Picture the scene…
Mrs Jones has just had her extension completed and is sitting having coffee with a friend. “I have to get the garden done now,” she says, “do you know any good landscape gardeners?” “Oh no, don’t do that,” says her friend, “they’ll cost a fortune. I know a builder who will do it for half the price.” “Well,” says Mrs Jones, “all I want is a simple patio with a wall, and a couple of steps up to the lawn.” So she calls the builder.
Fast-forward five years. The patio has a big puddle problem, the slabs have weathered to a dull brown, and not much grows in the flower beds. The patio only looks good three months of the year but even then Mrs Jones doesn’t sit outside. Things would have been so much better had she used the right person for the job.
So, why choose a landscape gardener over a builder?
These are just a few reasons:
- Soil- it’s very complicated. There are issues with drainage, structure, and compaction. Often a builder will throw all the soil that has been dug out for the foundations into the flower beds, mixing top soil with sub soil and rubble. Mrs Jones is then surprised when her new plants (which weren’t cheap) struggle. In addition there are different types of soil, and each will react differently to being built upon. Hence Mrs Jones’ patio has sunk in places – causing puddles.
- Drainage – this covers everything from run-off water, to position of down pipes from the gutter, to drainage in the flower beds and compliance with the latest Sustainable Urban Drainage regulations (SUDS) another topic for later….
- The right materials. A landscape gardener will have a broader knowledge of landscaping products, and will know, for example, how stone weathers, which materials withstand frost, how timber reacts to the elements, and even which type of gravel to use. It is important that the right materials are used so that the patio looks good year after year, and holds up to the elements.
- The “wow” factor. Perhaps the strongest argument for a landscape gardener is their experience and knowledge with regard to design. And not surprisingly we can present options to save money due to our experience. Did Mrs Jones really need a big, block patio for an outdoor eating area? Is the patio in proportion to the rest of the garden? Are the slabs and bricks used, and the style, in keeping with the house? A landscape gardener can provide more design options, which means scope to save money, to maximize the outdoor space, and to incorporate a design “wow” factor bang on trend.
At first glance a landscape gardener may seem more expensive because we do it right, but in the long term, we are better value for money, can provide outstanding design, know the right materials to use, and know how to avoid future problems. Mrs Jones wouldn’t choose a seamstress to upholster her sofa, or an electrician to fix her boiler. The right person for the right job means the right result.
Bye for now – Brett
Next post – 5th March – Small Garden Design.