable source. If you have only heard about them in passing, see if anyone you know has really used them. Getting a referral from someone who has employed them and had a positive experience is more dependable than hearing that a firm is good or relying on advertising.
- Get Multiple Bids: Make sure you do your homework. Obtaining various quotes helps you to ask questions about your project and establish a price baseline. You'll be better prepared to make an informed decision if you research multiple companies and ask questions. If a company or contractor puts pressure on you to choose them, your best bet is to walk away. A respectable business will stand behind the work it has completed and the reputation it has established. They will never impose their work on a client.
- Be wary of huge upfront payments: Never pay the entire project cost upfront, and make sure you have a thorough contract in place before any work begins. If you must make any advance payments, keep them to a maximum of $1,000 or 10% of the overall cost of the project, whichever is less. Similarly, before signing a contract, make sure you thoroughly research it and fully comprehend its provisions.
You can report lawn-care frauds or file complaints with the Texas Attorney General's Office by calling (800) 621-0508, utilizing the office's online consumer complaint platform, or submitting a hardcopy complaint form to the office's mailing address at:Office of the Texas Consumer Protection Division
300 W. 15th Street
PO Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548
You can also file a complaint with the Austin Police Department by calling (512) 974-5000 or visiting the department's office at:Austin Police Department
715 E. Eighth Street
Austin, TX 78701