How to find the right landscaper for your garden makeover

 In Landscaping, Landscaping Services

A Google search for “Landscaper in Somerset” shows 366,000 results. Of those companies, how will you know which is the right landscaper for your garden makeover? Here are some pointers to help you.

When your garden needs a makeover but you don’t know who to ask for help, your first instinct is to carry out an internet search. But faced with an overwhelming choice of landscapers working in your area, how do you decide who to approach for a quotation?

circular lawn prepared for turfing

For precision landscaping, it’s imperative to choose the right landscaper for the job

  • Check the reviews
  • Be sure that a landscaper is fully insured
  • Look out for membership of a trade body
  • Not all landscapers are also garden designers – A design and build service is more convenient for you.
  • Does this landscaper have the required skills set for your project?
  • Most artisans have their own approach – is the landscaper’s style compatible with your ideas?
  • How long can you expect to wait for the work to be done?
  • What about personality? Do you like the landscapers?

Check the reviews

A garden makeover is a sizeable investment. Depending on what needs doing, the cost can be equivalent to building an extension or buying a brand new car. It’s crucial then, that you protect yourself from rogue traders. These days, anybody can build a website and call themselves a landscaper. You need to make sure that anyone working in your garden is trustworthy and capable.

Online reviews are a really good way to get a feel for the best performers.  Look for a recurring pattern though – one poor review might reflect a personality clash rather than a landscaping disaster.

Is your landscaper fully insured?

When you start thinking about what a landscaper does, it’s clear that it’s a high-risk industry. Reputable landscapers comply with CDM regulations to minimize the danger to people and property.

Before a landscaper starts work on your property, please make sure  that he or she is fully insured. Public liability insurance is absolutely essential. If you have any doubts whatsoever, no reputable landscaper will mind if you ask to see an insurance certificate.

Look out for membership of a trade body

There are two main landscaping trade associations in the UK. The British Association for Landscape Industry (BALI) and the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL).

Both of these organisations vet all of their members for standards of workmanship and good business practice. All APL members are part of the government endorsed Trustmark scheme. Trustmark helps consumers to feel confident that they are hiring reputable tradespeople.

Will you need to hire a garden designer and a landscaper?

Garden design is important – just as a builder needs an architect’s plans to create a new home, landscapers need a garden design to ensure that he or she is building exactly what the client is expecting. And that the landscaping works are safe, sustainable, and compliant with building regulations.

Dan Richards is one landscaper in Somerset who offers a design and build service. Dan is personally involved in every project from the very first phone call until the final signoff. His design skills are all the better for understanding exactly what challenges will be involved in the actual landscaping. This in turn means that all of Dan’s designs can be brought to life within the client’s built budget.

Does the landscaper have the right skillsets for your garden design?

when building retaining walls be sure to use the right landscaper to avoid disaster

Building retaining walls is a great way to make a sloping garden more useable.
Walls like this one are supporting a lot of weight – be sure that your landscaper understands the engineering as well as the aesthetics.

Take a look at your landscaper’s portfolio of work. Does there seem to be an emphasis on certain materials or structures? Landscaping is probably one of the most varied jobs there are. It includes groundworks, drainage, carpentry, brickwork, slab laying, electricals, plumbing, and planting.

What will be going into your garden makeover? Does your landscaper have the right skills to do the job really well?

How long is the waiting list?

At the time of writing, (autumn 2020) the UK landscape industry is flourishing. This means that the best and most popular landscapers have waiting lists for their work. Trust me, unless you are working to an urgent deadline, it’s worth booking your landscaper in advance and patiently waiting for your turn.

The best things in life are worth waiting for.

Do you LIKE the landscapers?

I’ve left this question until last because to me, it’s one of the most important factors when trying to find the right landscaper for your project.

A full garden makeover can take several weeks – or even months. During that time there’ll be a small team of people working on your property. They’ll potentially be parking in your driveway every day, eating their lunch in your garden, consulting with you, organising deliveries, and more. Every working day will involve voices, noisy equipment, dust, mud, early starts, and everything else that goes with what is essentially a building site.

Landscaping is an adventure. Some days go well, some days (especially rainy days!) are pretty challenging. If you don’t like the people around you, the adventure can feel pretty miserable.

Do you trust the landscapers to keep your property safe – even if you can’t be on-site yourself? Will they maintain a good relationship with your neighbours? Could you see yourself occasionally chatting comfortably with them at coffee break? If you answer “no” to any of these questions, think hard about how you’ll feel about having them in your garden for long periods of time.

How will you know if you’ll like your landscapers?

  • The tone of voice on their website is a good start. OK – landscapers aren’t always fluent writers but most people can read between the lines.
  • Check the reviews.
  • See if you can find a picture of the boss – chances are that if the boss seems trustworthy and personable, the rest of the team will be too.
  • A quick phone call will also help you to decide whether you’ll like the landscapers. Don’t be surprised if you need to leave a message and ask them to call back. It’s not safe to chat on the phone if you are operating landscaping machinery and it’s rude to abandon the customer you are with to talk to someone else.
  • A good landscaper will ask lots of questions about you too. He or she is also looking for customers that will be a pleasure to work for. Landscaping profits are not huge – our reward comes from bringing joy to the people we work with.

Dan Richards

Dan Richards, garden designer, and landscaper

Looking for a landscaper in Somerset?

If you are on the hunt for the right landscaper for your garden makeover, you might want to consider Silver Birch Landscapes.  Owner Dan Richards offers a complete garden design and build service in the Bridgewater area. Dan’s gardens are stylish, tasteful and a little bit different – without being outrageous.

Take a look at our portfolio to see if you like the look of our past projects

And if you do

Here’s how to get in touch with Silver Birch Landscapes

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