- Author: Help Desk Team
Master Gardeners have many clients whose gardens need work beyond the standard mowing, leaf blowing and hedge trimming, such as a new design, nursing an older garden back to health, improving existing irrigation, or doing heavier chores. Since the Contra Costa Master Gardener organization does not make site visits nor perform garden maintenance, our goal is to provide you with options to help you find what you need.
Prior to starting your search for garden assistance, take the time to clearly define the entire scope of your project. Knowing exactly what you need from someone will help to assure that you find the best fit.
Depending on the type of help you desire and the scope of your project, online organizations maintain lists of qualified professionals you can call. Many of the following resource organizations have professionals who are qualified to help with more than just one aspect of garden development and care.
Rescape California is a San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable landscaping. Qualified landscape professionals must complete a comprehensive training program and use sustainable practices.
California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) is a nonprofit trade organization of licensed landscape and landscape-related contractors and professionals
Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour is a local (Alameda & Contra Costa Counties) organization that seeks to educate and encourage the use of California native plants in home gardens. The organization provides contact information for landscape professionals whose gardens have been featured in the annual tours.
Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) is an organization that “encourages all members to adhere to a code of professional standards, to actively participate in continuing education, and to be current with state-of-the-art developments and trends throughout the field”.
American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is the national professional association for landscape architects. Landscape architects typically hold a degree in landscape architecture, covering a broad range including design, planning, grading and drainage, construction, and horticulture.
Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) graduates have been trained in water-wise landscape practices including plant selection, irrigation system design and water management. QWEL maintains an online list of certified professionals in the East Bay. While the website lists all professionals under the category of non-residential, many perform residential services.
International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) has a searchable database of certified arborists who are professional tree care providers knowledgeable in the care needed to sustain a tree's life. Their website also has resources showing how to properly care for trees in the urban environment.
And of course, you can ask friends and family for recommendations. Social media such as Nextdoor are also a good place to ask your neighbors.
If you know the maintenance requirements of plants in your yard, you may feel more comfortable hiring someone less skilled to whom you can provide direction. If you know the name of your plant, search the internet for the care it requires. Focus on resources that are reliable like nurseries, growers, horticultural organizations, and, of course, Master Gardeners.
Before you hire someone, contact several potential companies or individuals to ascertain their skills, scope of work, and price before deciding. Check for their business license and proof of insurance as well.
Help Desk of the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County (SEH)