How to Choose an Irrigation Contractor

The gloominess of winter is over, the sun is shining and the temperatures are warming. The background color is changing; trees are budding and the grass is becoming the rich green hue you expect. The Summer Season is closely approaching. The worry of your lawn turning brown during the summer season is becoming real once again. You may be thinking, “I want to have rich green grass all summer long”. You have been fertilizing your lawn in previous years, but it still ends up brown with the lack of moisture in the summer. You have decided this is the year to add the moisture your lawn so desperately needs to be beautiful – in the form of an Irrigation System. You may not have the equipment or expertise that is required to install an Irrigation System. You probably need the help of a professional to perform the work and give your grass the water it desires. Choosing a professional for this job isn’t necessarily easy. You want to hire someone that knows what they are doing. I have created this article to help you. Throughout this article, I will discuss the things you should be looking for when Hiring an Irrigation Contractor near New Richmond, Osceola, Amery, Somerset and Hudson WI.

Irrigation Contractor - New Richmond WIThe first thing to look at when deciding on an Irrigation Contractor is their experience. Do they know what they are doing? If the Irrigation Contractor just started his Irrigation company a few years ago and has very little experience installing or repairing systems, you may want to take that into consideration. Do you need more specialized irrigation products such as, drip-line or mister heads in your flower beds or a Lake Pump System that uses Lake Water instead of your well? Do you have a Commercial property you manage, such as a Golf Course or School? You are really going to want someone who can quickly diagnose problems with your system. These problems may include broken wires, faulty decoders for 2 wire systems, faulty or dirty valves, broken joints and/or pipes or problems with the remote controller system. Larger systems often need specialized equipment to be installed and repaired.  Do you really want to risk your hard-earned money on someone who may not give you the trouble-free system you want? Also, do they know how to design a system properly? If they try installing a system with a water source that provides 10 gpm (gallons per minute) and have a zone (consists of individual sprinkler heads) that is 12 gpm then the heads will not water properly or have the pressure to rise above the ground and water at their full distance. This type of improper install happens a lot to customers receiving irrigation installation. Sometimes it happens when the homeowner or business want to save money and go with the “low bidder”.

IIrrigation Contractor - Sub-surface Irrigation Installationrrigation is not the area to “cut costs”. If a system gets designed and installed improperly it can lead to so many different types of problems from not always popping up heads to not watering at all. Having the best Irrigation system in terms of reliability and longevity may come at a higher initial cost, but will pay off quickly in the years to come. The cost of a system often reflects the Irrigation Contractors Experience. An experienced Irrigation Contractor knows that an irrigation system can’t be built cheaply, for example eliminating the number of heads or valves used in the system to save on costs. I have personally witnessed many flaws in irrigation systems, some of which I have just described. You may want to ask the Contractor what other systems they have installed. Referrals allow you to contact some of their customers that have had an Irrigation Installation or Repair work done. A reputable Irrigation Contractor should be able to do this without hesitation; if not it should be a red flag to you.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions about where and how many sprinkler heads they will be installing, for example. This brings me to another point to be made.

Do they just install systems or do they perform repairs and maintenance on Irrigation systems too? You have to remember once a system is installed maintenance needs to be performed on the system at least twice a year. Once for Spring start-up and again for Fall winterization. The Irrigation Contractor you’re considering should have a portable air compressor to “blow-out” the lines and heads before the winter season comes. This allows you to have a contractor that knows your systems inside and out. It also gives you the peace of mind to know that all the water is being taken out of the system so that your pipes, sprinkler heads and backflow preventer doesn’t become broke from freezing temperatures. During the year, there may be repairs needed, for instance if a sprinkler head becomes broke when a lawn mower runs over it. You want to know that your Contractor knows your system well, so the repair is simple and inexpensive for you.

Irrigation Service - Valve Box AssemblyDo you have an existing system that simply needs repair? If you already have an irrigation system, but no longer have a contractor to service it, for whatever that reason may be, then you will definitely want someone with extensive experience. You are going to need someone that can come into the situation and quickly resolve whatever the issue is with the Irrigation System. Finding a knowledgeable Irrigation Contractor in this situation will help you avoid headaches and keep the costs down. They will likely know, for example, if you have a zone of sprinkler heads leaking throughout the day with the system off, that there is debris stuck in the valve of that zone that needs to get cleaned out or replaced.

Another consideration you should take into account is if they are keeping up with the pace of technology in the Irrigation Field. In recent years, the technology of Irrigation has grown because of things such as the internet and WI-FI. You can now have irrigation controllers that can be controlled remotely through a smart phone or computer, in addition to having a standard programmable controller.  Having an Irrigation Contractor with the knowledge how to setup and properly explain how to use this new technology maybe something to take into consideration if you want that kind of control. One of the most important technologies that have come to irrigation is the wireless rain sensor. This device allows you the customer to have the irrigation shut-off automatically when rain is detected. Saving you money on your water bill if you live in town or electricity to run your well if you’re in the country. In more recent years the Irrigation Industry has come out with a more advanced version of this, a wireless soil sensor. It simply inserts into the ground and reads the saturation of the soil through its conductivity probes. It can be moved to various places in the yard on the fly and is small enough that a lawn mower can mow over it without damaging the sensor.Irrigation Contractor - Toro

This simple guide to choosing the best irrigation contractor should put you on the fast track to choosing the best company to serve you. We have discussed in detail to look for their level of experience, consider cost factors, look at the level of service they can give your system and to consider their knowledge in Irrigation technology. These factors will help you find the best contractor. Whether you are looking to have a system Installed, Repaired, Maintained or Replaced we would like to help. We at Lake Kountry, Inc. have the extensive Knowledge, Experience and Equipment needed to serve our Residential and Commercial Irrigation Customers in New Richmond WI, Osceola WI, Amery WI, Somerset WI, Hudson WI, Polk County WI and St Croix County WI.



10 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Landscaper

10 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Landscaper

Finding the right professional contractor for any type of work to be done on a home or business is tough. That can even include finding a professional landscaper. We have heard from many people over the years who have hired companies to perform landscaping but fail to meet their expectations. These people tell us the reasons vary from a lack of knowledge and experience to a wide variety of other reasons. I’m sure you can think of an experience in which you wish you would have done more research prior to hiring for a professional service. This article focuses on how to avoid making that same type of mistake when hiring for landscape projects. Whether your project is a paver patio, fire pit, retaining wall, steps, deck, outdoor kitchen, pond, waterfall, planting bed, lawn seeding, etc. I have put together a list of 10 things you should consider before pulling the trigger with a landscaper.

Let’s start with the basics 1.) Have you heard of the company before? A company’s reputation is often easy to find out these days, whether it be by word-of-mouth or a click of the mouse in the form of online reviews. Just simply ask friends or family if they or anyone they know have dealt with the company. Chances are they have word-of-mouth knowledge that will assist you in your decision. Another thing to explore is the length of time they have been in business. You can once again ask friends or family for this information or turn on the computer and do some research online. Look at their website, assuming that they have one. The absence of one could tell you they are a newer company and maybe aren’t the one you want to take a chance with. There are other sources you can use such as google to find this information. Make sure that you pick someone with at least 15-20 years of experience. This should help to minimize any nuisances that may occur during the completion of your project.

Another thing you may want to consider is the other services offered by the company. This brings me to 2.) What sort of services do they offer? Many people choose a landscaper that does just landscaping. While that may be fine for small jobs, larger jobs could be a problem. Are they going to know about proper drainage techniques to keep water away from your house? I have seen way too many jobs that were performed that have water issues after the work is completed. If the company being considered doesn’t perform excavating as one of their services, they probably don’t know the importance of this for the longevity of both your home and the landscaping being done. Drainage is the most important part of landscaping in my opinion. You want the water to go far away from your house to avoid filling your basement with water or possibly even washing mulch away in your beds during a spring thaw, or a rainfall event. Another thing to consider, do they have enough knowledge in fixing your grass after the work is completed? Many times during the “tear-out” process of landscaping lawns can be ripped up, depending on the severity of the job. You want someone who is going to know how to get seed, sod or hydro-seed to grow quickly in disturbed areas before a rainfall has a chance to wash away your new turf. Choosing a full service company may also be cheaper if they can offer you all the services you are looking for especially for new construction. If you’re looking for excavating, landscaping, seeding and irrigation for a new home it will often be much cheaper to use one company. Plus, you will only have to deal with one person during the completion of the project and not have to be in contact with many companies.

Consider who is doing the actual work on your property or business. Is it 3.) the actual company you are hiring doing the work. Many times the company who is hired is actually just subcontracting the work out to another “guy” or small company. The company you are hiring gets to pocket the extra money while paying the other “guy” less and your more than likely getting subpar results in your project. Hiring a company that actually does the work also benefits you in communication. If you don’t like the way something is getting done or want something changed you can easy change it when the company you hired is on site. If subcontracted out, they will have to contact the contractor and get approval for changes. This could cost you both time and extra money for the completion of your project.

Once you have found a company that doesn’t subcontract the work out, ask yourself 4.) Are the owners involved directly in your project? If you are able to choose a landscaping company where the owners are directly involved in the project, more than likely your project will be a success. They are going to have knowledge and care the most about exceeding your expectations. This is especially true if they have been in business for a long period of time. They may catch something that they don’t like on the project, such as drainage concerns, design concerns, etc. They would then let you know and be able to make corrections quickly and efficiently without going through a long chain of individuals.

Do you feel that 5.) the company is passionate about what they do? A company that is truly passionate about beautifying your outdoor space through landscaping will give the best results. Passion should start with the owners of the company. They should have been very compassionate and eager to transform your space into your vision during the estimate phase. Passion from owners is typically “contagious” to the employees of that company. If you feel that after receiving the estimate, the bidder truly understood and was genuinely excited about completing your project, that should say a lot about the company and its employees. Passionate owners and employees will go out of their way to exceed your expectations. Companies that lack this important trait are going to give rise to less than desired results. They are not going to go out of their way to make sure you get everything you want and more at the completion of your landscaping project.


Another thing that seems to tie all of the previously mentioned considerations is 6.) Do they have a physical location? Are they operating out of a garage or storage unit or do they have a Nursey and/or Garden Center. If the company has a Nursery and/or Garden Center, then visit it before hiring the company. You can find out some of the previous things I have mentioned so far in a short period of time. Are the owners there operating the business? Do you see the owners working alongside of their employees? Do you see passion from the employees? Talk to the employees and ask questions to understand how knowledgeable and passionate they are. How about the cleanliness of the place? Is it clean, neat and very well organized? If the Nursery or Garden Center is all of those things, they are likely going to give you top-notch work on your landscaping project.


While you’re visiting the Garden Center and/or Nursery, if they have one, 7.) find out what sort of supplies they offer. Do they have professional grade supplies? Look at the supplies that will be used during your project, whether that is edging, plastic, fabric, plants, topsoil, mulch, rock, etc. You want to make sure they aren’t supplies from “big box retailers” since these supplies are often very poor in quality, especially edging, plastics and fabrics. If they don’t have a Garden Center or Nursery, then you will either need to use their website if they have one and hope they list supplies on it or talk to them personally. The importance of the product grade comes down to longevity and maintenance. For instance, edging that is Professional “High-Test” is going to resist movement in winter freeze-thaw and be able to take a beating from a lawn mower due to its design and thickness. Fabric and Plastic used under mulch and rock, respectively, also needs to be professional grade. Profession grade will be thicker and be harder for holes to get put in them during both installation and after project completion. A thick product will also prevent weeds under the bed from growing through and making your nice planting bed into a weed bed in the coming years.

Yet another thing to look at while visiting the property or possibly from pictures they may have on their website 8.) how does the vehicles and equipment they own look? How well a company takes care of their vehicles and equipment can tell you a lot about the company. If you can tell that they are kept clean and look to be in great condition. Then they must have pride in not only their vehicles and equipment, but also the work they perform.Excavating_Equipment


Can you find information out easily on the internet? 9.) Do they have a great website? Since the invention of the internet, this has been one of the best sources of information for all information, this includes landscaping. Once you find the website, if they have one then start with basic information. Look at how the company started, who are the key players, etc. Then you should be able to have access to previous work they have done, whether that be from pictures or testimonials from previous customers. You should also be able to see the other services they provide and products they use. While websites can be a great source of information, just remember that the company can put anything on them. You may have to trust your instinct when it comes to deciding if the pictures and information are genuine.

The last and most important consideration: 10.) Do you feel 100% comfortable with the company after reviewing all the above information? You need to have total trust in the company that is going to be performing the landscaping work on your property or business. When you leave for work or leave the house for the day while they are working, do you trust that they can provide you with no headaches when you return home? No one wants to come home to see their new blacktop driveway damaged by an untrained and unsupervised employee attempting to use a piece of equipment or debris and supplies scattered all over your lawn, street and driveway. When the landscaping project is complete, hopefully you will have found this article to be very useful in assisting in your decision to choose the best landscape professional in the area.