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Choosing the Right Landscaper and Working Well Together

Choosing the Right Landscaper and Working Well Together

. 5 min read

Why go with a professional?

The value of opting to work with a professional landscape gardener cannot be overstated. As we previously mentioned, this isn’t on same scale as changing some wallpaper – landscape gardening can be a huge project that involves groundworks, hidden gas mains and heavy machinery. All of which can be huge problems if not handled with professional care. That’s why we would always recommend working with a pro.

They will not only make recommendations on how to make your design achievable, but they will also have heaps of experience on what could go wrong and how to make sure the issues are avoided. You want this experience to be as stress free as possible after all, so why not work with someone who has done it dozens of times before!

Many people opt to take up this massive project on their own for financial reasons – and it’s easy to understand. An experienced professional can charge upwards of $240 per square meter of garden for a renovation, and with the average garden size sitting around 160m2 this can be a huge expense for a complete renovation. It can be tempting to cut corners to save a bit of money, but this is a serious project and should be treated as such.

A Big Commitment

It’s important to understand the scale of this project and the costs that will be involved. It may sound dismissive, but if you are on a tight budget, maybe a complete overhaul isn’t for you.
A garden renovation is a big commitment. It is going to take a lot of time, a lot of effort, and - most of the time – a lot of expense.

The reason we feel this is important to mention, is there are a lot of opportunities to cut corners:

  • Unqualified Professionals.
  • DIY Attempts.
  • Substandard Materials.

All of which are likely to leave you disappointed for the sake of a few $100s of savings.

If you want to really transform your outdoor space into the garden of your dreams, the long and short of it is this: it is likely going to cost a lot.
We would fully recommend a healthy budget and utilizing the work of an experienced professional. A project like this is a chance to transform your life, as well as your dream home, and by committing to it in every single way, you give yourself the best chance to bring your vision to life. Whether that’s elaborate garden parties, or a quiet space to relax in, you won’t get there by cutting corners.

The Ideal Professional

When choosing who to work with, it’s important to book someone you trust, who has plenty of experience and who is going to give you the best chance of bringing your vision to life. But how do you know someone is up the job? There is no sure-fire way, but there are some steps you can take:

  • Check their portfolios & ask if you can call anyone for references.
  • Check Insurances – legitimate professionals will always have their documents in place.
  • Check for any qualifications or landscaping accreditations they may have.
  • Check their lead times – If they are ready to start immediately, this might be a red-flag.

But from here, the best way to know if someone is a fit for the job is to invite them round to discuss your project and give a quote. You will often have a very good sense of who will be a good fit within minutes of meeting them!

Where to find them?

You can’t just wait for the professionals to come and knock on your door. The good ones wont!
You need to do a bit of groundwork and call a few yourself. There are several ways to go about this:

  • Recommendations from Friends & Family – if this option is available to you, it is the quickest way you know you can trust someone. Has your friend recently had their garden transformed? Why not use the same person.
  • Our dedicated page for landscapers - Pop in your details and you will be given a list of suitable tradespeople near you.
  • Google Search – this isn’t particularly recommended. But can offer up a few alternatives that have chosen not to be listed on the tradespeople websites.

couple-of-landscapers

Regardless of the method used, it’s important you meet them in person and discuss the scale and size of your project. It will really help you get a feel for whether they are a good fit and will help you achieve your goals.

A Smooth Transaction

The first stage is to meet and collect quotes from some of the companies that you like the look of. We recommend at least 3 quotes, but a few extra can’t hurt. This will ensure the price you have been quoted is fair. Be sure you don’t just go with the cheapest price because it’s the cheapest – go with the company you feel the most comfortable with. A few extra $’s for the peace of mind is so, so worth it.
Once you’ve found the company you want to help you transform your garden, there are a few steps you can take to ensure a smooth transaction. It all boils down to one thing: clarity. If you establish clear terms at the start of the project, everyone knows what to expect and no one is left feeling frustrated.

Don’t be embarrassed to talk about money and payment terms – everyone will feel much more relaxed about the project if they know exactly what is happening. Money can be a touchy subject, but it is important to address it early and honestly.

  • Agree a fixed price for fixed works.
  • Agree a payment schedule. Ideally this can be split into stages and paid in instalments as the stages are completed. (e.g. groundworks, paving, turf etc.).
  • Get everything in writing. Sign contracts outlining all the works to be carried out. Read it carefully. This gives both parties peace of mind.
  • Stick to the Payment Terms. Tradespeople must pay their bills like anyone else. Please do not hold back payment unnecessarily or pay late – it causes a lot of unwanted stress and simply isn’t fair on anyone.

How to be a great client

Now, we are sure you know how to be polite and courteous – but you’d be surprised how often we hear stories from our landscaping customers of the nightmares they have had with their most recent clients. A little consideration can go a long way and if everyone is happy, you’ll have a better chance of a successful project. So here’s a few suggestions on how to keep the atmosphere positive:

  • Let your tradesperson work – you should trust them before you hire them. When they are working, you don’t need to keep tabs on them. Trust them to crack on.
  • If you have a burst of inspiration, such as a change of paving slabs, or change your mind mid-way through, let your landscaper know as soon as possible as they may be able to deal with this change easier the earlier they know.
  • Don’t expect any changes for free. Extra work means you should be charged an extra fee. Don’t get upset if you receive an additional bill for additional works. However, make sure you agree the additional charge beforehand.
  • Keep up with the agreed payment plans.
  • Tea & Biscuits will normally help with any situation! Keep them coming.

In short, trust your professional. The good ones will often bend over backwards to help you, so make sure you treat them with respect and trust their professional opinions. A little niceness goes a long way – hire the pro that you trust the most, not the one that is the cheapest. A good relationship is likely to result in the best result.