Landscaping is one home improvement that can recoup its cost 100 percent and still add an extra 15 to 20 percent on your property when managed by professionals. This makes it one of the best options for boosting your home's resale value in Oklahoma City. However, before settling for any landscaper in the city, ensure the professional is conversant with the Oklahoma Landscape Ordinance. Likewise, you should also consider asking the following questions:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Landscaper in Oklahoma City?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Landscapers in Oklahoma City?
- Do You Comply with the Oklahoma City Landscape Ordinance?
- Will You Get the Landscaping Permit Required as per the Oklahoma City Code?
- What Kind of Landscaping Services Do You Offer?
- What are the Best Types of Grass for Lawns in Oklahoma City?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Landscapers in Oklahoma City?
Oklahoma City does not require landscapers that operate within its jurisdiction to possess an occupation-specific contractor license. However, any Landyscaper that wishes to perform any improvement activity on private property in the city that requires a city-issued building permit must register as a Residential Building Contractor with the Oklahoma City Development Services Department. Failure to adhere to this registration requirement can lead to Class A or Class B misdemeanor charges, which are punishable by fines and jail time of up to $1,200 and six months respectively, or a combination of both. Similarly, if the landscaping activity involves the application of pesticides, then the landscaper must also obtain a state-issued commercial pesticide applicator license from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.
Landscapers that need to register as Residential Building Contractors in the city may do so online via the Oklahoma City Citizen Portal. Note that these contractors will have to create a free user account to use this portal and also submit proof of general liability insurance, workers' compensation or exemption where applicable, as well as a stipulated registration fee. Registrants may also be required to complete and submit a notarized Contractor Information Sheet. Inquiries concerning this registration process can be directed to the Oklahoma City Development Services Department at (405) 297-2606.
On the other hand, applications for a state-issued commercial pesticide applicator license can be made by properly completing and submitting a Pesticide Applicator License Application Form to:
- Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry
- Consumer Protection Services
- 2800 N Lincoln Boulevard
- P.O. Box 528804
- Oklahoma City, OK 73152-8804
Note that applicants will also be required to pay a licensing fee, pass licensing examinations, and provide any other information deemed necessary by the department before obtaining the requested license. Queries concerning state-issued pesticide applicator licenses can be directed to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry at (405)522-5984.
You should always make sure that the landscaper you intend to hire has met all applicable local registration or state licensing requirements before starting any work on your project. You can do this by contacting the Oklahoma City Development Services Department at (405) 297-2606. It is also a good idea to look out for trade association membership and industry certifications when searching for landscapers in the city. These additional qualifications usually indicate that the contractor has attained a certain level of experience and on-the-job professionalism that offer you a measure of confidence in their ability to get the job done satisfactorily. Some reputable associations that landscapers in Oklahoma City belong to or obtain certifications from are the National Association of Landscape Professionals, the Professional Grounds Management Society, the International Society of Arboriculture, and the Tree Care Industry Association. Make sure that you verify any claims of trade association membership or industry certification made by landscapers in the city by contacting the relevant association.
The cost of hiring a landscape contractor in Oklahoma City is influenced by several factors. These include:
- The type of landscaping service that you require
- The scope of this service
- The cost of landscaping materials needed to carry out the project
- The amount of labor required to execute the project
You should always get detailed estimates from up to three different landscapers in the city before making your choice of the best fit for your project. This not only helps you get an average estimate of the project's potential cost but also spot possibly fraudulent contractors that charge way above market prices.
A landscaper in Oklahoma City earns an average wage of $30,330, annually. The table below provides a cost comparison of the average hourly wages of landscaping and groundskeeping workers in Oklahoma City against those of this category of individuals across the rest of Oklahoma State and other major American cities:Oklahoma City Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$14.58Oklahoma State Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$14.23New York City Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$18.58Los Angeles Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$19.04Chicago Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$16.89Houston Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$14.69Phoenix Landscapers Hourly Average Wage$14.91
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Oklahoma City Landscape Ordinance is a local law that establishes minimum standards for landscaping activities in the city while also ensuring that design flexibility and plant material choice are retained. This ordinance utilizes a point-based system that assigns point values to different types of plant materials, and its rules, requirements, regulations, and conditions apply to all proposed or existing development and construction projects in Oklahoma City. Thus, it is necessary to make sure that any landscaper you hire in the city is conversant with the ordinance. This way, you can be assured that your project will be done in compliance with all its relevant provisions and requirements, thereby avoiding the sanctions and penalties that follow ordinance violations in Oklahoma City.
Some requirements of the Oklahoma City Landscape Ordinance include:
- The submission of final landscape plans for proposed development projects
- The issuance of permits for landscaping projects on rights-of-way
- Mandatory landscaping of perimeter yards for single-family residential, duplex, and mobile home residential use units in certain city districts
- The installation of residential buffers and screening for properties in certain individual zoning districts
You can reach out to the Oklahoma City Development Center at (405) 297-3835 to direct any queries related to the city's landscape ordinance.
Per the requirements of the Oklahoma City Landscape Ordinance, a revocable permit has to be obtained from the Oklahoma Public Works Department before landscaping work can be done within rights-of-way in the city. These permits can be obtained by filling out a Revocable Permit Application Form and submitting two copies of this form, along with other required documents and a permit fee, to the department at:
- 420 W Main Street
- Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Additional documents that are typically required for submission alongside the duly completed permit application form include:
- Letters of no objection from the owners of properties that abut the proposed landscaping improvement
- Four copies of site plans
- Four copies of landscaping plans, where applicable
- A legal description of the property
You can contact the Public Works Department at (405) 297-2581 for assistance on the revocable permit application process.
The Oklahoma City Landscape Ordinance also mandates that a separate landscape plan must be submitted when applications for building permits, as well as all PUDs, SPUDs, and conditional use permits are made in the city. However, this requirement is not mandatory for individual single-family or two-family residential lots. The aforementioned permits are typically required for the construction, alteration, repair, enlargement, movement, or demolition of any primary or accessory structure in the city, and they can be obtained online via the Oklahoma City Citizen Portal. Note that these mandated landscape plans must include certain information, such as:
- The location and size of any permanent fixture or structure that is relevant to the landscape plan. This includes sidewalks, fences, walls, signs, and benches
- The location, size, type, spacing, and quantity of all proposed plant materials for the project as well as any existing plant materials. These materials have to be graphically represented on the plan and referenced by their common name, scientific name, or an appropriate key
- The proposed method of irrigation for the landscaping as well as a defined area of coverage for this irrigation method
- The exact locations and outlines of all rights-of-way around the proposed project for which the permit is being requested
You can get additional information on landscape plan submissions and construction-related permit applications or make inquiries related to these topics by contacting the Oklahoma City Development Center's Plan Review staff at (405) 297-2525.
To ensure that you get optimal service delivery, you should always make sure that the individual you contract to handle your project has the proper equipment and expertise relevant to your specific landscaping needs. Landscapers in Oklahoma City offer several types of lawn care and landscaping services. Common examples include lawn aerating, weed spraying, lawn edging, landscape design and installation, sprinkler system installation, hedge trimming, gardening, and fertilization. Get a verbal confirmation that your intended contractor offers landscaping services that are required for your intended project, ask to see a portfolio of their previous work, and request references of past clients. This should not be a problem for professional landscapers that can deliver services they claim to provide, and you should be wary of contractors that are hesitant to or cannot provide any of this requested information. Once you have done this, it is also a good idea to get a clear estimation of how much you will be charged for the project at hand. The list below provides average cost estimates for some common landscaping services in Oklahoma City:Lawn mowing and maintenance$35 - $120Lawn aeration$65 - $150Lawn fertilization$55 - $135Residential landscape design$60 - $75 per hourLandscape installation$45 - $70 per hour (labor costs only)Garden Planning$45 - $70 per hourGeneral Bed Maintenance/Detailing$80 - $110Spring/Fall clean-up$182 - $322Pruning/Hedging$45 - $200Lawn irrigation system installation$775 - $3,200Lawn mulching$76 - $96 per cubic yardLeaf removal$50 - $280Sodding$1.20 - $1.40 per square footWeed Control$50 - $110
With an average annual temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit, Oklahoma City enjoys year-round mild and favorable seasons and rarely experiences prolonged periods of bad weather. As such, both cold-season and warm-season grasses are suitable for planting in the city. The top grass choices for lawns in Oklahoma City are:
- Perennial ryegrass
- Tall fescue
- Kentucky bluegrass
- St. Augustine grass
Note that site conditions like the type of soil on your lawn, the amount of foot traffic it experiences, and the amount of sunlight or shade it receives will influence how well these grasses will flourish after planting. You should always consult a qualified Landscaper to help you factor in these conditions as well as your personal needs before determining the best type of grass for your lawn. You can find qualified landscapers in the city by getting referrals from trusted friends, family, or online directories provided by organizations like the Better Business Bureau and the National Association of Landscape Professionals.
Oklahoma City does not have any mandatory licensing requirements that apply specifically to landscapers. However, individuals in the city, including landscape contractors, that wish to register as residential building contractors must have general liability insurance coverage of a minimum of $50,000 per occurrence and workers' compensation coverage of a minimum of $100,000 per occurrence. This insurance coverage is necessitated to cover the costs of work-related events like damages caused to your property by the contractor during the project and on-the-job injuries to the contractor or other third parties. This is important, considering that an estimated 143,000 emergency room visits are attributed to landscaping activities annually, with lawnmowers alone causing approximately 87,600 of these visits.
As such, always make sure that any landscaper you hire in Oklahoma City is properly insured, regardless of whether or not this individual is also registered as a residential building contractor. Request a copy of the contractor's insurance certificate and contact the issuing insurance provider to authenticate it and also confirm that the insurance plan can adequately cover the scope of your landscaping project.
You should always take steps to protect yourself from shady contractors when searching for a landscaper in Oklahoma City. These individuals use different schemes and methods to defraud unsuspecting homeowners in the city and make away with their funds, sometimes leaving their homes and lawns in a state of disarray. Some signs that you may be dealing with a shady contractor include:
- The contractor approaches you to offer their services, either in person or via phone, without being solicited
- The contractor claims to have leftover materials from a previous job and offers you a steep discount to use them for your project
- The contractor does not have a verifiable local address
- The contractor uses high-pressure or aggressive sales tactics to get you to make an immediate decision
- The contractor asks for a substantial upfront payment, usually in cash
- The contractor does not wish to provide a written agreement or contract for the project
- The contractor says that you will get a discount if you can refer other homeowners or customers to them
In 2020, the Oklahoma Attorney General announced a 10-count felony indictment against a husband and wife contractor duo that had fraudulently obtained over $313,000 from homeowners in Oklahoma City and across the rest of the state. These contractors had carried out these scams by requesting upfront payment for home and property improvement jobs from their victims and either never starting the projects or failing to complete them. The Oklahoma Attorney General's Office is estimated to receive thousands of consumer complaints annually while also returning tens of thousands of dollars to aggrieved or defrauded consumers every year. However, it should be noted that these refunds are not always guaranteed. Therefore, it is in your best interest to take the following steps before hiring a landscaper in Oklahoma City to ensure that you end up with one that is legit:
- Be wary of unsolicited landscapers
- Ask trusted friends and relatives to provide you with referrals to reliable landscapers. You can also get referrals from online sources like the Better Business Bureau and the National Association of Landscape Professionals
- Resist pressure from contractors to make immediate decisions. Always do your due diligence and take your time to understand the nature of your intended project
- Get cost estimates from multiple landscapers
- Avoid contractors that do not have local addresses. Use local contractors that are established in the city
- Request references from the contractor. Be wary of any landscaper that cannot or is hesitant to provide you with at least three local and verifiable references
- Be cautious of contractors that ask for substantial up-front payments or cash payments. Limit up-front payments to a maximum of 10-20% of the project's total value and never pay the full cost of the project until it has been completed to your satisfaction
- Insist on a written agreement or contract for the project. Ensure to read and understand this contract before signing it
- Always trust your gut. If the contractor offers any deals that sound too good to be true, they probably are
You can report landscaping scams and other consumer fraud-related matters that occur in Oklahoma City to the Consumer Protection Unit of the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office by sending a completed Consumer Complaint Form, along with any relevant documents, to:
- Oklahoma Attorney General's Office
- Consumer Protection Unit
- 313 NE 21st Street
- Oklahoma City, OK 73105
The completed complaint form and supporting documentation can also be submitted via email. Note that the subject of this email should read Complaint. You can contact the Consumer Protect Unit at (405) 521-2029 or toll-free number 1-833-681-1895 to make inquiries concerning its consumer complaint process.