10 things to avoid when choosing a gardener

Andrew Little

July 13, 2023

10 things to avoid when choosing a gardener

When it comes to getting help in your garden, choosing a landscape gardener you can trust to do a good job can be tricky. There’s so much choice, everyone offers a free quote and they all sound good on Google, so how do you avoid the cowboys and find the quality people who will do a great job?

7 common mistakes you can avoid 

Avoid Assumptions

Never assume the landscape gardener is an expert in all things landscaping.  Don’t assume…remember the saying…don’t make an ASS out of U and ME. 😉

Of course, you can pick up on a good vibe when you meet the gardener.  He may feel like a person of integrity and honesty, who prides themselves on upholding this image, yet it is still best to do some extra investigation.  

Check for reviews on Google and social media pages to see how their past customers have experienced their service.  You can also look through the comments to see how they may have responded to any difficult situations.  Have they gone back to rectify any problems that may have occurred? 

Also, check through their website and social media pages to see photos of their past work, it should look like this, where you see lots of completed projects that look great. This will give you an understanding of the type and quality of work they have provided.

Avoid the Low Price Trap

Choosing a landscaper based on a very low price can be a big mistake. Instead, your intention should be to make a choice based on the best value.  Look for the value in areas like customer service, easy payment systems and professional communication. These aspects are often undervalued but will make a huge difference to your experience and results.

When budgets are tight it can be easy to want to select that lowball quote, however, this can be a costly move. Your garden and landscaping are your own beautiful environment and this can have a great impact on how you feel on a regular basis.  It’s best to choose wisely and invest in a high-value landscaper for your garden, so you get the service you deserve.

Avoid Hidden Costs

Is the landscape gardener offering a fixed price or an hourly rate?  An hourly rate can be an easy way to quote, however, be careful here as your budget may blow out.  If a landscape contractor simply quotes you an hourly rate for a job, you have no idea of how many hours the job may take, and how productive they are with their time. 

A fixed-rate, on the other hand, is predictable.  Whether it be a fixed rate per maintenance visit, or a fixed price for landscaping projects, you as the customer are always in a position of control, where you can make the decision to go ahead with the job and have confidence that it is a cost you can afford.  

Fixed-rate jobs are great for maintenance as you can easily manage your personal cash flow by allocating the set amount of required funds for each visit on a consistent schedule.

Be sure that the landscape gardener has provided you with clear expectations for the tasks that will be completed.

Avoid Unskilled Contractor

Is the work required within the landscaper’s scope of expertise?  Landscapers are typically called a jack of all trades and for good reason.  Landscape gardening covers a broad spectrum of skills, materials and tasks. 

Some landscapers lean more into soft scaping, which comprises more plant knowledge, mulching and garden maintenance work.  Other landscapers lean into the hardscaping categories and may be professionals when it comes to paving, retainer walls and concrete works, yet be well out of their depth around the garden and plant care. Take 2 Men and a Shovel for example, we have a diversified skill set with experts in both soft scaping and landscape construction too, but this is not common to all landscape gardeners.

So for this reason always ask to find a gardener suitable to your needs.

Avoid Verbal Agreements (they’re not worth the paper they’re written on)

This is such an essential part of the process to obtain quality results and ensure that everyone is happy with the end outcome.  When choosing a landscape gardener the first step is to book an appointment. This first interaction should be seamless and professional, with the option to use an electronic contact form like this one, or to call.

During the appointment, you can describe the works you would like to receive and the landscape gardener can ask questions to gain the best possible understanding of the service and the outcome that is desired.  

Now a quote can be developed and sent through.  The quote should have a very clear description of all the tasks that will be completed to finish the job.  The quote should be set out into clear subcategories with itemised pricing for each section.  Terms and conditions should be outlined at the bottom of the quote.  If you don’t receive a detailed quote or T&Cs then consider that a red flag.

If you do not receive all of this information and your landscape gardener is just giving you a verbal agreement, then you are at risk of having a misunderstanding which could leave a sour taste in your mouth and an unhappy result.

Avoid Limiting Your Choices

A big mistake can be to put all your eggs in one basket.  Yes, you might love the look of a landscaping team that you have found in your local Google search, but it’s still always best to obtain three quotes.  By having all of your eggs in one basket you are limiting your choices and are at risk of a bad result.  

Remember, even the absolute best landscape gardening team will not be the best fit for every person.  Everyone has different needs, budgets and personalities so be sure to obtain three quotes and give yourself the best chance of finding a great fit.

Avoid Perfectionism and Overwhelming Yourself

Are you someone who likes to be very thorough with every decision and can’t bear to make a mistake?  Analysis paralysis is a real thing, and this can flow over into decisions such as choosing the best landscape gardener. 

Although it helps to have a choice, this can be overdone and a waste of your precious time if you end up scrolling through Google and making endless phone calls to find the exact perfect contractor.  Perfectionism can be a trap. A completed garden job is better than spending hours and hours of your precious time seeking the elusive perfect landscape gardener.

If you are at risk of getting bogged down in the details then let me share a shortcut here – come to us, you won’t be disappointed! 

We provide a full landscaping and garden maintenance service, quoted according to your needs and budget. If you want some help, then get in touch here or give us a call at (03) 9013 6588.