Advice: How to Choose a Landscaper
If you’d like to get some professional help with your outside space but don’t know where to start or how to go about commissioning a landscaper, read on!
We asked Phil Tremayne the General Manager of the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) for his advice and top tips. To find your nearest APL landscaper, check out the APL website.
Here’s what Phil had to say:
Quality landscapers, like everyone else, are busy people so if you are thinking about getting someone in make sure you start the planning process early to avoid any disappointments.
Do your research!
It’s worth taking the time to research local landscaping companies on the internet. Key things to look out for are companies who have done work similar to that which you’d like done. Have a good look at the images in the portfolio section of the company’s website to double check it has the right experience. Look also at the companies achievements and accreditations. Memberships to recognised trade bodies and awards won are good indication of how seriously they take their profession. You can also ask to visit a recent project – most landscapers will be delighted to show you their previous work!
Work up a brief
When you meet the landscaper for the first time you need to have a clear idea of what you want the finished garden to look like and how it will be used. It doesn’t have to be set in stone (no pun intended!) as the landscaper will probably give you suggestions and other ideas to consider. This can save a lot of time and avoid confusion or disappointment later on.
If you’ve never commissioned a landscaper before then it’s tricky to know what sort of budget you will need. Having said that, you need to be able to give them an idea of what you are willing to spend so that when the quote comes back you won’t get any nasty surprises. Don’t forget that most landscapers are VAT registered so you will need to factor that in to your budget as well.
Schedule of works and payment
So that you know what to expect, most companies will provide a schedule of works and a payment timetable. A deposit before any work starts is standard practice and your landscaper may then ask for weekly, monthly or staged payments.
It’s all in the detail
Make sure you have a contract in place before any work starts. If there are any changes say to the design or materials used, make sure these are agreed in writing so that both you and the landscaper are clear on what is expected. Make sure you allow the landscaper to organise your responsibilities under CDM (Construction Design Management) 2015. This is applicable to all landscaping that has construction as part of its design. This includes Fencing, Paths, Patios and even artificial lawns. A qualified and reputable company will know how to do this.
One last thing…
Once your garden is finished don’t forget to think about the maintenance. Your landscaper will be busy throughout the year so you need to keep that in mind if you want to commission them for the upkeep.
By choosing a member of the APL you can be assured of a professional standard of workmanship from a company that is fully insured, adheres to a strict code of conduct and is regularly assessed. That way you can ensure that you are never caught out by a rogue trader, and the quality and standard of work will remain high at all times.
To find your nearest APL landscaper, check out the APL website.