Top Questions To Ask A Landscaper?
What questions should customers ask before hiring a landscaping company?
- What Do They Add?
"Talk over your plans with the landscapers. They should be asking questions like 'what are you going to do here?'. They should be adding to your ideas."
"Insurance. Be wary if they have none or if the answer is evasive. You're liable for someone working on your premises."
"Ask to see their portfolio. Do they try and do something a little bit different with each garden or do they do the same thing every time? Are they creative?"
- Experience and Qualifications
"Landscaper's level experience or qualifications would be one of the most important things for me. And preferrably, they should have both. The type of experience is important too - domestic landscaping issues are very different to commercial landscaping."
"Will any of the work be subcontracted? If so, who's going to be supervising the landscaping job? Are the subcontractors insured too"
>What Should Client Bring To Process
What should the client bring to the process?
"What they want from the garden and their own ideas for the garden. Also, what materials they like or better still, what materials they don't like."
"Budget. Some people are wary of revealing their budget in case they get ripped off. But, if a clients knows what they want and their budget, we can definitely come up with something in budget and they'll end up getting a lot for their money. From a design point of view, it's harder to come up with the best design when I don't know the budget."
What exactly should the quotation include?
"A proposal or quotation from a landscaping company should list all aspects of the landscaping job and all materials. If there is a possibility of any costs changing after further investigation, that should be specified. And remember that an estimate isn't the same as a quotation."
"We provide a full breakdown of costs - feature by feature. We also include a schedule of what work will be done each day, a design sketch, a copy of our insurance certificate, national craftsman of Ireland certificate and 2 pages of references."
When is the landscaper paid?
"I ask for one third up front as a deposit and to cover the cost of materials. Another third is paid when the work reaches an agreed stage. The remainder is paid on completion."
"Never pay the full amount up front. Always hold back a percentage of the fee until the job is finished. Stick to a price and don't pay for something you didn't agree to, unless it's an unforseen cost which couldn't be predicted."
When's The Best Time?
Is there a "best" time of year to hire a landscaper in Dublin?
"Summer is the easiest time for landscapers. The weather is more reliable, the days or longer and the ground condition is better. But it's also the busiest time of year. So, if you contact a landscaper in Summer you may be waiting two months or more to start your garden. In terms of planting, winter or spring is best time of year. With proper care and water, there's no reason why we can't plant anytime of year."
"Any time of year is fine, unless ground is flooded or there's been snow. Grass is dormant during from December - January so obviously that's not a good time to reseed the lawn".
How Long Will It Take?
How long will it take to landscape a garden?
"Typically, it takes 2-3 weeks to completely landscape a small garden."
What's Popular Now
What's popular with Dublin homeowners now?
"Grasses, bamboos and pebbles have been popular for a while now. It's a very swish contemporary look and it's easy to maintain if they're well chosen. Natural stone paving is popular now too."
"Maintenance free pebble areas, sandstone patios and decking are all popular"
Landscaping Likes and Dislikes?
What are your personal landscaping likes and dislikes?
"Favourite trees are Paperbark Maple (Acer Griseum) and Laburnum (Laburnum vossii) which has good colour and shape, though note that the seeds are poisonous. Favourite shrubs are Vibernum "Davidi", lavenders, bamboos and grasses and sarcococca - it looks well, is easy to look after and is relatively inexpensive."
"Lighting - a few coloured bulbs can really lift a garden. A patio area where you can avail of the sun. Ferns and rhoddendrums. Also pebble beds with nice planting."
"Each garden is different and the garden itself nearly dictates what should be done. What I like is for something that's a little bit different - not a standard look. I like simple styles and natural materials such as timber; simple water features; for planting - maybe woodland planting with trees and ferns."
Top Landscaping Tips
What are your top landscaping tips for homeowners?
- Look At Sample Materials
"It's a good idea to see a sample of the materials beforehand. Ask your landscaper to show you samples or go to the garden centre yourself."
- Do As Much As You Can Afford
"A landscaping project will work out more expensive in the long run if you break it up into a number of smaller jobs."
- Pay For A Design
"I think it's pays to pay for a design first. A landscaper can put a lot more effort into a paid design than into a design that's part of a tender. In the long run, this can mean that the project is better planned."
- Beware Of Bargains
"It's a cliche. But if the quote seems too good to be true, it probably is. Good workmanship doesn't come cheap. You should get quotes from a number of landscaping companies."
- Be Open To Changes
"Be open to changes. Changes always involve more work. So, if I suggest a change it's going to be for the better."
- Look For Practicality
"It's all very well to have Diarmuid Gavin garden design ideas, but they can have hugh maintenance costs. You want a garden that will take minimum maintenance for maximum rewards."
- Rubbish Alert
"If there's a lot of garden waste to remove, the landscaping company may use a truck to pick it up at the end of the day instead of putting it into a skip. Ask about this if you don't want a pile of garden waste on your road for the day".