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How to choose and hire a landscape gardener

Does anyone have any advice and tips on how to hire a landscaper?

I have a good idea of what I would like done in my garden, along with drawings (self-drawn) and dimensions.

I have broken it down into elements of work:

  • Replace fence with 6 foot panel fencing
  • Remove old patio, replace hardcore and lay new patio
  • Build small retaining wall
  • Lay new brick edged path
  • etc

My plan was to get quotes from landscapers.  My dilemma is that I don’t want to be too prescriptive, because I am an amateur who knows what he wants but not how to do it. 

Should I say I will buy the materials, like the patio and fencing, so they just have to do the labour?



  • LynLyn Posts: 21,896

    I think you are doing right there Domino man, if he is a good bloke he will respect your wishes and go with what you want, ask about supply, he may be able to get trade prices. Ask for references so you don't get a bodge job, or ask around for recommendations.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,051

    I'd agree, ask around .

    There are lots of websites like checkatrade etc. They might be worth a look.

  • I have used checkatrade to get reviews on contractors and it also shows pictures of their work. Although you have decided what you want done it may be a contractor comes up with something you had not thought of doing. If you have several things you want doing it may be that the contractor can fit it in with jobs for other people and you can negotiate on the price. I am about to start my garden shortly, already cleared all brambles etc and had new fencing put up. I know the slabs will not be cheap image

  • To me that sounds like you need a good gardener or even a builder/labourer that's not afraid of hard work rather than someone who is a landscape gardener as such.


    I'd ask around.   There's no substitute for referrals and recommendations.  If you're on facebook possibly start there by asking your friends if they've ever had similar work done and who would they recommend.


  • cathy43cathy43 Posts: 373

    If possible I would try for a personal recommendation.

    As you have a definite idea of what you want and you know your design I would be inclined to go for a builder to do the work you have listed and a gardener for any planting. 

    Its just a personal thing but I think the title landscaper just adds to the bill as this person is then likely to get a builder and gardener to do the work, fine if you don't know what you want or want more design ideas. Either way, see who you can get trusted recommendations for.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,847

    Do you know the website ? You join your local one and it's a brilliant way to get recommendations from your neighbours for local tradesmen etc. 

    I've also got good plants/tools etc for nothing or next to nothing or swapsies. 

    Sort of like Gumtree but less money oriented and more friendly.  There's also a Lost & Found page for pets and stuff like that image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,038

    I posted on when I wanted some work done.  I gave a fairly detailed description of the work and the site allows 3 people to contact you by e-mail.  The people who came to me were all very professional, although 1 of them was more used to coppicing woodland than garden landscaping.

  • richhondacrichhondac Posts: 222
    All the websites that recommended people are good. But be open to their ideas also as all designs can be improved and they might show you a few tricks you haven't thought of and sometimes designs have to be changed so they can be built.
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    When I needed some landscaping done last year I made a list similar to yours. I then checked yellow pages for local landscapers and checked their individual websites for photos of jobs done. I then phoned 3 firms, 2 of which got back to me. They then visited my garden, I gave them a copy of the list which had sizes on it ie paved circle 10 feet in diameter etc etc, discussed the details with them (type of brick, colour of gravel etc). They then sent me a written quotation a week later. Well pleased with the result. And it helped enormously for me to have written down all the work required. I got an all-in quote but you may want the quote broken down into separate bits of work if you want to cherry pick it or do it in stages. Nobody I had known had had a landscaper before but I then recommended the firm I used to other people.
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,038

    When we we're having our garden done I stated the intended size of the patio.  The reaction was "Are you building a patio or a helicopter landing pad?".  He thought the patio would be too big, and thankfully I took his advice.  It's still about 20 x 15!

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