If you’re reading this, the odds are you aren’t a landscaper. But you might be looking to hire one. The problem is there are so many landscaping companies out there, how do you choose the right one for you? How can you find out if they are reliable, or if they have the skills you need for your project? So today, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 things you should ask your landscape gardener – before they lift a spade.
How Long Have You Been A Landscaper?
First things first, find out how experienced your landscaper is. We all have to start somewhere, but the longer your landscaper has been working, the more experience and knowledge they will have. They are also more likely to have a wider skill set and the kind of deep understanding you need if things go wrong. Choosing an experienced landscaper means you are in safe hands every time.
What Sort Of Training Did You Have?
School and college aren’t for everyone, and a degree isn’t always relevant to hands-on work like landscaping. So this question isn’t about GCSE’s and A-Levels, but about how the landscaper got into the trade, and how they learnt the theory behind the practice. Landscaping is usually learnt through a combination of:
- By working alongside an experienced landscaper who can explain and educate as they go
- Attending specific courses for techniques or products.
For example, at JB Landscapes we trained with Bradstone, so we are qualified to install paving, driveways, walling, edging and more, to their standards.
Are You A Member Of A Trade Organisation?
Belonging to a trade association is completely optional for landscapers, but it is a great measure of quality and integrity. Trade unions usually have a thorough vetting process for all its members, and they are re-tested frequently to ensure quality. A trade union membership will typically mean the landscaper has:
- Proved that they work to high standards
- Been checked for honesty and transparency
- Got all the necessary insurances in place
- Frequent and ongoing training to encourage staff to develop their skill set
Are You Insured?
If your landscaper isn’t a member of a trade association, then you should ask to see evidence that the business is insured. Public liability is an absolute minimum, but ideally further insurance that covers you, equipment and damages should be present as well.
Are You CDM Compliant?
CDM stands for Construction (Design and Maintenance) standards, and is all about keeping you, your visitors and anyone working on your site safe. It’s a set of government regulations all around Health and Safety and managing risk on work sites. These regulations state that you – the householder – are responsible for health and safety unless you appoint a principal designer and contractor. If you work with JB Landscaping, we sort all that out for you, but not all landscapers will. You can find out more about CDM here.
How Long Do You Think The Job Will Take?
This one’s important, because landscaping work can be quite disruptive to your life. While you should expect a firm start or finish date (because things like bad weather can delay progress), but it’s good to have a rough idea so that you can plan around it.
Will There Be An Unexpected Costs?
The whole concept of unexpected costs is that they’re… well… unexpected. But before they start your landscaper should give you a detailed breakdown of your quote, including what each part of the job will cost. The will have carefully priced each section, but sometimes there might be hidden surprises. For example, they might start groundworks and discover hidden cables or piping underground that need to be moved. Some landscapers will absorb that cost, while others will want to discuss the situation and perhaps make changes to the plan to make sure the project stays within budget. Find out which approach your landscaper prefers so that you can be prepared.
What Time Do You Start Work In The Morning?
There are some rules and regulations around when workers can start in the morning, especially if they’re working with machinery or other noisy equipment, but it’s always worth checking when your workman are planning to start and finish each day. This way you can warn the neighbours about the work and reassure them that it won’t be going on at unsociable hours.
Are There Any Safety Issues I Need To Warn Visitors About?
This sort of comes in under the CDM question, but it deserves its own section, since it’s things you as the homeowner need to know about. Landscaping requires a lot of digging, moving things around and general disturbances of your familiar ground. Your landscaper should make sure you have safe passage to your door, and that any holes are lit or marked, and that you’re told about them. That way you can be sure to let visitors to your house know about any potential hazards in advance. It also protects your nice new landscaping once it’s done. Freshly laid paving or turf needs a few days to settle in, so you might need to remind folks not to frolic on the lawn right away.
How Do You Like Your Tea?
For a tradesman, the most important question of all! In all seriousness, we do need to stay hydrated while we work, and the more you can help us with that, the better!
At JB Landscaping, we’re always happy to answer all of these questions, and any more you may have as well! To find out more about our landscaping services (or us), just get in touch with us today.