Hiring A Landscape Gardener

There are lots of ways you can go about hiring a landscape gardener and many of these methods could equally be applied to finding a plumber, electrician etc.

  1. The most popular method is to ask for recommendations from family, friends, workmates and neighbours. This is the best way of finding a landscaper. You will get an unbiased opinion of their work, their honesty and reliability, their charges, and you will get a chance to see their results.

  2. Another method is to ask for recommendations from garden centres and nurseries. Ask them if they have received good reports of any particular landscapers.

  3. A third way is via the Internet e.g. from online directories or landscape gardeners' web sites.

  4. Finally you could look through Yellow Pages and advertisements in local newspaper or free advertising papers, and also look out for direct mail and brochures delivered to your door.

Finding landscaping contractors to fill your list is easy. The trick is to select from your list the right landscaping contractor that meets your needs.

Researching Landscape Gardening Services

Take the time to find the right landscaper for you. You do not have to choose the first landscaper you find in Yellow Pages. Following the recommendations below you will not necessarily guarantee a successful landscaping project, but you will greatly improve your odds of hiring the right landscape gardener. Do not cut corners, check references, and have detailed discussions with landscapers before you choose one for your project.

Major Factors To Consider…

Find out what services they provide, and whether they specialise in any particular aspect of garden landscaping. Ask what type of projects they normally undertake and whether they have tackled any project similar to your own. Obviously, this is particularly important if you have some unusual plans for your landscaping. Ask to see brochures and work portfolios.

Find out how long the company has been in business.

How many employees do they have and how many of them will be available to work on your job?

What training and experience does the staff have? Professional landscape companies should have employees with training in all aspects of landscaping and several years of experience. Ask about where they learned to landscape, e.g. courses, training, working for other companies etc.

If you are satisfied that the company provides the service you require and that it has the trained staff available you need to look at some examples of the work they have done. Initially you can look at photographs of their work but you should also arrange to see some of their completed projects on the ground.

Obtain at least three references from them and ask to see projects that are similar to the work you request. Visit the locations if possible, and examine the quality of the work. Check each of the projects to see if the work is of the style and quality you require. Do the contractor's personnel and equipment reflect a professional appearance e.g. company uniform, clean vehicles and equipment? You want to hire a company that does good work and demonstrates professionalism and integrity.

Try to contact the clients they did the work for and ask questions regarding their satisfaction. Find out about their quality of work, whether they were dependable and if they delivered what they agreed in a timely manner.

If you are satisfied that the company can produce work of the standard you require, there are further questions to be asked.

Determine whether the contractor has sufficient equipment and personnel to carry out your job in the timescale you require, bearing in mind that the best companies may be booked up well in advance. Find out how many other jobs they will be working on at the same time as they are doing your job. If they are working on too many other jobs and spending only a small amount of time on your job it could drag on for weeks or months. Is it possible to get a guaranteed completion time in your contract?

Professional companies are often active members of landscape associations. What professional associations do they belong to? Ask the contractor for any professional affiliations and awards to demonstrate that he or she has an interest in promoting professional growth and has a commitment to excellence.

Are they suitably insured? This is very important. If they are not insured properly, it is possible you could be liable for accidents during their time on your property. Check for proof of insurance.

Make sure the company provides a written contract with details of the project clearly laid out and prices given for each detail. They should also supply a detailed graphical layout of the work. This plan can include the design, plant material to be used, costs, and the terms of payment.

What guarantees to they give? What is covered by their guarantee (do they include the plants), and how long is it? Do they have a customer charter outlining the standards that they aim to meet?

Discuss how you will deal with unforeseen issues that arise during the installation of your landscaped garden e.g. changes to the original design part way through the construction, and problems that could arise during the construction.

The key to a successful garden design is the trust and confidence built up between client and designer. The designer needs to have empathy with your ideas. When you ask them about the jobs they've done, and when they show you and a selection of recent projects, do they sound proud of their work or excited etc. Are they professional, creative, and enthusiastic?

What is your gut feeling about them? Do you trust them? Do you like them? What will it be like having them around for a week or so? Do not choose someone you have doubts about.

The next step is obtaining and dealing with quotes for your gardening project.