Tuesday, 2 March 2010
When I receive a call to go and see a garden, I need to be quite firm on a
That the client is serious about having a job done,
they have a realistic idea of the budget,
that my time and expertise will be covered for the consultation and
that both the clients are there for the meeting.
Because I’m dead serious about wanting to help my client, and my ideas, my report on the garden afterwards and my years of experience are worth it. The cost of this will be offset if the design work is implemented and having both clients there, gives me the clarity to understand the desires of the brief fully (no third party translation, it doesn’t work) and the direction in which the design should go.
It is also good to know if they have experience of using designers previously – on an extension to the house for example, so that there is a familiarity with the budgeting process, the recognition and importance of the managerial side and expertise that is involved. (you would not want to do it yourself!)
There are great Landscaping trade bodies BALI and APL, Trust Mark and local Be Sure and Buy with Confidence, and they have merit, but what if there are 9 or 10 firms in your area who are members? Your choice.
Alternatively there is the Word of Mouth route, the greatest form of recommendation known to man. There are times however that I have seen finished gardens with a very happy client willing to recommend to all and sundry. On closer inspection however the quality of the work has been extremely poor, and the end result is happiness without knowledge (I’ve paid a lot of money for this so I am going to love it, err I don’t know, Is it any good?)
So check who you are going to use and demand references, check their Health and Safety policies and view a portfolio of work, a web site is a good place to start.
At GardenEye we give you the widest choice of contractor, taking away the uncertainty of who to use. We are knowledgeable and familiar with tradesmen of all types from excellent pavers’, to fencers, lighting specialists, irrigation specialists, maintenance and plant specialists, pool companies etc etc... and registered landscaping firms who excel in their fields, depending on what your garden requires, and in the local area where possible.
We know them, vet their work regularly and help them if needed by putting forward a job spec that creates a level playing field for all who wish to tender – and we pass their price straight to you, no mark ups, no backhanders, no subcontracting = great value.
So the hard work and decision making is done. Less hassle and time wasting for you.
There are cowboys out there, so beware, but there are also highly skilled young landscapers starting their own concerns and many quality landscapers forced into self employment by redundancy. These contractors often have many years of experience behind them and are more willing than most to put the extra effort in to make sure the project works out properly.
This area had to be completely re-thought. The tree which you can just about make out (a stunning acer) was given a tree bench and the bed removed to create a better flow of the lawn and a perfect outdoor seating area, with a lavender hedge going round this creating beautiful scent and flowers for the heat of the summer. It is well located near the back door to the house and gets sun all through the summer months although it is technically north facing.The acer is lit up at night from underneath and the circle of paving is lit by a beautiful 'moonlight' from the top of the house. The BBQ also doubles as a fire pit to keep the evening alive into the night.