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  • Writer's pictureLaura Savage

7 Top Tips to Help You Find the Best Landscaper for Your Garden

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

Alder Garden Services Ltd Warrington Landscape

So you’re looking to have your garden transformed. You’ve got a design in mind, you’ve imagined the parties and barbecues and hey you’ve even picked out the furniture. But now you need a landscaper to make these dreams a reality. If you’ve not a clue on where to start, you’re reading the right article.

After years of experience building our landscaping company Alder Garden Services Ltd, we've gained invaluable knowledge regarding customer relations. Hence we are absolutely best placed to share with you our top tips that we believe are key considerations when choosing the best landscape gardener for your garden.

Finding the best landscaper to make you garden dreams a reality

1. Recommendations

Family and friends can recommend a garden landscaper

It may seem obvious but

recommendations from friends and family are a good place to start.

If they’re recommending someone to you, they or someone they know have clearly paid for a job that they’re happy with.

A word of caution though. Recommendations while a good place to start, you have to take them realising that while they may be happy, they’re not professionals

and therefore their judgement on what a good

job is or isn’t may not be the best.

2. How do they present themselves?

A professional garden landscaper should present themselves well

Generally how a person presents themselves says a lot about their business. If they pay due attention to their presentation then they could arguably be likely to pay the same attention to your job.

Now landscaping is a dirty job. It comes with the profession. And if they arrive dirty, well it shows they’ve busy with work. So when I say presentable I mean, are they wearing uniform? Do they have a diary? Are their vans sign written? Is their presentation professional? When thinking of a landscaper people’s expectations could be considered to be lower in terms of professionalism. I.e. you’d be forgiven for expecting someone to turn up in joggers and a t-shirt, without a diary and their vans looking worse for wear. But attitudes towards the profession are changing. Nowadays good firms see the need for these basic forms of presentation to show you their commitment to your job.

3. Are they knowledgeable?

A thorough knowledge of garden landscaping is key

In a job interview, often the lasting impression is how much knowledge and passion that a person leaves you with. In effect, a trade coming to quote for a job is in essence a job interview. So what knowledge can they offer? Can they advise on simple subjects such as choice of stone, drainage and retaining walls? Do they inspire you with alternative solutions and ideas? If you’ve researched how much a landscaped garden can cost, you’ll know that they are a significant investment done properly. Meaning that choosing a well

informed landscaper is of significant importance.

4. Are they able to show you some of their work?

Pergola and Glass Balustrade by Alder Garden Services Ltd

A credible landscaper will be proud of their work and will be all too happy to share their

achievements with you. Some will even be able to show you jobs in person, meaning you can see the reality and not just the pretty pictures. It also shows they’ve clearly maintained a good relationship with their client!

It‘s also important to consider the landscapers style and what materials they are used to working with. For instance a company that has regularly installed porcelain will be able to introduce you to highly skilled techniques such as bullnosing, mitring or laying on various angles. All of which will improve your finished look if that’s the style you're hoping to achieve. A proficient contractor will have installed a wide variety of products, and will thus be able to show a wide portfolio that matches. If you looking some inspiration, take a look at some of our portfolio here.

5. Can any local suppliers recommend them?

In any industry, reputation is key for businesses. Therefore suppliers of any of the materials

you intend to use will only want to recommend landscapers who they are confident will do a good job. It’s just good business sense. For instance if you choose your paving from a supplier and have a good experience with your landscaper, you’re more likely to show off their products to friends and family and make recommendations. You’re also more likely to allow photos to be taken and to be used for advertising purposes, with the supplier being confident they’re showing their products off in the best light. Hence suppliers can be a useful source of information for those looking to have their garden landscaped. Cheshire Sandstone offer a good example of this here.

6. Are they VAT registered?

Calculator and business calculations

This one is a contentious issue. There is no legal requirement for a company to be registered for VAT. Hence when a company quotes and there’s no VAT added on, well happy days right? The cost is lower to the consumer so what’s the problem. Why would I choose to use a VAT registered company? Well with this demonstration below, we hope to show you why we believe it’s a necessity when it comes to full garden landscapes.

The current threshold for VAT in the UK is at £85,000 per year. That means that once a company‘s turnover (total income) reaches above this amount, they MUST register for VAT. With the average cost of a fully landscaped garden being around £30,000, a contractor would only have 2-3 average sized jobs in a year in order to remain under the threshold. Which is obviously not a lot of work for 12 months! So if you wanted to be confident that a landscaper was busy VAT is one indicator of this.

Pound coins

Just a little word of caution here. We’re not saying that only companies that are registered for VAT are reputable. There are circumstances in which a company may not be registered that are valid. For example the company may specialise in smaller jobs such as replacement fencing, some sleeper beds or new turf and not necessarily complete full landscapes. Therefore their income is lower and they are genuinely beneath the threshold and busy. In that case, it is possible, in fact even likely that these companies are reputable and will do a good job. Secondly, a company may just be starting out or at least be in their first year of offering larger project work. All companies have been there. We‘ve been there ourselves.

So while VAT registration isn’t a guarantee of a good reputation, it is a valuable indicator despite there being additional cost involved for the consumer. One way of thinking about it is remembering what VAT stands for, Value Added Tax. In other words the term VAT means that registered companies are considered to be offering a service with added value.

7. Have YOU done your homework prior to inviting contractors to quote?

The fact that you’re reading this article suggests that you have or at least you intend to. Nobody would walk into a car showroom blindly, intending to buy, without having done their research first. Gardens can be an equally big investment, so why wouldn’t you try to gain an idea first? But where would you start? How would you know how much a brick built planter or a pergola would cost? The reality is is you won’t be able to draw up an exact quote. Similarly to the fact that you wouldn’t with a car as you wouldn’t know what heated seats and a metallic paint job would cost. But you can come fairly close depending on the complexity of your plans. Perhaps an easy place to start is to gain an idea of the average cost of paving supplied and installed per m2 and have a measure up. This will likely be the bulk of where the cost lies. The best place to find out such information could be from local paving suppliers or perhaps through Facebook forums like this one, where you can ask landscapers directly.

Why are we recommending you do this? Well landscapers that you invite will absolutely appreciate the fact that you’ve a realistic idea of what things cost before inviting them. Within the landscaping community it is well known that clients are often all too unaware as to the cost behind having gardens made over. So if there’s one thing you can do to get those reputable companies on side and engaged with your project, it would be to research the potential costs involved.

Still in need of assistance?

Why not get in touch to see

if we can help you bring your

garden dreams to life.

2D Garden Design

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