Thinking about having landscaping installed? If so, you'll want to
make sure it thrives not just survives. When you hire a landscaping pro, insist on an itemized bid indicating how much is allotted for each kind of work. Tear-out, demolition and removal is one aspect. Irrigation, plants and labor are numbers two, three and four. Break that out as well. That way you can gauge individual costs and decide if you want to do any portion yourself. Many do not know that a maintenance period after completion is standard. During that time -- usually about 30 days -- plants that die or fail to thrive are to be replaced, and brown patches in lawns due to incomplete sprinkler coverage are all to be fixed at the contractor's expense. Have a clear understanding of when the job ends and the maintenance period begins. Also hold back a portion of the final payment until the maintenance period ends satisfactorily. And that's the On The House Tip for today.