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It is estimated that Americans will spend in excess of $20 billion on landscape services this year, including tree care, lawn maintenance, landscape installation and landscape design. With over 1,500 members, the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA) is the state’s oldest and largest trade association for businesses it the green industry. MNLA member companies are committed to professional improvement for their employees through continuing education, certification programs and industry networking activities.

What Type of Professional Do I Need?

  • Landscape Designer
    A person that is often educated at a university or technical college specializes in the design of residential and commercial landscapes. Designs may include plantings, walkways, walls, water features, landscape lighting and other similar features.
  • Landscape Contractor
    An individual that implements plans prepared by a landscape designer or architect. A landscape contractor prepares the site and then installs plants and hardscaping (pavers, wall block, etc.) materials as described in the landscape plan. The company may bid on the project or work with the designer throughout the design process.
  • Design-Build Firm
    A firm that has both landscape designers and landscape contractors on staff. The company works with the property owner to develop a landscape plan and then implement that plan. The company works with the property owner to develop a landscape plan and then implement that plan.
  • Professional Gardening Service
    A firm that specializes in the design, installation, and/or care of residential or commercial-site gardens.
  • Lawn Maintenance Service
    A firm that specializes in maintaining residential or commercial-site turf grass. Services include mowing, trimming, seeding, and fertilizing. Employees that apply pesticide are trained and licensed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Tips for Selecting and Working with a Landscaper Professional:

  • If the company is installing plant material, check to make sure they have a nursery inspection certificate from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. This ensures that the plant material they are providing has been grown in a nursery and not dug from the wild.
  • Check that the firm has a federal identification number that designates them as a legitimate business.
  • Make sure that firm has a sales tax license and that they are insured.
  • Ask for customer references and then phone those referrals.
  • Professionals arrive on time, take photographs, and take measurements or draw sketches of your property while there.
  • Ask for an itemized list of plant materials and plant sizes that will be include in your project.
  • Make sure the company provides a contract that specifies starting and completion dates. Allowances should be made for weather.
  • Firms that have Certified Nursery and Landscape Professionals on staff show that they are willing to go an extra step to ensure the professionalism of their employees.

What Other Steps the Homeowner Take to Ensure a Positive Experience with a Landscape Professional?

  • Be honest about the amount of money you intend to invest in your landscape project.
  • Interview several professionals. Ask to see their “before and after” portfolio.
  • If the company is installing plant material, check to make sure they have a nursery inspection certificate from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. This ensures that the plant material they are providing has been grown in a nursery and not dug from the wild.
  • Visit one of the company’s finished projects.
  • Keep in mind that newly finished landscapes may look sparse. A good landscape professional will not overcrowd plant material in a plan or installation, but instead will allow plants the room they need to achieve their mature size in two to three years.

Members of the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association include nurseries, garden centers, landscape designers, landscape contractors, irrigation contractors, tree care specialists, professional gardening services, commercial flower growers, and lawn and landscape management professionals. Locate an MNLA member near you.

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This web site is provided as a service to consumers by members of the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association ( MNLA)