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Licensed Landscaper in Detroit, MI

How to Hire a Good Landscaper in Detroit

A good landscape is an affordable option in boosting the value and the curb appeal of your home before a sale in Detroit. Hiring a qualified Landscaper in the city will not only guarantee this value boost but also see you redeem as much as 200 percent of your investment in the landscaping project. While you may want to attempt some lawn care and landscaping on your own, beware of the work-related hazards associated with doing so.

However, before contracting a landscape contractor in Detroit, you should make sure you follow these tips to choose the most capable hand:

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Landscaper in the City of Detroit

  1. Are You Licensed to Practice as a Landscaper in the City of Detroit?

    Landscapers in the City of Detroit do not require an occupation-specific license to operate in the city. However, any Landscaper applying pesticide needs to be registered as a certified pesticide applicator. According to Regulation 636 of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), individuals wishing to apply pesticide must either be a certified or a registered pesticide applicator.

    A Landscaper applying to be registered as a commercial pesticide applicator or a registered pesticide applicator must be at least 18 years old. Commercial pesticide applicants must pass a minimum of two exams, including the general standard exam (CORE) and a sub-category exam. Meanwhile, individuals applying to be a registered pesticide applicator must pass the general standard exam (CORE) and complete a Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development approved training program coordinated by an MDARD Approved Trainer. Applicants can complete the training before or after taking the requisite exams. Applicants for both pesticide applicator types must complete and submit an application form and pay applicable fees to sit for the exams. In addition to the application form, applicants for registered pesticide applicators must complete and submit a Registered Applicator Verifiable Training Form to the address indicated in the form. Once their application is approved by MDARD, applicants can schedule a paper-based testing through MDARD or schedule a computer-based testing through Metro Institute. Applicants can access study manuals at the Michigan State University Pesticide Education. MDARD will issue the certification card within two months of the applicants completing all required examinations.

    Michigan runs a reciprocal program with Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. This means commercial and private applicators from these states may be granted reciprocal certification without examination.

    You can direct your queries regarding the certification process of Landscapers as pesticide applicators to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) by contacting at (800) 292-3939. Also, to verify if your intended Landscaper applying pesticide is qualified to do so, you can contact MDARD at (800) 292-3939.

    It would help if you also looked out for trade association membership when looking for Landscapers in the City of Detroit. For instance, the Michigan Nursery & Landscape Association offers Landscapers in Detroit the CGIP certifications. As such, when your intended landscape contractor presents you with any trade association membership, ensure you verify such claims by contacting the relevant association.

  2. How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Landscapers in the City of Detroit?

    How much you will pay when hiring a Landscaper in Detroit is influenced by several factors that include but are not limited to:

    • The scope and nature of the landscaping project
    • The type of landscaping service required for the job.
    • The cost of landscaping materials needed to carry out the project.
    • The locality in Detroit.
    • The workforce needed to execute the project within the expected completion date.

    It is always good to get bids and estimates from at least three different Landscapers in the city when preparing for your project. This enables you to compare prices and pick the most suitable service cost for your budget. Also, it helps you spot deceptive Landscapers who may be trying to overcharge you above the average market prices.

    Detroit Landscapers earn an annual average wage of $33,040. The table below provides a cost comparison of the average hourly wages of landscaping and groundskeeping workers in Detroit against those of this category of individuals across the rest of Michigan and other major American cities:

    Detroit Landscapers Hourly Average Wage
    $15.88
    Michigan Landscapers Hourly Average Wage
    $15.65
    New York City Landscapers Hourly Average Wage
    $18.58
    Los Angeles Landscapers Hourly Average Wage
    $19.04
    Chicago Landscapers Hourly Average Wage
    $16.89
    Houston Landscapers Hourly Average Wage
    $14.69
    Phoenix Landscapers Hourly Average Wage
    $14.91

    Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

  3. Do You Comply with the City of Detroit Landscape Ordinance?

    The Detroit Zoning Ordinance regulates the appropriate use or development of all land in the city, including landscaping activities, while promoting and protecting the resident's public health, safety, and general welfare. The Zoning Ordinance also classifies how all the land in the city will be used in such a way to promote a desirable visual environment through creative development techniques and good civic design and arrangement. This is why the Zoning Ordinance stipulates the landscaping standards to include:

    • Planting appropriate new vegetation and preserving existing vegetation to enhance the built environment and protect and sustain the natural environment.
    • Reduce potential nuisances by requiring a visual screen between uses to mitigate the adverse effects of wind and air turbulence, heat, noise, and other negative impacts associated with adjoining or nearby uses.
    • Improve the appearance of on-premises parking, vehicular-use areas, and property abutting public rights-of-way.

    Note that violating the city's Zoning Ordinance attracts city-imposed penalties like the payment of a fine. This is why it is necessary to hire a Landscaper knowledgeable about the Zoning Ordinance and its application to your proposed landscaping projects. In addition to hiring a well-versed Landscaper, you can also inquire about the city's Zoning Ordinance from the Detroit Buildings Safety Engineering, and Environmental Department (BSEED) by contacting at (313) 224-1317.

  4. Will You Get the Landscaping Permit Required as per the City of Detroit Code?

    The City of Detroit Buildings, Safety Engineering, and Environmental Department (BSEED) does not issue any Individual permits for landscaping activities. However, where your project requires a building permit, you will need to submit site plans for review to the Zoning Division of BSEED before you can be issued a permit. The Zoning Division carries out plan reviews to ensure your project, including the one involving landscaping activities, conforms with the city's Zoning Ordinance. Note that if the Zoning Division fails to approve the site plans, you will not be issued building permits by BSEED.

    When applying for a building permit, you need to verify if your intended project requires a site plan review by utilizing the provisions of section 50-3-113 of the Zoning Ordinance. If applicable, you can apply online by completing an application form and paying an associated review fee of $160. You must log in with an existing account or create a new free user account to use this online platform. Alternatively, you can download and complete a printable site plan review application. You can submit the complete form and the associated fee in person at:

    • Zoning Division Coleman
    • A. Young Municipal Center
    • 2 Woodward Avenue
    • Zoning Counter
    • Room 407
    • Detroit, MI, 48226

    Once submitted, the Zoning Division will review your application for further necessary action, including uploading relevant plans, like a site plan & location map, floor plan, proof of ownership or legal interest in the property, and any other applicable material to ProjectDox. You can use the Site Plan Review Checklist to confirm all the necessary plans required for review by the Zoning Division. When the Zoning Division approves the plans, you must complete the relevant building permit application before commencing work on your project.

    You can direct your queries regarding the plan review and approval process by contacting Detroit Buildings, Safety Engineering, and Environmental Department at (313) 224-1317 or by email.

  5. What Kind of Landscaping Services Do You Offer?

    To ensure you end up with a satisfactory project, you should always make sure that your intended Landscaper specializes in your planned project and has the proper equipment to carry it out successfully. Landscapers in the City of Detroit offer several types of landscaping and lawn care services, including landscape design and installation, sprinkler system installation, hedge trimming, gardening, lawn aerating, weed spraying, lawn edging, and fertilization. As such, before signing off the work contract, ensure you confirm the Landscaper has the skill sets and equipment required for your intended project. Take further steps by requesting their previous work portfolio and references from past clients. Note that you should be wary of Landscapers who fail to provide any requested information. In addition to confirming their expertise, it is also advisable to inquire from the landscape contractor about how much they will charge for your proposed project.

    The list below provides average cost estimates for some common landscaping services in Detroit:

    Landscape maintenance
    $196 per month
    Landscape grading
    $93 - $119 per hour (includes machine rental and operator)
    Concrete curb installation
    $22 - $27 per linear foot (curb and gutter)
    Landscape curbing installation
    $4.84 - $5.48 per linear foot (mid-grade concrete)
    Landscape design
    $50-100 per hour
    Garden planning
    $50 - $100 per hour.
    General Bed Maintenance/Detailing
    $25 - $50 per hour
    Spring/Fall Clean-up
    $148 - $300
    Pruning/Hedging
    $45 - $75 per hour
    Irrigation System start-up
    $1,759 - $3,350
    Mulching
    $45 - $70 per cubic yard (material and local delivery)
    Leaf Removal
    $400 - $480 per acre
    Lawn Mowing
    $45 - $56 per visit (one acre)
    Sodding
    $1.18 - $1.92 per square foot installed
    Fertilization
    $55 - $60 per application (1/4 acre)
    Weed Control
    $30 - $50 per hour
  6. What are the Best Types of Grass for Lawns in the City of Detroit?

    Detroit is characterized by a cold and temperate climate. The temperature averages 10.0 °C | 50.0 °F, and the rainfall is around 922 mm | 36.3 inches per year. The rain in the city is pretty significant, as there is even precipitation even when the city is experiencing its driest season. So, when looking for grasses to plant on your lawn, you should look for grasses that can withstand the mild, humid summers and winters. Some of the turf choices include

    • Kentucky bluegrass
    • Perennial ryegrass
    • Tall fescue
    • Fine fescue

    When picking grass for your lawn, you should consider the most suitable one by considering the amount of shade, how often the lawn will be irrigated, and whether you prefer grass with low maintenance. The best option for you in this situation is to rely on your Landscaper to help you determine the best grass for your lawn. You can rely on referrals from trusted friends and family when looking for qualified Landscapers near you. You can also use reputable websites like the Better Business Bureau or online directories like the National Association of Landscape Professionals to find Landscapers in Detroit.

  7. Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Landscapers in the City of Detroit?

    Annually, an estimated 143,000 emergency room visits are attributed to landscaping activities, with lawn mower accidents accounting for approximately 87,600 of these visits. Even though Detroit does not have any mandatory insurance requirement for landscape contractors, you should hire only a fully insured Landscaper. Hiring a Landscaper with an active general liability insurance policy protects you from incurring any cost relating to work accidents involving bodily injury or property damage. Considering the importance of insurance, you must make sure you request a copy of an insurance certificate from your intended Landscaper. Ensure you contact the relevant issuing insurance carrier to confirm the validity of the insurance certificate.

    In addition to this, Landscapers in Detroit with at least one employee must provide workers' compensation insurance for their employees. This covers lost wages and medical bills for work injuries. For more information regarding workers' compensation insurance, you can contact the Insurance Compliance Division of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity at (517) 284-8922.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Landscaper in the City of Detroit

According to the consumer complaints list released by the Michigan Attorney General's Office in 2019, over 170 contractor fraud complaints were filed by residents of the state, including residents of Detroit. When hiring a Landscaper, it is best to be cautious to avoid hiring a deceptive contractor. Some of these Landscapers use different schemes to defraud unsuspecting homeowners in the City of Detroit, and some of these methods include:

  • High-pressure sales tactics
  • The contractor offers you a deal involving the use of leftover materials from a previous job.
  • Insistent on starting work immediately.
  • Request for payment in advance.
  • Discovers a non-existent problem after conducting a free unsolicited inspection.
  • The contractor is reluctant to sign a contract for the project.

In August 2021, a contractor was charged with more than a dozen felonies by the Michigan Attorney General's Office for collecting payment and failing to complete construction projects totaling over $1,200,000. Note that not all these deceptive individuals end up getting caught. This is why you should take the following steps before hiring a Landscaper in Detroit to make sure you do not end up hiring a fraudulent landscaper:

  • Request for cost estimates from at least three Landscapers.
  • Request references from the contractor and their work portfolio to help check if they have completed work similar to your planned project.
  • Ask friends and family to provide you with qualified and reliable Landscaper referrals. You can also rely on reputable online websites like the Better Business Bureau and online directories like the National Association of Landscape Professionals to find a Landscaper near you.
  • Be wary of contractors that insist on upfront payment. Ensure you do not pay more than 10% of the project cost and only pay the full payment after inspecting and deeming the work satisfactory.
  • Avoid contractors that try to pressure you into making decisions. Always carry out your due diligence to ensure the Landscaper is the right fit for your proposed project.
  • Execute a written and binding agreement stipulating the obligations of the Landscapers, including the start date, materials to be used, and expected date of completion.
  • Always ensure you understand every term in a document before you sign it.

The Consumer Protection Division of the Michigan Attorney General's Office handles over 10,000 consumer complaints annually, including complaints against Landscapers in Detroit. As such, if you have any complaint against a Landscaper, you can file a complaint with the Michigan Attorney General's Office by completing an online complaint form. Alternatively, you can complete and submit a complaint form to the mailing address provided in the body of the form. You can direct your queries regarding the filing process to the Consumer Protection Division at (517) 335-7599 or toll-free (877) 765-8388 on Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

You can also bring legal action against the erring landscaping company at the Detroit 36th District Court. It is best to seek proper legal advice before filing any action in court. You can utilize the Detroit Legal Services Clinic provided by the Detroit Bar Association to consult with a lawyer near you.