Landscape Contracting Practices Resulting in Trip and Fall Litigation

Landscape design, construction and maintenance, these three building blocks are required for a successful landscape project.  A landscape architect provides a functional, aesthetic design.  The landscape contractor uses the plans and specifications provided by the landscape architect for bidding the project. If awarded the contract, the plans become contract documents that the contractor adheres to during the construction process.  Following construction, the landscape maintenance contractor (who might also be the installation contractor) provides regular ongoing maintenance to ensure the installed irrigation and plant systems operate and flourish.

Whether a residential, commercial or public works landscape project, these three separate but distinct roles are required to produce a successful landscape project.  What comprises a “successful” landscape project?  Due to the visual prominence of the landscape, a lay -person might consider aesthetics and beauty as priorities for judging whether a landscape project is a success.  A landscape architect might consider functionality as the top priority for a successful project.  The landscape contractor could measure success as a project with minimal plant mortality or if the project proved profitable.  For the landscape maintenance contractor, an efficient, easy to operate irrigation system and plants well suited to the environmental conditions enable successful long-term maintenance.

Another metric for measuring success might include a safe landscape.  A functional, beautiful landscape should also be designed, constructed and maintained with safety in mind.  Landscape plans include specifications that dictate correct installation of products and materials.  If a field construction worker deviates even a little bit from a particular specification or detail, their action may create a hazard that could result in an accident.

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