Gardeners and landscapers are the creative and hard working  group of people who work for a wide range of clients, from domestic customers to local authorities and private companies, designing and maintaining gardens and outdoor spaces.

Although many people enjoy getting down and dirty in their gardens, not all of us have the time or inclination to spend hours manicuring lawns or trimming hedges. Luckily, a large number of horticultural helpers are out there to help do the hard work and assist in planning, designing and creating your outdoor growing spaces.

What they do

Gardeners can turn their green-fingered hands to:

  • Raising plants from seeds or cuttings
  • Digging, planting and weeding flower beds and borders
  • Pruning shrubs
  • Checking the health of plants
  • Using lawn mowers and other machinery
  • Basic building tasks, like putting up sheds and building walls

Landscape gardeners add an architectural level to their skill set with a list of services that can include:

  • Discussing clients’ needs
  • Working from plans made by garden designers or landscape architects
  • Ordering supplies
  • Preparing the ground or interior space
  • Turfing and seeding lawns
  • Planting and pruning trees and shrubs
  • Putting in new plants
  • Installing features like paving, paths, water features and rock gardens
  • Maintaining the area

What they charge

According to a recent survey[i], the average hourly rate for a gardener is around £10. A few guide prices for typical gardening and landscaping tasks are:

  • Mow 20m2 lawn  –  £20 – £30
  • Build a small garden pond – £400 – £600
  • Build two raised beds for vegetables – £300 – £600
  • Trim 10m garden hedge (2 hours) – £20 – £30

What to ask

When briefing a gardener or landscaper, whether it’s for a major outdoor makeover or routine maintenance jobs, asking the following question makes a lot of sense:

  • Check soil disposal and waste material disposal is included
  • Find out about ground preparation, particularly for constructions like greenhouses, sheds and patios
  • Ask if they will carry out a free site visit to help quote
  • Make sure you know exactly what materials are included
  • Check certificates of competence and insurance
  • Make sure the estimate is written and contains a full break down
  • For larger landscaping jobs, consider keeping back about 15 percent to be paid later after any faults been rectified
  • Be clear about who owns of surplus materials when the work is completed

Trades to trust

Logos to look out for on a gardener or landscaper’s website or literature are The Association of Professional Landscapers (APL), The British Association Of Landscape Industries (BALI), The Gardeners Guild or The Professional Gardeners’ Guild. If your chosen professional is a member of one of more of these, it’s a sign that they’re trained, competent and dedicated to maintaining professional standards.

The law

Gardeners or other professionals who will be using pesticides (weedkillers, insecticides or fungicides) in your garden or on your land should have the appropriate spray certification.

Ready to hire?

3 is the magic number

As always, try and get three quotes from three different gardeners or landscapers to ensure you pay a fair price for the job.

Certification and references

Don’t be shy about asking for any relevant certification, proof of public liability insurance and references or photos from previous jobs. If the gardener or landscaper is trustworthy and competent, they’ll be pleased (and proud) to show you both.

[i] http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Gardener/Hourly_Rate