March 30, 2022
Selecting a landscape contractor

Hiring a landscape professional: Guide for homeowners

Experts agree: landscaping is a top investment to enhance your home’s value. Beyond that, green spaces also improve your family’s lifestyle. A new landscape can give your family new opportunities to spend outdoor time together, while also making a positive impact on the environment. 

Have you put off looking into hiring professional landscape help? Do you perhaps lack confidence, or doubt your ability to ask the right questions?

Your first stop toward a solution should be a the tools and resources available on this website that will help you make an informed decision. Once you have selected a few prospects, the rating guide suggests some specifics to help you find the right company for your unique needs.

Use the search tool at to find a landscape professional in your area:


Company A: ___________________________________

Company B: ___________________________________

Company C: ___________________________________

Criteria/explanation   Company scores
Proof of workers’ compensation insurance Mandatory: Rate 5 or 0 only A B C
Landscape contractors are required by law to pay WSIB premiums on behalf of their employees in the event of a workplace injury. Ask to see a Certificate of Clearance.      
Proof of liability insurance Mandatory: Rate 5 or 0 only A B C
All contractors should carry liability insurance to protect themselves and their clients from the expense of any unforeseen workplace incidents that might cause damage to your own or neighbouring properties. Ask to see a Certificate of Insurance.      
Supplier references Rate 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) A B C
By ensuring that the contractor regularly pays material suppliers in accordance with standard trade terms, you can protect yourself from creditor liabilities. Depending on the size of the project, it is advisable to obtain up to three supplier references.      
Contract Rate 1 to 5 A B C
A written and signed contract protects the interests of both homeowners and contractors. Contracts should clearly stipulate details such as payment schedules, start dates, and the complete scope of the project.      
Warranty Rate 1 to 5 A B C
The terms and conditions of the contractor’s warranty should be clearly spelled out in writing and should specify if the workmanship is warranted and for how long and the length of the guarantee on materials.      
Client references Rate 1 to 5 A B C
Whether the contractor you are considering is capable of handling your project can best be determined by asking for references from up to three recent clients.      
Human resources Rate 1 to 5 A B C
The number of employees, including supervisors, should be adequate for the size of the project.      
Employee experience, education and certification Rate 1 to 5 A B C
Determine the level of training and experience of key and supervisory personnel. Post secondary degrees, apprenticeship program participation or certification through the Landscape Industry Certified program are all indicators of skilled, committed employees.      
Equipment resources Rate 1 to 5 A B C
Contractors should have adequate equipment resources to complete jobs efficiently.      
Scope of expertise (including sub-contractors) Rate 1 to 5 A B C
Determine which specific disciplines are required for your project. The company should be skilled in all aspects or use reputable sub-contractors.      
Years in business Rate 1 to 5 A B C
How many years has the company been in business under its current name?      
Company profile Rate 1 to 5 A B C
Does the company project a professional image? Are its trucks and equipment clean and well cared for?      
Association membership Rate 1 to 5 A B C
An accreditation procedure is part of Landscape Ontario’s membership application process. Members of Landscape Ontario are required to follow a Code of Ethics and a Code of Conduct. Association membership indicates a company’s commitment to professionalism.      
TOTALS Tip: A perfect score is 65
Any total less than 49
indicates a score
below 75 per cent

Why hire a Landscape Ontario member?
Landscape Ontario members are dedicated to improving lives through the joys and benefits of horticulture. Commitment to high ethical standards is part of membership, and members strive to elevate the green profession to benefit homeowners and the trade alike.

About Landscape Ontario
Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association is one of the most vibrant associations of its kind, with over 3,000 members, nine sector groups and nine local chapters. Its trade mission is to promote the horticulture profession in Ontario, and its public mission is to promote the joys and benefits of green spaces.

This contractor rating tool is just one of Landscape Ontario’s efforts to ensure that you — the consumer — enjoy good experiences when you deal with member companies. We find the best way to achieve that goal is through competence, integrity and fairness.