Adding hardscapes to your yard is a great way to improve the overall look of the space, increase the value of your home, and increase your living space. There are many considerations to think about when having hardscapes installed, one of them being whether the installation requires obtaining permits.
In Asheville, the answer to that can be complicated. There are certain structures and additions to homes that do require permits, while there are others that don’t. Your best course of action regarding permits for hardscaping is to hire a reputable and experienced hardscape contractor who will handle all the legalities of the additions or modifications you want to make to your yard.
How Do You Know if a Hardscape Contractor is Reputable and Experienced?
There are some things that you should look for in a hardscape contractor before you make the decision to hire the company. The following is a list of important factors to check:
- Certifications – Hardscaping is a specialized field with specialized training required. Hardscaping contractors should have certain certifications that backup construction processes. In the hardscape industry you should make sure that contractors have an Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) certification or a similar one if manufactured stone is used. For natural stonework, a Landscape Contractors License is required in NC for all but the smallest jobs.
- Insurance and Licensing – Make sure that you are not held responsible for any injuries or damages that happen on your property during installation of hardscapes. Your contractor should be able to provide you with proof of insurance and contractor’s license.
- Design Process – Quality hardscaping relies heavily on the design. Your contractor should be able to describe the design process that will be used for your hardscaping. It should maximize the space that you have within the budget that you have.
- Written Estimates and Contract – You should always require that the contractor provide you with an estimate of the cost of the project and a contract – in writing. A verbal agreement isn’t sufficient. You have to be on the same page as your contractor regarding the cost and the plan for the hardscaping being done in your yard. Written documents will lower the chances of miscommunication and help ensure your satisfaction with the project. If there are any changes, a good contractor will write them down and ask you to initial them for thoroughness. Currently, a written, signed, and sealed contract is required for any job totaling over $5,000.00.
- References – Hardscaping isn’t typically something that can be easily moved or changed. That’s why it’s essential that you ask your contractor for references and photos of past work. A reputable hardscaper will be happy to provide you with those items. You can also look at testimonials from other clients and reviews online.
- Obtaining Proper Permits – Be sure to ask the contractor if any permits are required for the installation of your hardscapes. Experienced contractors will know the regulations in your area and how to obtain the proper permits before beginning work in your yard.
In addition to checking on the above items, there are some questions you should ask your hardscape contractor before they begin your project. Here are some of the important ones:
- What is your expected start date and completion date for the project?
- What type of experience do you have with projects like mine? What about your employees?
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you guarantee your work? Is there a warranty?
- Do you contact the HOA, or should I?
- Is anything subcontracted? Who are the subcontractors?
- What are the payment terms and options?
It’s also important that you feel comfortable with the contractor you hire and the employees who will be working on the project. These are people who will be in your yard for as long as the hardscape installation takes, so having a rapport with them will make the process more pleasant.
Hardscaping projects can be big commitments, on various levels. But choosing the right hardscape contractor doesn’t have to be daunting, though it may take some time. With the information above, you know what you should see and ask potential contractors. Any licensed, reputable hardscape contractor should be totally comfortable discussing any of the points we’ve mentioned.
At Ambrose Landscapes, we are happy to talk to you about the hardscapes you want designed and installed and to address any concerns you may have. We take care of all the legalities, including obtaining permits for the work we will do. We have the skill, experience, and professionalism to bring your vision for hardscapes to life.