A blossoming garden is the goal of many homeowners.
A garden is not just a beautiful place on your property to stroll through and show off to house guests. A garden can increase serotonin levels and boost happiness, grow vegetables and most importantly, feature in fantastic Instagram photos.
While garden maintenance is a necessity for almost every home, not every homeowner has the time and skills to adequately care for a garden. This is where the help of a gardener becomes necessary. Gardeners have the expertise to grow and maintain a thriving garden and also have the tools and equipment to carry the work out.
There’s a lot of gardeners who want your work. But, how do you pick the best one for your garden and budget?
We’ve compiled five things to look out for when you’re looking to hire a gardener. Our easy guide will help you ask the right questions and perform the essential research to laser focus your search. You’ll be stopping to smell the roses in no time.
1 Figure out What You WANT
Your garden has an infinite amount of possibilities. When planning to hire a gardener, the first thing you need to do is to figure out what your garden goals are.
Ask yourself, “what kind of work needs to be done to achieve my dream garden?” The tasks found on job descriptions of a gardener can be seemingly endless. They can perform simple tasks such as mowing the lawn and weeding to complicated tasks like planning seasonal gardens to diagnosing and treating plant infestations.
Research online, look through magazines or even check out your neighbour’s backyard for inspiration and direction. Once you are set on what your future garden may look like, you will have clarity over the type of work you need done and which expert to reach out to.
If you’re looking to grow an award-winning flower garden to be featured in Better Homes & Gardens, you should seek an expert gardener or landscape designer who strategically understands the nuances to creating a garden to allow the plants to work together in an artful manner.
For growing prolific trees in your estate, seek an arborist who specialises in the management and maintenance of big shade trees. For simple garden maintenance like mowing the lawn and watering plants, you can seek out a generalist or all-around gardener.
Find a list of garden experts below and what teach specialises in:
- Arborists – tree surgeons who are experts in growing trees, shrubs, vines and woody plants
- Turf Grass Specialist – growth and management of turf grass for parks and gardens
- Landscapers Architect – the expert when it comes to installing ponds or structures in your garden
- Garden Designers – knowledgeable about all things plants and can plan the layout of your garden
- Irrigation Expert – the go-to when it comes to water management of your garden
- All-around Gardener or Landscaper – someone who can perform the basics of all-around garden maintenance
2 Review their Qualifications
You can start your search for the gardener with the right qualifications once you have pinpointed the type of work you need for your garden. The qualifications may vary depending on the type of work.
While not all gardeners require a physical proof of expertise aside from experience, education is required for those practising a particular field of gardening. A horticulturist should have a diploma of horticulture and several certifications from institutions like TAFE because of the extensive knowledge needed for the job. A landscape designer should have had years of on-the-job training and a certificate or diploma in landscape design. An arborist would need a certificate in arboriculture.
The next question is “Do I need to work with a company or an individual gardener?”.
When you hire a company, you get a slew of services covered. Whether you need a landscaper or a tree surgeon, a gardening company can hook you up with the right person. They can provide a group of specialists to work on big-scale projects and complete a myriad of tasks all at once. A replacement would easily be sent over in case your designated gardener is unavailable. On the flip side, a gardening company often charges more because of associated management fees. A company also doesn’t always advise if your designated gardener has the right qualifications for the job.
If you hire an individual, you’ll have to seek and interview the gardener yourself. It will take more work and time to enlist a set of gardeners and find the right fit for the job; however, you can certify their qualifications and oftentimes obtain a better rate.
3 Check for References
A gardener regularly enters your home and takes care of your plants. You’ll have peace of mind that you have hired someone you can trust if the gardener has good references.
Contact family, friends and co-workers if they know of a good gardener. With a gardener who has worked for a person you know, you’ll be able to get a first person perspective about the quality and style of their work. You can even be able to view their garden to see the results first hand.
Simply looking online on marketplaces like LinkU can help you find a gardener if your family, friends and co-workers don’t have any personal recommendations. Gardening companies have websites and social media platforms where you can scour for real reviews and testimonials left by customers. Authentic customer reviews will grant you insight to the experience of all types of customers for a variety of jobs.
Obtaining a reference for an individual can be trickier. Have an in-depth interview and ask them for the results of their past work experiences and a personal referral.
4 Negotiate for a Fair Price
While there are estimates for gardening work you can find online, the cost for a gardening job is based on the type of work you need, the expertise and experience of the gardener and the situation your garden is currently in. Other factors that play into cost is the length of the work (will it be a single project or a long-term contract) and the urgency of the job.
Create an itemised list of what you need done and estimated cost based on your own research. When working with a company, an account manager will relay your project brief and then get back to you with their recommendation on the work needed, the amount of staff, the length of the project and the price when working with a company. The cost of working with a company can be expensive, but the extra cost is what you pay for the convenience.
Working with an individual, on the other hand, can be cheaper and more personalised. Have a chat over coffee and even give them a tour of your garden. Individuals can create a bespoke job order for you and work around the budget you provide for them. You can even discuss garden maintenance you can do on your own to reduce cost.
For both a company and an individual, intently review the cost estimate line by line and secure a contract. You don’t want to be charged for a task you don’t need to pay for or be surprised by additional charges later on.
5 Verify Licenses and Equipment
In Australia, a gardening or landscaping business needs to register their company and obtain a business permit. Normally, an individual would have their company listed as a sole trader and a bigger operation would be listed as a limited liability company.
Depending on where the business is located in Australia, garden designers and landscapers may need different licenses to operate on larger scale projects. You can find the list of requirements according to each state below:
New South Wales:
- NSW Fair Trading License for work charged over AUD $200
- A structural landscaping license is needed if the work requires any kind of construction.
- Queensland landscaping license for work charged over AUD $3,300
- Builders license
- Supervisor’s license
- Registration with the Building Practitioners Board for projects valued over AUD $10,000
- Domestic Builder – Limited (DB-L) registration card
- No requirement for projects below AUD $12,000
- Supervision is required by licensed building contractors for projects above AUD $12,000.
- Home improvement license depending on the type of work
Aside from a business permit, gardening businesses should have insurance to protect both their company and client. Small business insurance covers material damage and theft. If equipment is stolen or damaged, they can have damaged or stolen equipment quickly replaced for smooth business operation.
With insurance, the company you are working with will have more financial security. Insurance covers third-party property damage and product liability, which means that they will be compensated for any injury during the project. Product liability also protects their business from damage claims on the property they are working on.
Lastly, when hiring a gardener you need to make sure they have the right tools for the job. The arsenal of tools a gardener needs can comprise of a pruner, grass trimmer, leaf blower, lawn mower, rakes, shovels and more.
Highly specialised machinery and gardening instruments may be required for complicated jobs. Go over the project plan in detail to ensure they have all the necessary equipment.
Looking for a gardener?
Post a job request on LinkU and connect with your ideal gardener in minutes. We’ve done the research and fielded out the best gardeners in your local area. You’ll have your dream garden in no time!