loading Loading, please wait...

Get Quotes from Top Landscapers in Philadelphia, PA

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

Hiring a qualified Landscaper is one home improvement investment that can easily increase your property's curb appeal and market value by up to 15 percent in Philadelphia. When you are contracting a landscaper in the city, ensure the professional is conversant with the Landscaping requirements of the Philadelphia Zoning Code.

However, before retaining the services of any landscaper in Philadelphia, ensure to follow these tips to pick the most competent landscaper:

Are You Licensed to Practice as a Landscaper in the City of Philadelphia?

Per the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA), landscaper contractors offering home improvement services between $5,000 to $50,000,0000 to private residential homes must register with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. It is unlawful for a Landscaper to offer home improvement services without registering with the Attorney General's Office. Such violation will constitute a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on how much was paid to the erring landscaper. To be registered with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, interested individuals can complete an application online. Alternatively, they can complete and submit an application form to the mailing address indicated in the form. In addition, applicants must accompany their completed form with a $50 non-refundable processing fee. If the application is successful, the Attorney General's Office will register the Landscaper. Before hiring your intended landscape contractor, It is advisable to verify their registration status by utilizing the Verify Contractor Registration tool maintained by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. For more information regarding the registration process, you can contact the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General at (888) 520-6680.

If your intended Landscaper is applying pesticide, the landscaper must possess a commercial applicator pesticide certification issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. To obtain this certification, applicants must pass one core exam and one category exam administered through the PaPlants website. Successful applicants must then attend training programs to maintain the certification. You can confirm if your intended landscaper possesses the certification via the Pesticide Business/Applicator Lookup tool provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Meanwhile, landscape architects who wish to offer services in Philadelphia must be duly licensed by the Pennsylvania Board of Landscape Architects (BLA) of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA). To be issued licenses, interested individuals must obtain a pre-approval from BLA online to complete the Landscape Architect Registration Exam (LARE) administered by the Council of Landscape Architects Registration Boards (CLARB). In addition, applicants must meet the eligibility requirement, which includes providing proof of a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture and two years of experience obtained under the supervision of a design professional. Eligible applicants can sit for the exams, and if successful, they must transmit their exam results and pay a licensing processing fee of $60 to BLA to be issued a landscape architects license. Note that it is considered misconduct for a landscape architect to perform work without a license, and such a landscape architect will be subject to disciplinary action. To avoid hiring an unlicensed landscape architect, you can verify the licensing status via the Verify License portal provided by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs.

How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Landscapers in the City of Philadelphia?

Landscapers in the City of Philadelphia charge an average of $16.87 per hour for their services. What influences how much a Landscaper charges include the size of the property, the nature of landscaping work, and the workforce required for the proposed project. Before hiring a Landscaper, it is advisable to get estimates from at least three Landscapers to compare your proposed landscape project budget and avoid being overcharged for the project.

A landscaper in Philadelphia earns an average wage of $35,090, annually. The table below provides a cost comparison of the average hourly wages of landscaping and groundskeeping workers in Philadelphia against other individuals across the rest of Pennsylvania and other major American cities:

Philadelphia Landscapers Hourly Average Wage
Pennsylvania Landscapers Hourly Average Wage
New York City Landscapers Hourly Average Wage
Boston Landscapers Hourly Average Wage
Detroit Landscapers Hourly Average Wage
Chicago Landscapers Hourly Average Wage
Houston Landscapers Hourly Average Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do You Comply with the City of Philadelphia Landscape Ordinance?

When hiring a Landscaper in Philadelphia, you must ensure the landscaper is well versed with the Philadelphia Zoning Code. The Zoning Code regulates the development and use of landscape within the city to improve its physical, economic, and aesthetic environment. The Code stipulates the minimum standard to be used when carrying out landscaping work in the city to ensure the protection of public health, safety, and welfare. Hiring a knowledgeable and qualified landscape contractor guarantees you will not violate the Code, which may attract city-imposed penalties. As such, in addition to hiring a qualified and conversant Landscaper, you should also carry out your due diligence by directing your queries to the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections. You can contact the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections by submitting an online request to 311 or calling 311 directly.

Will You Get the Landscaping Permit Required as per the City of Philadelphia Code?

Even though there are no specific landscaping permits required for residential landscaping projects in Philadelphia, you may need zoning permits that authorize how you can use the ground within the city boundaries. According to § 14-303(6) of the Philadelphia Zoning Code, no land or building may be constructed, converted, enlarged, or altered for use until a zoning permit has been obtained from the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections.

Determining the property's zoning district is usually the first step in obtaining a zoning permit, and you can rely on the city's Atlas tool to look it up. Once determined, you can apply for the relevant zoning permits applicable to your proposed projects. You can apply online using eCLIPSE, and you can schedule a virtual appointment if you need help filling out the online application. Alternatively, you can apply for the relevant zoning permit in person by booking an appointment to visit the Permit and License Center at:

Permit and License Center
1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
MSB, Public Service Concourse
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Office hours: 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday

Note that the zoning permit application must always include the complete scope of the planned project and the property's current owner information. The applicant must then complete the relevant permit application and submit plans where applicable to L & I. If the city's L & I approves the permit application, the applicant will be issued the requisite permit and zoning permits for their project. Aside from relying on your well-versed Landscaper for information, you can also direct your queries regarding the permit to the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspection by submitting an online request to 311 or calling 311 directly.

What Kind of Landscaping Services Do You Offer?

Landscapers in Philadelphia offer the residents different types of services. These services include landscape design like virtual garden design, landscape installation like hardscape and irrigation installation, and landscape maintenance like pesticide application. Before hiring your intended landscaping company, it is best to know what the landscaper specializes in and if they are the best fit for the work. This is because certain landscaping work requires varying experience, skills, and qualifications. For instance, when hiring a Landscaper to apply pesticides in your home, the landscaper must possess a commercial pesticide applicator certification issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. It is also advisable to know your intended landscaper's work and portfolio before hiring them to confirm your work will be carried out satisfactorily. You should also get a cost estimate of your planned project from your intended landscaper to ensure it is suitable for your budget. Listed below are cost estimates for common landscaping services available to residents of Philadelphia:

Landscape curbing
$700 - $1,700
Landscape design
$460 - $1,000
Lawn mowing & maintenance
$72 - $103 per visit (1 acre)
Fertilizing a lawn
$65 - $145 per application (1 acre)
Garden planning
$75 - $90 per hour.
General Bed Maintenance/Detailing
$30 - $55 per hour
Spring/Fall Clean-up
$192 - $350
$50 - $82 per hour
Irrigation System start-up
$2300 - $5100 (a three to five zone sprinkler system)
$40 - $180 per cubic yard (material and local delivery)
Leaf Removal
$127 to $610 per acre
$1,000 - $2,700
Weed Control
$100 - $260 per visit

What are the Best Types of Grass for Lawns in the City of Philadelphia?

The City of Philadelphia has unpredictable weather that alternates between hot summers and winter. The city is situated in a humid continental climate zone, which means there are higher chances for a higher precipitation rate. This makes Philadelphia weather a suitable one to have a healthy growing season. If you plan to plant your grass during the cool season in Philadelphia, the following are examples of grasses you may consider:

  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Rough bluegrass
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Tall Fescue
  • Fine Fescues

However, if you prefer growing your grass in a warm season, you can consider planting Zoysia.

Picking the suitable grass for your lawn project requires you to carry out a great deal of research. This is why it is best to consult with a professional Landscaper to determine the grass breed suitable for your lawn. You can find a qualified Landscaper online, reputable online directories of the National Association of Landscape Professionals, or third-party websites like Better Business Bureau. Make sure you verify the registration status of your intended landscape contractor via the Verify Contractor Registration tool maintained by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Landscapers in the City of Philadelphia?

Landscaping accounts for an estimated 143,000 severe injuries annually in the country. Landscaping is considered physically demanding work, which makes Landscapers susceptible to many work hazards like slips, trips, falls, equipment accidents, cuts, and amputations. Even though Landscapers are not mandated to carry an active liability insurance policy in Philadelphia, it is best to hire only an insured Landscaper. When you hire a landscape contractor with an active liability insurance policy, it protects you from incurring any financial and legal costs resulting from an on-site injury sustained by your landscaper. As such, in addition to confirming your intended landscaper registration status, you must request a copy of their insurance certificate. You can take further steps by verifying the authenticity of the insurance certificate with the relevant issuing insurance carrier.

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

Before hiring a Landscaper to work on your house landscape, you should first confirm they have the legal right to carry out such work. When you hire a deceptive and illegal contractor, you may face some hardship like shoddy work, the Landscaper leaving the work midway, or collecting full payment without carrying out the work. For instance, in July 2020, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office sued a contractor company for receiving stolen property, advance payments for services and failing to execute it, and theft by deception and conspiracy. Other methods used by these deceptive contractors include:

  • Unsolicited visits
  • Utilizing high-pressure sales tactics
  • Inflated landscaping service cost.
  • Request upfront payment

To avoid falling victim to these fraudulent individuals, you can take the following precautionary steps before hiring any Philadelphia Landscaper near you for your planned project:

  • Avoid any Landscaper doing door-to-door solicitation or trying to pressure you into hiring them for the job.
  • Verify the registration status of your intended Landscaper with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office by using the Verify Contractor Registration tool before hiring the landscaper.
  • Ensure that your intended landscape contractor applying pesticide to your lawn possesses a commercial pesticide applicator certification. You can utilize the Pesticide Business/Applicator Lookup tool provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to verify.
  • Get estimates from at least three Landscapers before settling for the one that suits your budget. Also, doing this helps you avoid being overcharged.
  • Request references from any Landscaper that you intend to hire. Make sure you contact these references to inquire about their work and professionalism. You can also use reputable third-party websites like the Better Business Bureau to check reviews and complaints against your intended contractor.
  • Ensure you execute a written contract if your proposed project cost is more than $500 per the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act. The Contracts must also include a description of the work, the total price of the project, and estimated start and completion dates.
  • Never sign a contract or any document that you do not fully understand.
  • Avoid paying the full contract price upfront. According to the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act, down payment must be only one-third of the total contract price.
  • Never pay the balance of the contract price until you have inspected the work and find it satisfactory.
  • Always keep records of all receipts, invoices, bids, contracts, and other documentation related to the project.

If your hired Landscaper has scammed you or you suspect a fraudulent Landscaper, you can file a report with the Consumer Protection Bureau of the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. You can complete an online complaint form or submit a completed printable complaint form to the address indicated on the top of the form. The state's Attorney General's Office cannot guarantee restitution. So, if you intend to recover your money from the erring Landscaper, you can file a civil claim at the Philadelphia District Court. However, it is advisable to get proper legal advice from a lawyer before filing any legal claims. You can use the lawyer referral services provided by the Philadelphia Bar Association to find active lawyers near you.