Gardens can perform many functions, be it storage, outdoor living, parking, security, or simply somewhere to relax. And for many homeowners the look and function of their garden matters just as much as the interior of their home.
Landscaping generally involves any activity that changes the main features of a particular area of ground. While this may include horticultural gardening, that is to say working with plants, it mostly involves design of particular features along with the construction of hard landscape features, such as walls, patios, pathways, terraces, ornamental features such as ponds and other water courses and so on.
A good landscaper will be able to blend both soft (i.e. plants) and hard features in a harmonious way and should have at least a basic knowledge of horticultural techniques alongside construction skills and knowledge.
Gardening, as in horticultural gardening, can in some ways be an equally specialist field, sometimes even more specialist depending on the range of plants involved. Many gardeners have at least a basic knowledge of botanical latin alongside expertise in various techniques such as pruning, planting, preparation of ground, weed control, pest and disease identification and cure. Gardeners may also be very well versed in garden design.
Fencing is essential for defining and protecting the boundaries of a particular space and is not as easy as one might assume. A fencing contractor will have to work with different types of ground and soil structure, be aware of the effect of different climatic conditions on different fencing materials and be well versed in basic construction techniques such as trenching, mixing and laying concrete and so on.
Keeping a well maintained garden can be a big job. Depending on the size of your outside space, it can be an extremely time consuming job. Throw in busy lives with demanding jobs and equally demanding family life then it’s little wonder gardens get overlooked. Unfortunately, left to its own devices, it won’t take long for a garden to start looking unsightly until it gets to the point of becoming unmanageable.
Landscaping has both obvious and not so obvious benefits which includes:
Many if not most firms will specialise in all three disciplines (landscaping, gardening and fencing) and some of those at least will offer particular garden maintenance packages, such as ‘lawn care’, shrub planting, pruning and planting of trees and so on. Firms should offer a free estimate in the first instance and it is a good idea to contact a range of companies and compare quotes. You should also investigate and check just how experienced the company’s contractors are as the risks of not doing so can be severe. Poor pruning skills for example can lead to shrubs and trees suffering a range of pests and diseases and the effects of poor landscaping skills can be even more serious, a patio that is improperly laid and which starts to crack and subside is very costly to repair or replace.
Whether you’re looking to add a touch of the Mediterranean or a flavour of Morocco, want a low maintenance garden or are aiming for a contemporary minimalist outside space, a landscape design service will meet all your requirements and offer a variety of services, including:
A good landscaping company will also produce a design or plan as well as a breakdown of costs. The company should base the design on an initial survey and the plan should include details of the materials the company intends to work with. This is important because there is often a wide variation in the quality of different materials and also in practices. A simple test is to ask a contractor about fencing. If it becomes clear that he is going to sink fence posts directly into the ground, then avoid like the plague. Fence posts should be erected in metal fencing stakes or they will rot, and these should preferably be sunk into a concrete base.
So, the best advice is to do a little research beforehand, look at a range of company websites, compare a wide range of quotes and check experience. And remember, the best contractors are not necessarily the cheapest! Builder Guide will be able to recommend a variety of services and companies, both local and regional, who can meet your needs, from decking supply and installation, to landscaping, installing gates and fencing, tree surgery and garden maintenance.
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