What is Custom Contract Growing and is it Right for You?

When availability and quality matters

What exactly is a custom growing contract? It's an agreement between a landscape grower and anyone who wishes to secure grown trees and plant material for future projects.

The beauty of these contracts is the security of knowing that when building is completed, the landscape will already be there to complement it. Having the landscape in place from the start makes good economic sense.

But is a custom growing contract right for you and your project? The following information will help.

The Benefits of a Custom Growing Contract

Having a custom growing contract in place with a trusted tree/plant material grower offers several benefits. First, you can rest assured that whatever trees and plant material are specified by your landscape architect will be available when needed, which, given reduced inventories at nurseries post-recession, is key.

Second, by contracting with an experienced, reputable grower, you also get the peace of mind that comes with knowing you will be getting quality plant material and trees. Third, any special requests concerning the shape or size of the tree, shrub, or plant material can be implemented, again ensuring that you'll get what the architect envisioned.

Finally, in addition to saving valuable time and avoiding potential headaches, you'll also have a guaranteed price as part of the contract, which makes budgeting, bidding, and project cost control easier.

Who Uses Custom Growing Contracts and Why

Property owners, developers, and municipalities use custom growing contracts because they want the assurance of availability and pricing prior to selection of a landscape contractor. Knowing the trees will be available eliminates one risk factor for construction delays. In addition, knowing the price ahead of time makes it easier to price the rest of the project. Being able to get quality trees is typically another top consideration for owners, developers, and municipalities.

Landscape architects use custom growing contracts as a way to achieve the desired look they envision for a new development. The architect can pre-select all of the trees and then specify the use of the growing contract as part of the construction bid documents. This allows the landscape architect to influence the quality of the finished project, which doesn’t go unnoticed.

Since the landscape architect typically completes his design well in advance of the landscape contractor selection, a custom growing contract enables trees and plant material to be maturing to the desired size until needed for construction. In addition, the architect has the opportunity to give input on how the trees are grown and maintained. 

Finally, for landscape architects who want to specify an unusually large quantity of trees or specific hard-to-find varieties of trees or plants, knowing that the quantity, size, and quality will be there reduces any worries about meeting construction deadlines or having to compromise their original design vision.

Assess Your Project and Decide

Now that you know the ins and outs of custom growing contracts, is such an arrangement right for your project? There are many elements to consider.