What does a landscaping quote include?
Planning a garden makeover? Asking landscapers for prices? Here’s what a good landscaping quote will contain.
In a previous blog I mentioned that one way to tell a professional landscaper from a rogue trader is in the quote. The way a quote is presented and the clarity of the terms and conditions can tell you a lot about a landscaper.
This is what Silver Birch Gardens – and indeed many professional landscapers from around the country, include in their quotes.
What does a landscaping quote include?
- Site survey (if the garden designer hasn’t already covered everything we need to know)
- Materials as stated in the garden design
- Plants as specified by the garden designer
- Skilled labour – including specialist trades such as electricians
- Plant and machinery hire as well as use of tools and equipment
- Project Management
- Payment Plan
- Health, Welfare and Safety Provisions
- Public liability insurance
- Waste removal
- Garden maintenance advice for the first few weeks
There’s more to landscaping than just buying in materials and placing them in a garden. Just like a house, where those all-important foundations and utilities get hidden, the foundations and footings for your new garden may never be seen again. Nevertheless each element is carefully constructed to make sure your garden is safe and longlived.
A landscaping quote should always account for a thorough survey before groundworks begin as well the materials and labour needed to create your garden.
Groundworks and foundations are just as important than the decorative finishes in a landscaping project.
Does a landscaping quote include garden design too?
Generally no. Most professional landscapers work from a design supplied the clients’ chosen garden designer. A good garden design includes scale drawings with an indication of where any potential challenges might be. If some (or all) of the survey results are missing, your landscaper will need to take time to take measurements and assess the best way to construct your new garden.
Silver Birch Gardens however, offer a full garden design and landscaping package. That means full continuity of service. The person who carries out the site survey and learns about your hopes and dreams for your outdoor space is the same person who orders the materials and oversees the building of each element.
What health and safety provisions do landscapers need?
Reputable landscapers understand and abide by CDM regulations. CDM is mainly about the health, welfare and safety of everyone on site – including the clients, their friends and family and even the postman.
That may involve hiring portable toilets for landscaping staff and providing somewhere to eat lunch, change into dry clothes etc. It often does involve safety fencing – so that no-one falls into freshly dug footings – and sometimes lighting to alert visitors to trip hazards.
Does the quote give a breakdown of material costs?
It’s very unusual for a landscaper to offer a breakdown of material and labour costs. When quoting us normally work on the cost of each element of the garden based on experience. For example, turfing costs £X per square metre based on the cost of the turf and the time it takes to prepare the soils.
Why use this method? Because prices may change between quoting and ordering. We want to cushion you against that. Plus, no matter how thoroughly we survey a site, there’ll sometimes be a surprise waiting in the soil for us. Which means for example, that we may need to change our original specification for things like materials for a sub-base.
Don’t worry though, we’ll never change any of the decorative elements without consulting the client – if you’ve chosen a buff sandstone patio for example, that’s exactly what you’ll get. If there’s one thing a professional landscaper will never do it’s swap quality materials for a substandard lookalike. There’s a bit of the Capability Brown in all of us and we take pride in knowing our work will still look good when our great-great-grandchildren take over the business.
Industry experience helps with sourcing and quoting
One thing you can be assured of is that your landscaper will do his or her utmost to get the best value on quality products. It’s tempting for you go look online to try to get a bargain but remember that cheapest is not always the best. You know yourself, that when you buy low cost food items you need to work harder to make them tasty and nutritious. And low cost clothing is often unethically made and/or won’t last long. Experience has taught me that any savings on buying cheap landscaping materials tend to be offset by increased labour costs and more time on site. If you’ve chosen your landscape company wisely you can trust them to supply good quality products at sensible prices.
What if I want to change my mind? Will it affect the quote?
A 3D garden design is easier to visualise than a “flat” plan.
From time to time, clients will want to tweak the design and I can understand that. It’s not always easy to imagine what a garden design plan will look like in “real life” and when the build starts, it’s natural to wonder if a larger patio might be better or whether the pergola should be different. That’s natural and it’s why SilverBirch Gardens always present clients with a 3D design. Seeing the design brought to life on a screen allows changes to be made before the design is signed off.
In most cases changes to the original design mean that the landscaping quotation will need revising and signing off before work continues.
To avoid frustration, remember to always read the terms and conditions carefully before accepting a quote. They are there to protect you as well as us. And if your landscaper doesn’t have written terms and conditions – steer clear!
Do I need to pay for landscaping work “up front”?
I can’t speak for every landscaper in the land, but at SilverBirch Gardens we ask clients to agree to a payment plan.
On larger landscaping projects you won’t be asked to pay the whole bill up front. However we do ask for a deposit which shows your commitment and allows us to start ordering materials.
As the build progresses, there’ll be interim payments to keep those materials coming and the wages paid.
At the end, once you are happy with everything and enjoying your new garden, comes the sign-off and the final payment.
Payment plan details will be included in your landscaping quote.
Is garden maintenance advice included in a landscaping quotation?
Landscaping is just the beginning of your garden. Like a fine wine your new garden will improve as it matures – but only if it is properly nurtured. Once your landscaper has finished work, tidied up and handed the site over, it’s care and maintenance is normally up to the householder.
Before the SilverBirch team leave a site, we will offer advice on how to care for your new garden. For example, how to care for turf as it establishes, how to look after stone or render and what to do to keep the planting looking fresh.
Remember, your landscaper cannot be held responsible for problems with the garden at a later date if you have misunderstood any aftercare advice. Ask as many questions as you need to before the team move on.
Your landscaping quote
When you hire a professional landscaper to for your garden makeover your landscaping quote will be comprehensive. All you will need to contribute to the project is access to the garden, and of course the agreed payment.