I'll start by saying first off - be proactive and clearly define your expectations with your contractor ahead of time. Nobody likes doing work twice, and it doesn't help anyone, or the project. Request to meet your contractor on site and discuss your expectations. Be open minded to the contractor's feedback as they have field experience. When YOU, the designer/architect are forthright with your expectations, you definitely get the attention and presumably the follow-through of the contractor. If your contractor questions you, or provides alternate solutions this means you have an excellent, experienced contractor! Stay open minded and hear them out. This is all simple communication that cannot always be illustrated through plans, specs and submittals. Now, a few things that are frequently overlooked that can be detrimental to the quality of the project in the future:
- Elevation of soil in bed areas. So many jobs I see have parking lot islands that are either sunken in below the top of the curb or are mounded up so high that you can't even get out of your car when parked next to it. Be clear.
- Planting depth of trees. Trees (especially B/Bs because of their size) tend to get planted very high. This stresses the tree as its roots are exposed to the elements, forces the tree to focus its energy on rebuilding new roots at the new subgrade level and generally just looks like crap.
- Irrigation controller settings. If there are no maintenance specs on the project, the project (and the controller) will typically be turned over with the controller set to water newly planted material - which is A LOT. Depending on the length of time and time of year that the material has been in the ground at the time of punch, ask the contractor to come back and reset the controller to a watering level that they deem appropriate.
By checking and assuring these key items are kept up with you are doing an enormous service to your client which will pay off as they will have a healthy, happy and great looking project.