Have you ever called in the pros to help you with the gardening?
I think garden maintenance is often one of those jobs that we feel a bit embarrassed about not doing ourselves. We should be able to find time to keep on top of it, right? Well in reality, that’s not always possible!
Trying to find ways to squeeze the gardening into an already hectic home life is how my ten minute gardener series came about. And while a few minutes of gardening on a regular basis can really help you stay in control, there could well be times when you just can’t manage all the work yourself. And there’s no shame in that.
Once you’ve decided it’s time to enlist the services of a gardening company, there are some things you need to think about before you start making calls.
What do you want them to do?
This sounds obvious, but you really do need to be clear in your mind on the work you’d like a gardening company to carry out. I’d be trying to answer questions like these:
- Is it a one-off job or ongoing maintenance?
- Are you looking to work on the whole garden, or just focus on a particular area?
- Do you want your gardener to maintain your garden as it is, or improve it with things like new planting schemes?
Being clear about what you want right from the start will get you more accurate quotes, and help you choose a gardening company that’s a good fit for the job.
What are the different options available?
Like any profession, not all gardeners will do exactly the same work. I find that generally, gardening firms are split into two categories.
- Those that focus on garden maintenance – so that’s things like mowing the lawn, pruning trees and hedges, and clearing weeds. If you’re happy with your garden but don’t have enough time to look after it, this is the type of gardener you should be looking for.
- Those that focus on garden design – including things like designing a new border layout, planting schemes, and hard landscaping. If you’re looking to change the way your garden looks and functions, go for this type of firm.
Again, think about the work required and the skills needed to do it, then look for a gardener who has experience and/or qualifications in that area.
What to ask the gardener
Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions during the search process. This will help both you and the gardener understand more about their suitability and, again, help you get an accurate quote. Here are some suggestions for questions to ask:
- What type of gardening work do you usually do?
- Are there any gardening tasks you can’t perform?
- Do you have any relevant horticultural qualifications?
- Do you have insurance?
- When are you available?
- How much time will the work require?
- What access do you need for vans, equipment etc?
- Can I see examples of your work?
Setting a budget
Another obvious one, but still worth saying. It’s very easy to get carried away with grand plans to transform your garden, and costs can quickly escalate if you let your heart rule your head. Set yourself a budget for the work right at the start, and aim to stick within it. As a very rough guide, you can expect a gardener to charge between £20 and £40 per hour.
It may be that you need to revise the scope of the work once you have your quotes, which is another good reason to be clear on that list of requirements!
So, you know what garden work you need, you’ve set your budget, and you’ve made a list of questions. Now you’re ready to ask for quotes.
Always get a quote from more than one company. It can save you money, but it also gives you a meaningful comparison between different services offered.
If you feel daunted by the prospect of trawling through lots of local gardening companies, you can save time and effort by using a comparison site. This allows you to compare gardening quotes in your area by completing a single quote request online.
If you’re about to start the process of finding a gardening company I hope these tips make it easier for you. And if you’ve already got a gardener, do share your own tips in the comments.
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