MELA's Questions to Ask Your Landscape Professional
These questions were put together by members of the Midwest Ecological Landscaping Association as a guide for the public. They can help you get responsible, green-oriented design, installation and yard maintenance
During a Hiring Interview
Do you do a soil test?
Do you believe in using "green-best-practices" when designing a landscape? If you're not an installer, can you recommend one who shares your philosophy?
How do you reconcile aesthetics and the green approach? What drives your design process?
Do you use regionally appropriate plants? What kind? Why?
How do you decide which plants to group together? Do you use plant communities?
Is low water consumption a priority? Do you have information about rain barrels and rain gardens? Do you recommend an irrigation system? What kind?
When do you think that it is appropriate to use herbicides and pesticides? Do you practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) or Plant Health Care (PHC)?
Will you teach me about my garden as you install it so that I can maintain it properly?
Will my garden be A low maintenance @ ? What does that mean to you?
When does your design call for the garden to be mature? When will it need renovation?
During the Design/Installation Process
Do you use herbicides to remove existing plants in the landscape? If not, how do you do it?
What will you do with the plants and soil that you remove from my garden?
What soil preparation do you recommend? Mulch? Soil amendments? Compost? Compost tea?
Are you using plants that will self-seed? Will I need to weed the garden frequently?
What will you do with your discarded plant containers?
What kind of fertilizer do you use? Why? How often is it applied?
What treatments will you use for insects or diseases? Before you treat, will you give me a list of substances you plan to use?
How do you decide when to prune trees and shrubs? Do you use a certified arborist?
For new lawns, what type of turfgrass do you recommend? Why? Seed or sod?
What do you consider a tolerable number of weeds in a lawn? What kind of weeds? Do you consider clover a weed?
How high do you cut the lawn? Do you use mulching blades or remove the grass clippings? If the latter, what do you do with them?
Can I adjust how often the lawn is mowed?
Do you aerate and apply compost to the lawn?