Marshalls Register Accredited Landscaper Contractor R03703 (click to verify)

How to choose a landscaper

It is very important to understand the spec and what makes a good quality finish and structure. A detailed bill of quantities detailing specifications and drawing or sketch shows competence. A design process with visual expectations show consideration of client choice. An ability to give cost and design revisions also is important. Project can be large and small and expensive or lower value but attention to detail should be able to be discussed early both verbally and in planning docs how ever simple. There are British Standards and industry guidelines that are regularly not followed. It's also important to be listened to about lifestyle and functional areas to make sure the space is suitable for you, as well as the budget expectation managed.

Planning: Underestimating I see a-lot of times which end up with conflict and poor quality outcomes for many reasons mostly related to experience. Lack of vision for elevations only discovered half way through a project which requires additional works which mean the contracor cuts corners or the client is left with a unfinished project.

Cost expectation: This can be achieved early through a design process and a simple cost expectation exercise. I regularly go to client designs for tender where is ends up way over what the client expected.

Design: Bad material choices where colour and style have not been considered, lack of overall shape and transition of space, no considering client requirements in terms of function, long term use, next phase requirements.

Lack of vision with overall design - doesn't always need to be about cost - just some simple ideas about a nice touch, for example some planting spaces.

Client naivety: Hard to discuss but I am regularly first visit on a new project and sometimes feel undervalued. There are many mis conceptions in this industry that our job is simple when in fact a landscaper is a very multi-skilled role. I pay top rates to my team, have a good management structure and we spend years developing our team skills and nurturing new members.

Clients being emotionally manipulated: Without sounding harsh people give people a chance and it is how people learn, and landscapers tend to be very charming and sell the dream or sell saliva but the formal proposal should do the talking.

Logistics, site set up and site closure overruns: Messy sites, no staggering of deliveries causing blocking of public space or car parks, poor understanding of phasing commonly leads to rushing to get off site and no detail in finish or lack of quality.

Attitude: That will do attitude and culture. Simple. Or even agression with a client when it goes wrong.

Management: Poor communication of design and expectation to client and any team despite verbal communications and smiles.

Water management: No angles considered, french drains around houses not considered, water running to footings of house.

Soft landscaping: This is a great thing that brings spaces together and should always be considered to prevent a dry garden. It is nature and is a great part of a garden to remember - it is nature at its most interesting.

Driveways and paving: Sub bases made of cheaper crushed concrete rather than type 1 granit MOT means the fine particles in crushed wash away and subsidence occurs.

Two layers are not compacted in two sittings meaning ever so slight subsidence after vehicle use (very common). Lack of edgings installed creating subsidence. Lack of making good tarmac, not connecting drain systems correctly, and not using edgings the whole way around and not leaving a shingle gap between edging and house for the splash-back effect. Paving laid on sand is a big no, a 5cm concrete bed should be used.

Fencing: damp proof sleeves hot air wrapped onto posts prevent rot, 1.5 bags of post mix in every hole ensure long term stability, 40cm depth in post holes, gravel boards used regardless of install type, gaps always at 1.8-2.4m as this offers stability.

Decking: postcrete installed for posts, shingle installed over membrane to prevent weeds, minimum 47x150mm bearers and noggins, 5 degree falls for water management, composite subframe used for extra long life or bitumen coated subframe at minimum, bearers never over 40cm, always consider using compressed composite decking from Millboard if possible, posts securely fastened and clean cuts offer detail in finish and well installed fixtures prevent long term deterioration.

A good landscaper will be able to see the phasing and logistical requirements of the project within a reasonable time and should be able to account for the costs of these issues. However, as with most building projects, things can change with new ideas or discoveries and a professional team will understand that the consumer act states a consumer must be given the opportunity to cancel or change an order or anything relating to the cost of their project. A detailed construction phase plan, safety plan and drawing along with supporting specification which is industry standard in commercial settings prevents many if not all of these issues and is required for a reason. In commercial and large scale tenders there are entire teams dedicated to the planning and costing processes which shows the importance of good documentation and planning even on a small scale.

Common questions about projects and getting started

Its important for us that you know everything we can do and how we want to exceed your expectations. We have put together some common questions about how projects are planned, executed and completed in relation to our services.

We have created a document to help you allocate budget with guideline prices of the core types of work we undertake, click here to download. This is a guide for average prices easy to understand.

Every project has different requirements in terms of materials, waste, design and labour which is why we offer our free quote service. Our experience tells us most larger projects, in average sized gardens cost between £6,000 and £30,000 massively depending on scale and has been charged per square metre or linear of work undertaken, plus costs of general groundwork's preparation, clearance and plant hire.

There is also a design fee we charge between £300-£3000 depending on requirements which can make all the difference if you wanted something a bit special or have a large budget which in my opinion the first couple of thousand should go into planning and design. All prices are subject to VAT.

When we arrive we will present our selves with an ID card and business card, and walk through your project with a listening ear. We can draw out new ideas from your existing ideas. We can show you a range of materials and design options for your project on a screen. We will then draw up a formal quote, along with designs and email or post them to you along with a timeline of the project.

Depending on the cost of the project we usually ask for around a 5% deposit to go into the diary paid via debit or credit card via our invoicing system, 45% upon arrival and the remaining 50% 7 days after satisfactory completion preferably via bank transfer. We do not pressure for payments and ensure there is a 7 day cooling off period. In larger projects we set up staged payments for different stages of the project to be paid upon successful completion.

We only accept bank transfer or debit/credit card payments. There are many companies out there under the radar that accept cash and pay no taxes. Would you want people on your property dealing with sometimes large budgets that you have no paper trail if things went wrong or work was sub par?

Very good value. We aim to exceed your expectations on every project. Our staff are well trained, experienced and passionate to complete your project to a high standard. It's also important to remember there is a difference between cheap and good value. It's also important to remember that if a landscaper completes a survey incorrectly, or the price is too low, they will be under pressure to complete the project within the budget and things can go wrong.

This is an important element of the survey and quote process which we understand. It's important to complete the project to a high standard and allocate the correct time for logistics, labour, clearance and all of the elements required for successful project completion.

Please read our guide on choosing a provider based on value rather than cost here.

Sometimes we do, and this is refunded into your total cost of the job if you choose to use us, this is only charged if the quote is very complex.

We pride our selves on being clear in the survey stage to ensure there are no hidden costs, if you require additional work we will give you a quote for that work before carrying it out. Sometimes ideas change and we need to charge for any additional materials or labour.

No. We usually only need access to water which most properties have outside. Lots of our customers go on holiday while we complete the work.

No, we carry out every aspect of the job and arrange any clearance included in the job. If a permit is required we handle with the council and ensure the skip meets safety regulations such as lights.

It's important to have a process and follow it to avoid surprises and ensure quality. Please read more about our process. here

We ensure that we survey correctly which prevents any issues. We only do what we say we can do within our capabilities. When things do go wrong we ensure that we rectify these. We do not cut corners as we only take on the projects that have been surveyed correctly and appropriate quotes agreed. We give honest feedback during the design and planning stages. We never pressure a client for money other than agreed in the payment schedule. We will never raise the final invoice until we have agreement, between our team and the client, that the work is to standard

A survey gets down to the nitty gritty and consists of creating a base plan drawing that deals with exact measurements, elevations, material choices and any other potential details that may arise. We don't conduct this until you have accepted our quote.

I have a usual thought process here - no you can't - we are professionals. However, the reality is you can go through the pain and mistakes me and my team have made building our skills and resources to where they are and maybe on your 3rd (or 10th) garden, with all the complexities and different components of a typical project, you might achieve the quality and efficient methods we can attain, but for now - why not let us do what we do - and let us understand your requirements and build something special for you.

We currently have 8 years of combined experience, as well as me being a project management professional and passionate designer, together with trade contacts, besides the £40,000 of tools, equipment and specialist vehicles we use on most larger projects (yes, not just a shovel)! There is a reason why we get paid - because we are very good at what we do.

Short answer - by the time you buy all the tools and develop the skills and resources you probably won't be within the budget we would have charged. But hey, I'm a positive guy and love clients who are passionate and want to get involved. We do prefer you make the tea though if you're not a professional. :-) Please read our guide on choosing a provider based on value rather than cost here.

Budget is calculated based on requirements and functionality first, then design and style and materials choices second. £1000-£30,000 the finish can always be good. I always recommend clients to choose a nice material such as a stylish sandstone, oak, or something colour relevant, however quality and finish don't always mean more money, but as always it's down to the landscape professional who consults and delivers.

This is because of the skilled manpower and tools required to install expensive materials. Scale, planning and quality of finish generally the dependencies in projects. However I have seen quotes that don't represent value so make sure to interview your landscaper and ensure you get all your boxes ticked.

1. We care.
2. Skilled and experienced.
3. Fully managed.
4. Design and style considered throughout the projects.
5. Built to last.

We offer a 25 year warranty on all of our workmanship of sub bases and preparation direct to our clients As we are a registered Marshalls installer, we can offer offer 5 years per on the product cost £50 per £5000 (ex VAT) of Marshalls products under the marshalls warranty if a Marshalls product is used which means all labour and product is covered under the Marshalls 10 year guarantee. https://www.marshalls.co.uk/gardens-and-driveways/usp-model-pages/the-marshalls-10-year-guarantee Covers material defects for a full 10 years and materials produced with Surface Performance Technology for a further 10 years Covers installation defects for 5 years Is valid even if the we cease trading and to protect your investment against inflation Is issued only when inspected and signed as satisfactory by you, the customer Upon receipt of the correctly completed request form and fee, Marshalls will send your guarantee within 5 days Is great value at just £50 (+VAT) per £5,000 of the installed value

Designing my garden

Yes. We do both. For more complex projects we will charge a design fee, however we can prepare you a more simple design for free with choice of materials, layouts, and examples.

Yes we have great nurseries on hand to provide value plants, trees and shrubs at great value and can design beautiful beds that will grow into themselves. Depending on your interest, whether it be colour, smell, wildlife or low maintenance we can help you achieve a beautiful bed. We work with a soft landscaper also who performs site visits at a nominal fee to discuss options and preferences and produces a proposed scheme.

We produce stylised gardens based on your requirements, and the style of the property and location. These may range from roof terrace design, contemporary garden design, modern garden design, classic gardens, traditional garden design, formal gardens, wild gardens and more. Please refer to our Portfolio for examples of our work across a broad range of garden styles.

There is a lot to think about and, if you are struggling or want the eye of a garden expert cast over your outdoor space, a garden designer can lead you through the jungle! Here are some top tips. Do a Pinterest board to pull together ideas of gardens that you have seen that you like Discover what it is that you want to use your garden for. is it for entertaining, relaxing, or for kids to play in? Be realistic about what will fit into your garden. If you've got a hectic lifestyle keep it simple. Simplicity is the key! Get rid of clutter. Stick with a couple of good natural materials--Old York stone works well in traditional gardens, while contemporary styles could make use of natural hardwood. If in doubt throw it out Strike the right balance-ignoring the natural elements can leave some gardens looking cold and lifeless. Don't just pick a design that looks good in a brochure -- it may not work for you, as every garden is individual.

Check out our blog post on this topic here. Really covers some great points. Click Here

Moodboards, base plans and illustrations really help our clients visualise and become creative and collaborative during the design and planning process which helps to allocate the budget more effectively. Us being open and honest about the prices, features and related benefits is an important part of our service so our clients can get something they are happy with rather than us. It also helps us plan the project correctly in terms of logistics and phasing and can give you the chance to plan and phase for the future. Read more about our process click here. . Check out our planning basics guide by clicking here.

During the project

During the project we encourage you to come out and speak to the team leader and team members. We set up the whatís app groups for this purpose also as many clients are at work and itís simply easier to communicate. I will suggest any layout ideas early or live even, and related costs. We are client orientated, and want you to be happy with the outcome. If there are any issues please communicate with us and we are happy to discuss additional changes and ideas. A garden is like a blank canvas, creativity is important and most of our projects change as they go. Any changes, as per our terms and conditions must be quoted with a change order added to the quote and the quote authorised in writing.

Simply as much or as little as you want to do. If you want to come out and help please do, you will enjoy working in our team, in terms of parking, deliveries, lorries and other plant equipment arriving we take care of all aspects of the project.

Please try and tell us as early as possible if something is not right, it happens, and we pride our selves on leaving a site with a customer completely happy. Things do sometimes go wrong, but speak to the team leader to raise your concerns and they will be happy to assist.

We clean down the sites we work on every day and leave everything safe.

Our company and partner lorries are all waste carrier licence registered (our registration number is CBDL30903 and certificate is available through this link: (Click Here ). All out waste is recycled legally and usually ends up being processed then going in someone else's garden or building project or to an Amey Cespa Tip.

Very few depending; we have awnings for the rain, chemicals for concrete in freezing conditions. However extremes of hot, freezing and wet do cause delays.

Yes, we perform yearly DBS checks on our operatives. All of our operatives have been screened to be trustworthy and dependable and able to deliver projects from start to finish.

Out teams in the city arrive at 7.30am and outside of the city are leaving the boundary at 7.30am. We don't make noise until 8am in line with law, and start packing up and cleaning at 3.45pm for a 4pm finish.

Check out our letter template we offer for neighbours to show how we are considerate. https://www.cambridge-landscaper.co.uk/downloads/Disruption-letter-for-neighbours.pdf

Regulatory guidelines

Sometimes you do. This can be avoided if the slope is towards a house or the road and proper drainage is installed. Permeable materials also do not require permission. If permission with a drop kerb is required we have a great working relationship with the council's building control department. Apply for drop kerbs if its a new installation of a driveway with the council by clicking here. Download our driveway guide by clicking here.

Yes, we are insured up to two million pounds public liability and ten million employers liability with Covea Insurance Plc. Registered in England and Wales No. 613259. Registered office, Norman Place, Reading, RG1 8DA. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority No. 202277, policy reference B70116960059956. Download a copy of our certificate here. Download a copy of our schedule here.

Have a look at an extract from BS standards documentations by clicking: here

The RHS has a great guide on planting regulations and advisories. Check out their article on this topic by clicking here

We try and not use minimum concrete where possible, we provide any clearance duty of care documents to our clients on request which is regulation as we are licensed waste carriers, and we ensure we partner with responsible waste recyclers such as Dick Searle and Amey Cespa which ensure minimum waste is sent to landfill. We also encourage our clients to have vegetable and herb gardens installed to reduce their individual footprints. A copy of our waste licence can be downloaded here

Obviously we work outside but we give our clients the opportunity for us to wear masks on quotes and prefer to gain access at the rear. We also won't accept refreshments at this time. We keep in our work team bubble and have provided gloves and sanitiser for regular cleaning. Obviously ventilation is not a problem in what we do! We have tried to follow the government guidance as per the advice listed here

Download the regulations garden walling by clicking here

Download the regulations on paving of front gardens by clicking here