I'm watching anxiously to see if the landscaping I've tried to do in our yard over the last five years is going to start fulfilling its promise. I've been working and working to convert what was a boring and half-dead slice of lawn into a perennial garden, planting more or less a random set of bushes and flowers and trees, anything I could get for $2 at one of the discount garden centers around here.
I had to start the project, and finish the project, that way because I didn't think I had the funds or the know-how to hire a landscaper. Then, this morning, I was googling for cheap plants to fill in some of the vacant areas where we ripped out the shed, and I find this atlantalands012 website: E&J Landscaping of Atlanta, with a great-looking website that has all kinds of tips on choosing a landscaper, including this one that makes perfect sense and which I've never thought of before: If a landscaper's been in business 5 or more years, they should have some results you can go look at to see what their work is like.
That's better than references, or pictures -- go look at the house they worked on.
With that kind of common sense, I read on and found out that E&J had recommendations on how many bids to get and even how to gauge the down payment requested. I was hooked and tried to use their online sign-up to request a quote myself... only to find they're in Atlanta.
Still, if you need a landscaper in Atlanta, I'd go check them out.