Thinking about having some landscape gardening work done can be daunting as it requires a lot of thought, planning, organising and decision making to get done. To help you throughout the whole process are landscape gardeners.
They can help you every step of the way as it can be a timely and expensive process. Hiring a professional to help is important as they will help you to get it right to ensure the garden lasts and looks beautiful.
If you are unsure on what exactly landscape gardeners do and would like to learn more, if you are interested in having some work done yourself, or if you are looking for some landscaping ideas then you should read on as we have all of this information here for you!
What Jobs Do Landscape Gardeners Do?
There are a large range of tasks that landscape gardeners do depending on their skills, experience and amount of people on the team. Jobs range from construction to moving lawns and planting.
Landscape gardeners work with their clients to create a design for the project, source any materials and labourers and then can also get their hands dirty to install, plant and build anything necessary.
The following is a list of some of the jobs that landscape gardeners do. Of course there are landscape gardeners who will do more and some less, depending on their skill set and experience.
- Design – some landscape gardeners will meet with their clients to discuss their needs and desires for the project. They then produce sketches, plans and designs to see what the final product may look like.
- Hiring – they also tend to be in charge of hiring equipment and recruiting any additional labourers if necessary. They also will procure the materials needed such as wood, cement, and soil.
- Patios and paths – there are a different range of styles and materials including stone, block paving, concrete slabs for both paths and patios. There will be different specs and requirements depending on what they will be used for, for example if they are used for cars or pedestrians.
- Fences and gates – different types of fences suit different gardens depending on what you are looking for in terms of aesthetics, material and safety. A landscape gardener can help you decide which fence type is best for you and how to install them.
- Walls, terraces and brickwork features – brickwork does not always only apply to walls. Terraces and fountains are other features that can be designed and organised by a landscape gardener.
- Decking, gazebos and sheds – landscape gardeners can tell you which type of materials would be best, whether they need to be treated or not and where they could be placed in the garden.
- Lawns – whether it’s mowing the lawn or choosing which type of grass to plant or buy, a landscape gardener can help. They know about draining and if it is necessary for your garden and if so, where to drain excess water to.
- Ponds – designing and installing a pond is also on the list of what a landscape gardener can do. They will know the best place to put it, how to fix it properly and can advise on maintenance for the future.
- Planting – some landscape gardeners will also be able to assist with planting flowers, shrubbery, and trees, however others may be more skilled in the construction side and less the gardening.
- Lighting – lighting can be an important factor for those with large gardens or for front gardens. Landscape gardeners can help you to decide which lighting would be best where, for example lights attached to the house or under a deck e.c.t.
Where to Begin
When thinking about getting some landscape gardening work done, you have a very important decision to make: should I hire a professional or do it myself? Well, now you know the types of tasks that a landscape gardener can do, you can start thinking about whether you will need a professional’s help or not. If you are looking to hire a professional, there are a few aspects that you should consider.
There are a few steps to take before the work can get started so it is important to know where to begin before you approach anyone about doing some work for you.
Firstly, you want to think of a general plan before you contact any landscape gardener. This is so you can give them a general idea of what you are looking for so they can let you know if they can help your or not. This saves both yours and their time as without a plan you may talk to them at great length before they realise that they may not be the person best suited to help you.
A plan will involve thinking about what exactly it is that you want, for example do you want a highly decorative, luscious looking green space? Are you thinking about building a patio and decking for a pool or hot tub? Do you need space for children or pets to play in? All of these scenarios will require different skill sets and therefore a different landscape gardener.
You should also be thinking about the location of each feature so that when you get talking to a landscape gardener they can offer their opinion on what would be best. For example, you may not have considered the position of the sun when thinking about installing a patio seating area, but a professional will consider all options and go through them with you in order to get the best result for your project.
We have touched upon it in this guide but there are certain landscape gardeners that specialise in aspects of landscaping that others do not. This can also depend on your knowledge levels and how confident you feel in organising your project. For example you may be looking for a designer to make your vision into a drawing or sketch to work from, or you may be needing a good gardener who can help you plant beautiful plots of flowers.
This is where you will need to research exactly what it is you are looking for in order to get in contact with the right person.
A skilled gardener will be able to recognise certain plants, give advice on how to plant them and recommend how to keep them well maintained.
A garden designer will be able to listen and communicate well, making suggestions and creating the perfect look based on what you tell them.
A good landscaper will be more practical in offering what you need by giving advice and explain the process of installing whatever it is you require.
Get Some Quotes
When you have decided the specialism that you are looking for, it is a good idea to get a few quotes from different landscape gardeners. Quotes are typically free and mean that you can get a better idea of the market and how much your project is realistically going to cost.
Coming up with a specification and maybe a simple sketch can really help the landscape gardener to figure out what you are looking for. From there you can ask for a breakdown of all costs including design, materials and labour. You can also request to see past examples of their work, how much experience they have, if they have a team working with them and proof of their insurance.
This may sound a little excessive but as you landscape garden can be a big project that is usually quite the investment, you want to be sure that you are going with the right team to help you complete the job.
You can then compare your quotes and information received to make an informed decision on who to work with based on everything that you know.
Once you have your quotes and are happy with your chosen landscape gardener it is crucial to have good communication from then on with them. This I because, depending on the size of the project, you could be working with them for months and you want to make sure that you are being regularly updated with what is happening.
If you have good communication with them you are guaranteed to be involved at every step whether it be deciding what colour the stone path is going to be to the orientation of a fountain, no matter the task, communication is key.
A tip is to keep a record of what is said over the process so that if there are any misunderstandings along the way, there is a record of what you discussed. This is of course a just in case scenario but as said, the project could span over months so it is a good idea to cover both your back and theirs by keeping a record of conversations and agreements.
Landscape gardening can add great appeal to your home whether that be to the front garden or back garden. Here are some tips that will help you if you are new to landscape gardening or if you have had a few projects done before.
- Plan for year-round appeal
When thinking about what you want the final look to be for your landscaping project, try to image what it will be like in all seasons. As landscaping can be an investment, you want to be able to look at and admire all of the hard work all year round. This means thinking about which plants will survive which seasons and investing in coverings for patios or decking.
- Start small
If you are new to the landscape gardening game then you may want to consider starting small to then develop your garden over time. This means you can plan and execute a beautiful project without getting overwhelmed by a long and tiresome project when you lack the knowledge and understanding that comes with learning more about landscape gardening through experience.
- Spend time thinking about what you want
Quickly coming up with a design for your project will not result in a smooth process. You need to sit out in your garden for a while and mull over the options that you like. Taking time to do this as well as research online will lead to you making smarter choices that will work long term, compared to rash decisions that may not be viable.
- Only do what you are comfortable with
It is important to listen to the experts but also keep in mind your vision. Considering the investment you are making, you do not want to end up with a garden that took less time to complete but is not what you wanted. Remember that it is your project and that the landscape gardeners should be working with you to create the garden of your dreams rather than telling you what you do.
Keep in mind that they are the professionals and most likely will have more knowledge than you, however, this comes back to having good communication with them and coming to a compromise to get the best final product.
- Be open to change
There is the possibility that if you are looking to do a large landscape gardening project then you may find that certain ideas are not viable or plans may need to change. You must try to be patient as things may go wrong, however, by being open to small changes and by letting the experts guide you, the experience of having your garden landscaped will be more enjoyable and less stressful for all.
You may notice that as the project is happening, certain features do not look how you imagined. It is okay to go off the book in some cases as the landscape gardeners will work with you to find what you want. Being open to change may result in fee changes, however, that is a decision that is up to you and what you want the final project to look like.
You may be thinking that you want some landscape gardening work done but do not know where to begin or that you need some inspiration and ideas. If so, then you’ve come to the right place as we have got some top tips and tricks on how to maximise the space of your garden and make it look gorgeous too!
- Focal point
Giving your garden a focal point whether that be a sculpture or a fountain, a tree or plot of flowers will give the design of your garden an extra touch that will draw anyone in. It also sets apart your garden from any others as it is an added touch by you to create the look that you are going for, making your garden feel more personalised.
The eye can not help but follow a curve. Doing your landscape gardening so that there are smooth curves lining your garden will give a softer and more relaxed feel than any harsh edges.
Lining curves with flowers or shrubbery is a simple way to make your garden look classy and elegant without spending too much money which is always an added bonus!
Connecting points of interest with a walkway is a great way to ensure that any grass or lawn is kept in good condition and makes for an appealing looking garden. A steppingstone effect is a great addition to a garden and can connect different features, giving visitors a reason to have a look at all of your hard work.
Keeping your garden looking beautiful all year round can be a challenge when you are maintaining it yourself. You should aim to do regular work in the garden in order to keep it in tip top shape!
What To Look For In Garden Maintenance
- Uneven paths and broken paving
- Garden walls in need of repair
- Vegetation causing damage to paving and walls;
- Areas that are regularly waterlogged
- Joinery and metalwork with peeling paint, decay or rust
- Damaged roofs to outbuildings
- Blocked drainage gullies.
Garden Wall Maintenance
Garden walls need to be maintained in just the same way as the walls of a house. They are often more vulnerable to damage as trees and shrubs can grow through them, as well as their tops being exposed to the weather such as rain and frost.
- Remove vegetation that will potentially damage walls and cut back plant or tree roots that may undermine them
- Relay loose or missing copping stones and ensure pointing between them is sound
- Replace badly eroded stones or bricks
- Where necessary, repoint with a lime mortar
- Dry stone walls, built without any mortar or cement, should be repaired by a professional
Repairing Garden Gates
Gates can define the entrance to a garden, so their style and condition play a vital role in creating a great first impression. If not properly maintained they may stick, squeak or wear.
- Check latches and stays
- Keep hinges and other moving parts well-greased
- Ease with oil or WD-40 if stuck
- Paint or refinish
- Repair damaged sections
- With metal gates, contact a blacksmith if parts are worn or repairs are needed
- Ensure house names or numbers attached to gates are clear and readable.
Wind damage and rot are the biggest issues with fences, so ensure posts are sound and not rocking, and that fence panels themselves are securely fixed.
- Posts tend to break at the point they enter the ground, so consider either reinforcing with concrete spurs or installing wooden posts on metal spikes so the timber doesn’t have direct contact with the ground
- When replacing posts use pressure treated timber where possible
- Periodically treat fence panels and posts with a wood protection product
- To create a more wildlife-friendly and attractive natural boundary, consider replacing fencing with hedging
- Replace and repair slipped fence panels.
Garden Path Maintenance
Helping to define the shape and feel of a garden, paths are formed from a variety of materials including slate, shingle, pebbles, bricks, and stone, which mellow beautifully with age. The bonding or laying patterns of these materials often reflect traditional styles, and granite sets are sometimes laid in fan formation.
Wherever possible, avoid lifting and relaying an old path because the original character, wear patterns and patina will be lost.
- Straighten and repair edgings that contain the path and keep it clear of soil and debris
- Relay sections of path that have become loose or damaged over time into a bed of sand or a weak mortar mix
- Photograph old paths or draw a plan before lifting any parts so that the different elements can be accurately relaid
- Maintain the path’s ‘camber’ or fall so water is shed efficiently
- Remove moss and mud that is making a path slippery
- Avoid using chemical cleaners or high-pressure water jets as they may damage the surface.
- Repair joinery items such as windows and doors
- Check roofs and repair with suitable materials
- Repoint walls with lime mortar
- Repoint walls with lime mortar
- Decorate all woodwork regularly
- Ensure locks work and buildings are secure
- Clean windows
Your garden can be a truly wonderful space, one that can be cherished and enjoyed by all of the family. This year we have probably spent more time there than anywhere else! Taking the time to do landscape gardening can make a world of difference, and is definitely worth the effort.
With our top tips we have no doubts that you will soon have a garden of perfect beauty! Do remember that good maintenance is crucial to keeping your garden looking and feeling great.