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choosing a contractor

1. How much money should I spend to landscape my property?

Typically the average house owner should spend around 10% of their property value to landscape. This value will vary depending on budget, quality of materials and the amount of landscaping requested.

2. Who regulates the industry?

There is no functioning body which regulates the landscaping construction industry.  The "Better Business Bureau" is the only independent 3rd party body which will help you choose a credible and ethical company.

3. What to look for in a contractor?

Accredited since 1989, A+ Rating- How long have they been consistently working and involved in the industry?
- Do they seem to know their craft?
- Do they have any credentials relevant to the construction trade?
- Are they a licensed company?
- Are they insured and bonded? If a contractor doesn't have a business license, they are not allowed to collect a deposit.
- Are they registered with the WCB? If not, the homeowner can be responsible for any worker injuries. This includes any Critical care and Disability injuries which occure on site. This is essential as accidents will happen and unfortunate situations do occur. Your money and best interests should be protected at all times.
- Are they involved with 3rd party organizations, such as: Better Business Bureau, Calgary Horticulture Society, Alberta Construction & Safety Association, LANTA, etc.
- Always check for References, References, References. Check to see if they've done any work in your area and look at the finished product. Any respectable contractor will have a portfolio of their work, ask to see it.
- Do they warranty their work? How long is the warranty?
- Try and assess the level of professionalism. Are they on time? Are they dressed appropriately? Do they use current equipment?

4. When should I plan to do my landscaping?

Typically, one should plan their landscaping towards the end of January. This will give you enough time to assess your needs and the needs of the property. Early spring is a good time to research and look for a contractor. Give yourself lots of time to project plan for the summer months and build before the end of the fall season.

5. Where can I find these contractors?

The best place to check contractors is during the Calgary Home and Garden Show and during the Calgary Horticulture Show. Both trade shows take place late winter/early spring.

6. Why Almac?

We are members with the BBB, CHS, ACSA. We teach courses at the Calgary Board of Education and have taught instructional seminars at Burnco. Our staff is well trained and qualified. Our equipment is current and well maintained. We are insured, licensed, and bonded. Our work is warrantied, a 3year guarantee is offered on all hard construction. Clients are consistantly impressed with our level of professionalism and courteous nature. When a project is started, the team will not leave until the project is completed. We have been in business since 1985, Over 25 years! We have numerous references and have done work all over the Calgary area, ranging from $2,000 in value to $200,000.
Almac can create "curb appeal". A well designed yard can raise the value of your property. You will appreciate it more and take advantage of it on a regular basis.

Common mistakes and some helpful hints.

- Know what materials are appropriate for your project. Alberta's climate and geographical location has a major influence on various materials and construction techniques.

- Know your property and construction limitations.  Many communities have architectural guidelines which must be followed.  City bylaws and construction codes need to be maintained and enforced when doing work on your property.

- Call before you dig. Alberta 1 Call is a free service, they will mark out the various utility lines located on your property. This can save you money and possibly prevent any injury that you may sustain when working in your yard.

- Use the right tools.  This saves time and effort.

- Elevation and slope.  The higher your property is when compared to your neighbors, the better.  You want to encourage the flow of water AWAY from your house.  Water which does not drain away can "pool" and create extensive damage.  Many projects have been ruined as a result of water not being able to flow away.

- Work with you neighbor, as many projects requires co-operation from both parties.  Also, they may be able to share on the cost of a joint project.

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