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Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Landscaper in the City of Denver
A well-landscaped home in Denver will yield up to 20 percent more than a home with no landscaping. However, for your landscape to come out appealing, you will need to hire a professional Landscaper in the city. Note, hiring a qualified landscaper will not only guarantee an improved property's outlook, but also saves you from the potential hazards of DIY landscaping.
Before hiring a landscaper in Denver, you should ask the following questions to ensure you hire the best hand for the job:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Landscaper in the City of Denver?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Landscapers in the City of Denver?
- Do You Comply with the City of Denver Landscape Ordinance?
- Will You Get the Landscaping Permit Required as per the City of Denver Code?
- What Kind of Landscaping Services Do You Offer?
- What are the Best Types of Grass for Lawns in the City of Denver?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Landscapers in the City of Denver?
- How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Landscaper in the City of Denver
Any Landscapers who wish to install landscape irrigation connected to a greywater treatment works system or green roof vegetation in Denver must obtain a contractor license from the Denver Department of Community Planning and Development. A landscaping company who installs irrigation systems without a contractor license commits a violation punishable with a fine of up to $999 or a jail term of not more than 300 days.
Interested individuals must first apply for a supervisor certificate to be issued a contractor license. A Landscaper must apply for a Specialty Class D Certificate, which is a type of supervisor certificate. To be eligible for this certificate, applicants must have two years of field experience as a Landscaper and must provide a notarized letter to show what, when, and where they gained the experience. In addition, the applicant must complete an Affidavit of Lawful Presence as proof of legal residence in the city. Applicants who meet the requirement can complete an application online via the Department's e-permits platform. The applicant must ensure they upload all the above-stated documents and a notarized copy of their secure and verifiable identification as listed on the affidavit of lawful presence. Alternatively, the applicants can complete a supervisor certificate application form and must ensure they write the full title of the specific certificate they are applying for on the title line. The applicant can then send the completed form and other necessary documents via mail to:Community Planning and Development
Attention: Contractor Licensing
201 W. Colfax Avenue,
Denver, CO 80202
Applicants also have the option of submitting the completed form and all necessary documentation in person by visiting the contractor licensing counter on the 2nd floor Wellington Webb Municipal Office Building located at the address provided above on Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4: 00 p.m. The Department will review the application, and if approved, the applicants will be notified via mail to pay the requisite certificate application fee of $250 to the city's Department of Community Planning and Development.
A Landscaper with a supervisor certificate can then apply for a contractor license. The applicant must complete a supervisor statement of responsibility form as a legal supervisor certificate holder. The applicant must then compile the secretary of state documents according to the applicant's operating status. Note that if the applicant is a sole proprietor using a trading name or an individual using a personal name, they must fill out and notarize an Affidavit of Lawful Presence and upload a notarized copy of their secure and verifiable identification as listed on the affidavit when applying. After gathering all necessary documentation, the applicant can complete an application via the Department's e-permits platform. Alternatively, the applicants can complete and submit a contractor license application form and other necessary documents via mail or in person at the Denver Department of Community Planning and Development address provided above. Applicants must pay the requisite contractor licensing fee when submitting their application. Upon due review of the application by the Department of Community Planning and Development, successful applicants will be issued a license card.
You can direct your queries regarding contractor licensing procedures and requirements to the Department of Community Planning and Development at (720) 865-2770. You can also verify if your intended Landscaper possesses a valid contractor license by utilizing this Department's online verify a contractor's license portal.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Landscapers in the Denver area earn an average wage of $18 per hour. How much your Landscaper will charge is usually influenced by several factors, which include:
- The nature and scope of the landscaping service.
- The cost of materials required to carry out this service
- The labor intensity of the project
- Level of experience of the Landscaper.
Some Landscapers charge a flat fee for landscaping services, while others utilize a square footage billing structure. As such, it is advisable to get bids and estimates from at least three Landscapers in Denver to compare costs and get a fair assessment of how much your planned projects may cost you. Also, it helps you eliminate any landscape contractor that may be trying to overcharge above the average cost of services charged by Landscapers near you.
A landscaper in Denver earns an average wage of $37,580, annually. The table below provides a cost comparison of the average hourly wages of landscaping and groundskeeping workers in Denver against individuals across the rest of Colorado and other major American cities:
The Denver Zoning Code regulates land use and stipulates the general design standard to be used when carrying out landscaping activities in the city. Some of the standards include:
- Establish an attractive landscaped edge and screening adjacent to street right-of-way and residential.
- Promote and enhance the community's appearance as viewed from the public realm. Improve site permeability and reduce stormwater runoff.
- Incorporate required water quality and stormwater management features into the overall site and landscape design in an attractive way and a positive part of an integrated landscape design.
- Mitigate visual impacts on surrounding properties, open spaces, and public rights-of-way arising from roof-top mechanical equipment, outdoor storage of materials and waste, surface parking lots, and other similar outdoor uses and activities.
Before hiring a landscaping company in the City of Denver, you should ensure that the Landscaper is well versed with the city's Zoning Code, especially the sections that will apply to your planned project. Non-conformance with the Zoning Code is a violation that can result in city-imposed civil and criminal penalties like payment of a fine, not more than $900, and a jail term of up to 300 days or both. Apart from hiring a conversant landscape contractor, it would be best if you also contact the Denver Development Services Department at (720) 865-2720 and (720) 865-2790 to make general inquiries regarding the city's Zoning Code and how it applies to landscape activities intended for your project.
Individuals planning any exterior projects involving landscaping in Denver must apply for zoning construction permits before they can be issued a building permit. The Denver Development Services Department (DSD) is responsible for issuing zoning construction permits in the city. The permits are issued to ensure that the intended project complies with all zoning requirements.
Before commencing your application, it is advisable to confirm if your planned project is allowed in your zone district. You can use the Denver Zoning map to look up the zoning district for your property. If the project is allowed within the zoning district, the applicants can download and complete the Zoning Construction Permit Project Guide (#CP-01) application form. Applicants can also use the project guide to determine which plans are required for the plan review and what information must be included. It is important to note that applicants need to submit only one plan set if a plan is required for the project. Lastly, a written project narrative must be attached to the application stating the following:
- Name of business.
- Scope of work.
- Hours of operation.
- Type of activities.
- How they plan to address any use limitations found in Article 11 of the Denver Zoning Code.
Once all documents have been compiled and the application form duly completed, the applicant can send it via email with "New Zoning Application" in the subject line. However, applicants submitting a building permit alongside their zoning permits may submit their complete application package and other documents electronically through the department's e-permits portal. Alternatively, the applicants can send the application via mail to:Development Services/Zoning New Applications
201 West Colfax Avenue,
Denver, CO 80202
Once the application is received, the applicants will be contacted via phone or email to acknowledge receipt of their application and receive instructions on how to make payment of requisite license fees. Note that applicants must pay all fees before the project is assigned to a reviewer. The applicant will be issued a zoning permit if the application is approved. Note that during the project, the city's Development Services Department official will carry out inspections to ensure land use for landscaping activities conforms with the Zoning Code and permit issued. You can direct your zoning construction permit questions to the city's Development Services Department at (720) 865-3000.
Confirming if your intended Landscaper specializes in your intended project is an important step you must take before hiring them. Landscapers in Denver offer various services to residents, including landscape design, installation, maintenance, lawn mulching, landscape renovation, fertilizer, weed, pest management, hardscape, and softscape construction. Considering how many services a landscaping company can provide, it is always good to confirm if the landscaper can offer the specific services you need and if they have the equipment to carry out satisfactory work. To do this, you can request a reference from past clients to confirm their professionalism and work portfolios to review similar work. In addition, you should also get a clear estimate of what your intended Landscaper will be charging you for the projects. The cost estimates of some common landscaping services provided by Landscapers in Denver are listed below:
The climate in Denver is cold and temperate, with a significant amount of rainfall annually and temperatures average at 48 degrees. This is why most grasses that thrive in Denver are cool-season grasses because they are drought tolerant and durable. The following grasses are some of the top choices in Denver:
- Tall fescue
- Fine fescue
- Kentucky bluegrass
- Perennial ryegrass
- Blue grama
Each grass has its unique characteristics and requirements, so it can sometimes be hard to know what will work best for your property. As such, you should consult with a professional Landscaper to pick the most suitable grass for your property. You can find a qualified Landscaper near you in Denver by utilizing online resources like the Better Business Bureau website and the National Association of Landscape Professionals' online directory. Ensure you verify the licensing status of any landscape contractor you find via these resources before hiring them. You can use the verify a contractor's license portal provided by the Department of Community Planning and Development to confirm the licensing status of your intended Landscaper.
Over 116 fatal on-the-job injuries were recorded among landscaping and groundskeeping workers in 2020, and more than 100 deaths can be attributed to landscaping accidents in the country annually. Landscapers are susceptible to work-related injuries like overhead power lines, falling branches, and faulty safety equipment. This makes it essential for you to hire only an insured landscaper. Hiring an insured Landscaper shields you from incurring any legal or financial liabilities in the event of any injury leading to bodily injury or property damage during your project. Even though Landscapers are not mandated to carry general liability insurance in Denver, you should make sure you request a copy of your intended landscaper's insurance certificate. You can verify the validity of the insurance certificate by contacting the relevant insurance provider.
In September 2020, a Denver contractor was charged with several counts of felony theft after allegedly scamming elderly homeowners between $3,000 to $20,000 after a hurricane storm. The contractor hired salespeople to go door-to-door soliciting and have the homeowners sign off their first insurance settlement check to the contractor. Unfortunately, Denver's landscaping and other home improvement scams may not be easily avoided. This is why you should look out for the following signs that fraudulent Landscapers in the city may exhibit:
- Unsolicited offers of lawn inspections.
- Utilizing high-pressure tactics to get you to make decisions on the spot without carrying out due diligence.
- Requesting large down payments or full payments in cash before commencing work.
- Reluctant to provide contractor license or provide a reference from the previous client.
Since figuring out a fraudulent Landscaper may not be the most straightforward process, you can take the following steps before hiring them to avoid financial losses or the landscape contractor abandoning work midway:
- Request for references from your Landscaper. The landscaper should provide contact information for at least three past clients. Ensure you call each of them to inquire about the landscaper's services and professionalism.
- Be wary of Landscapers and other individuals that offer door-to-door unsolicited landscaping services.
- Get at least three bids from different Landscapers. It helps you compare prices and reduces your chances of paying for a more costly service and poor workmanship.
- Always take your time to evaluate your options. Before hiring a Landscaper for your intended project, you can also seek second opinions from friends, family, neighbors, and other trusted sources.
- Insist on a written and detailed contract that states the obligation of the Landscaper, including the commencement date of the project, materials to be used, and expected completion date.
- Avoid payment of cash. Instead, use payment methods that allow you to keep receipts to serve as proof when disputing charges.
- Limit upfront payment to 10% of the job's total cost. Ensure you only pay the balance after certifying the work is satisfactory.
- Keep records of the documentation of the completed work, warranty, receipts, and invoices.
- Require the Landscaper to apply for a zoning construction permit for each project that requires a permit.
- Always confirm that your intended Landscaper has been duly licensed by the Denver Department of Community Planning and Development.
If you believe you have been a victim of a Landscaper scam, you can contact the Denver District Attorney's Office fraud hotline at (720) 913-9179. Confirmed or suspected landscaping scams can also be filed with the Colorado Attorney General's Office. To file a complaint, you must complete an online complaint form provided by the Attorney General's Office. Lastly, you can claim damages from the contractor by filing a lawsuit with the Denver County 2nd Judicial District Court. It is always good to consult a lawyer to know all your available legal options before filing an action. You can use the find a lawyer directory provided by the Colorado Bar Association to find a licensed lawyer near you.