Frequently Asked Questions
Q: In what areas do you operate?
A: We offer our services to all of San Luis Obispo county. We do landscaping in San Luis Obispo, Los Osos, Morro Bay, Cambria, Paso Robles, Atascadero, Templeton, Arroyo Grande, Nipomo, and surrounding areas.
Q: How do I get an estimate for my project?
A: You can call or email us to set up an initial consultation(Contact Us). Most of the time we will first want to have a brief chat with you over the phone to learn about your project and see if we would be a good fit for each other. If it sounds like we could help you, we’ll schedule an on-site consultation. During the on-site consultation we will evaluate the site and your needs. From there, we can provide you with an estimate for your project and discuss the next steps.
Q: Why is professional landscaping important?
A: The benefits of landscaping are numerous. The most obvious benefit is to have a beautiful environment to live, relax, and entertain in. Other benefits include reduced heating and cooling costs, water conservation, cleaner air, lower stress levels, more privacy, noise reduction, benefits to the environment, and increased home value.
Q: I’m concerned about water use, can I still have a landscape?
A: Yes you can. At Greener Environments, we are very aware of the water issues facing California. We specialize in designing and installing landscapes for water conservation. We are certified Watershed Wise Landscapers, EPA Certified Irrigation Auditors, and are an American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) Accredited Associate. We have written numerous articles on water conservation, given seminars, and developed the GREEN Landscapes program in order to educate people on how to implement water efficient and environmentally beneficial landscapes. You can rest assured that we can create an incredibly beautiful and low water use landscape for your home or business
Q: How much does Landscaping cost?
A: Well, the answer is that it can vary quite a bit from one project to the next. There are many factors that go into the final price of a job. We like to refer people to an article we wrote called “How Much Does Landscaping Cost?”. The article gives a good overview of the factors that impact the price and some typical price ranges for different types of jobs. Keep in mind that every landscape is unique and your final cost will be determined by your specific needs for your space and the details of the final design.
Q: What plants will work the best for my yard?
A: We always recommend to primarily use plants that are native to our area. They are perfectly adapted for our specific climate and soils. By selecting native plants, your landscape will need less water and maintenance, while providing habitat for native species of insects, birds, and other wildlife. The good news is that California has an abundance of beautiful and diverse native plants to choose from.
We also believe it is perfectly acceptable to use a certain amount of non-native plants that are well adapted to our climate. These plants are from other regions of the world with Mediterranean climates like ours. While these plants will typically grow well here, we encourage the use of natives to make up the majority of the plant selection.
If you prefer the look of plants from other Mediterranean climates, and would like to use a lot of those plants in your landscape, it’s best to choose a theme for your design and use mostly plants from one region. For example, if you like South African plants a lot, but also like the look of California natives, it’s best to choose one or the other and make the plant selection primarily around that theme. Your landscape will look more cohesive and aesthetically pleasing.
Q: Do you use weed mat?
A: No, not the kind that is conventionally used. There are two main reasons for this. First, it doesn’t work like it’s supposed to and the second reason is that it decreases or eliminates the permeability of water and organic matter into the soil. Instead, when a weed barrier is appropriate for the space, we roll out a biodegradable layer of unbleached paper and cover it with a thick layer of mulch. The paper barrier smothers out weeds while the landscape is being established, but doesn’t stick around to cause problems later on. For a thorough explanation of the issues with weed mat and our techniques, see our article “The Trouble with Landscape Fabric”.
Q: What do you recommend for ground cover?
A. We recommend the use of organic bark mulch as much as possible. There are sections of the landscape that we may use rock, gravel, or another material, but we prefer to use bark mulch or a living groundcover because it biodegrades into the soil which increase soil health. The health of the soil is directly related to the health of your plants, how fast they will grow, how good they will look, and how much water they will need. Furthermore, healthy soil stores carbon, increases biodiversity, filters pollutants, and increases the amount of rainwater that permeates back into our groundwater reservoirs.
Q: Will I need maintenance?
A: A little bit, at least. While some require more than others, there’s no such thing as a completely maintenance free landscape. Our landscapes are generally very low maintenance, but inevitably there will be some weeds and some pruning that need to be taken care of from time to time. That said, you won’t be spending all your weekends outside doing yard work. Just a little bit of time and effort here and there will generally keep everything looking nice. For most of our landscapes, we recommend a seasonal check up to make sure the irrigation system is working properly and to take care of any pruning or other seasonal clean-up work that needs to be done.
Q: Can I do my project in phases?
A: Certainly, talk to us about your budget and priorities and we will come up with a plan to install your landscape in logical phases.
Q: How soon can I get my landscape installed?
A: It can vary quite a bit depending on our current workload. Sometimes we book up for several months in advance and sometimes we can get your landscape installed much quicker. Give us a call to see what the current wait time is.
Q: How long does a landscape installation take?
A: On average, it takes about 2 weeks to complete the installation phase of the project. Of course, this is entirely dependent on the scope of work. If your project is more extensive, it will take longer. Smaller installations can be done very quickly, sometimes in even less than a week.
Q: What types of Rainwater Harvesting Systems do you install?
A: We install both active and passive rainwater catchment systems. Active systems use a tank or cistern to capture and store rain. In a passive system, the rainwater is directed straight into the landscaping and the earth is shaped in such a way as to spread the water and allow it to provide the plants with extra precipitation during the rainy season. To learn more about how you can use rainwater, see our article “3 Ways to Use Rainwater Catchment at Your Home”.
Q: It doesn’t rain much around here, will rainwater catchment work?
A: It absolutely will. In fact, it’s because it doesn’t rain much around here that makes it so important to use rainwater in your landscaping. We need to maximize the use of the rain that we do get instead of letting it flow off into the storm drains. Even a small 1,000 square foot roof will yield over 600 gallons of water for every inch of rain.
Q: How long will my design take?
A: On average, 2-3 weeks. It can be quicker or take longer depending on the scope of the project, our workload, and the number of revisions that need to be made to the initial design. Feel free to contact us at any time to get an update on the progress of your design.
Q: What do I get with my design?
A: All designs come with a digital copy of an overhead plan, a conceptual model of the design with multiple perspective views, and a video walkthrough of the conceptual model. Your design will also include a full plant list, a proposal that includes the details of the work that will be involved in executing the installation of the design, and a cost sheet.
Q: What if I hate my design?
A: No need to worry about that. If you don’t like it, we’ll simply go back to the drawing board and make a new one. During the design process we ask specific questions and consult with you in order to get a good idea of what you envision for your space. We welcome photos of other landscapes you admire and any other input you’d like to provide. On the other hand, if you have no idea what you want and would rather have us provide you with a design based off of our professional opinion and ideas for the space, that’s perfectly fine as well.
Either way, we’ll continue to work with you until you are fully satisfied with your design.
Q: Can you include all of the plants I like?
A: Possibly, but keep in mind that while the individual plants may look amazing, that doesn’t mean they will go well together in a design. Part of the designer’s job is knowing what plants will look good together once they are installed in a landscape. Even if all of the plants fit within a theme (see the question above on which plants will work best for your yard), the designer will know which colors, textures, shapes, and sizes will look good together. It’s important to keep this in mind because it can be tempting to just include all the plants you like but that can sometimes end up making it look less visually appealing.
Q: What is a GREEN Landscape Certification?
A: Greener Environments developed the GREEN Landscapes program as an initiative to provide a framework for developing landscapes that conserve our resources and have a beneficial impact on our environment on multiple levels.
The GREEN Landscapes Initiative is an educational tool as well as a way for homeowners, businesses, and public agencies to officially show their dedication to the environment by having their outdoor space be GREEN Landscape Certified.
The certification involves an application and site review before the certification is awarded. Homeowners that are awarded a certification receive a framed certificate, yard sign, tickets to the annual GREEN Homeowners Dinner, and our monthly GREEN Newsletter.
Businesses receive a framed certificate, yard sign, GREEN marketing materials, and entry into the annual GREEN Landscape Awards.
To learn more about what constitutes a GREEN Landscape, see our article “What is a GREEN Landscape?”.
Q: Do you offer financing?
A: Yes we do. We offer low interest, 100% financing through YGrene, which is a lender that helps people make energy and water efficient upgrades to their home or business using the equity in your property. Payments stay with the property and the application process is easy. You can learn more at https://ygreneworks.com/.
Q: Where can I learn more about sustainable landscaping techniques and values?
A: Head over to our blog at https://greenerenvironments.net/blog/ to see all of our articles with helpful info, tips, and techniques for landscaping on the Central Coast and beyond. Also be sure to check our events page to find an upcoming workshop or presentation.
Q: Are you licensed and insured?
A: Yes, we are fully licensed and insured. We are licensed by the state of California as C-27 landscape contractors. Our license number is 1001215. We carry adequate and up to date liability, workers compensation, property, and automobile insurance.