Do I pay £700 to have my garden planted?

(16 Posts)
Cucumberscarecrow Sat 25-Jan-14 07:28:53

We have just had our small walled north-west facing courtyard garden hard landscaped and the gardener has estimated £700 for planting it out (£300 for plants and £400 for time and labour). He will do everything from buying to planting to removing waste.

We really like and trust the gardener and know from the design he has done and his portfolio that he would do a good job but it is a lot of money for something we should theoretically be able to do ourselves.

BUT we are clueless and have spent a lot of money on the wrong plants in the past and really want the garden to work this time.

Is there a middle ground? Could he draw out a planting scheme (and possibly even supply the plants assuming he can get a discount/use a trade supplier) but leave you to do the actual planting perhaps which should save on labour costs.

Very jealous of the opportunity to start with a clean slate smile

Parliamo Sat 25-Jan-14 07:41:22

You've already worked out the pros and cons! The question is more if you can afford it.

Or how about half the cost and get the gardener to plant the trees/ big/ structural stuff, and then you can fill it in. It perhaps also depends on how quickly you want it to look 'finished' because you could save money by getting smaller plants and cuttings from friends and neighbours. But will he get trade prices from the nurseries?

Also how confident are you about your green fingers? I've killed a few things by planting them badly!

Parliamo Sat 25-Jan-14 07:42:32

X post!

Great minds grin

LaTrucha Sat 25-Jan-14 07:44:33

If you have the money, I think it would be a lovely thing to do. We have a postage stamp garden. When we moved in it was all concreted over. For my birthday, DH dug up all the concrete, sewed a lawn and made me a border. Best birthday present ever.

bigTillyMint Sat 25-Jan-14 07:47:58

I think £700 sounds reasonable for that job. It is messy and tiring and if (like me) you know nothing about gardening and are not really that interested, but want a nice garden, then it will be money well spent.

Your gardener will probably be getting the plants from a reputable place for about 50% of what you would have to pay (our gardener said this) so it could cost you nearly as much to DIY and it probably won't look as goodwink

LaTrucha Sat 25-Jan-14 07:56:15

I'm actually quite excited for you! i think it would be ace. Like waving a magic wand.

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 25-Jan-14 07:57:34

Depends on what plants he is buying to be honest, plus how much faff it is going to be to get them and put them into your garden.

My main advice with anyone on their garden is to live with it for a year before making any huge purchases, and to know what you want and the cost so that you can trawl at the end of the season and pick up bargains and that way you can save a bomb. Spent your money on the things like feature trees and plants that give you the 'wow' factor, and use annuals that you have grown from seed for the first couple of years whilst you get your planting ideas off the ground.

You could pay him for the planting plan though and DIY.

CuttedUpPear Sat 25-Jan-14 07:58:33

Has your designer given you a plan of the proposed planting? If this is the case you could order the plants yourself.

£400 seems pretty steep for the labour. I work as a garden designer and if I'm planting a small garden, providing all the hard landscaping is done, a day is enough to do the planting - this would include digging in bagged compost to improve the soil.

For £400 I would expect that to include driving to fetch the plants myself and also doing some remedial work on the borders. I guess that perhaps your designer is charging you for the design time? If that's the case you could ask for the design to plant yourself.

If your designer is buying wholesale, £300 buys a LOT of plants. Enough for a medium to large garden. Wholesale trees are around £20, shrubs around a fiver and small perennials will be £2-£4 each. I know that some designers add their percentage on although I don't do that.

Cucumberscarecrow Sat 25-Jan-14 08:02:25

Thank you lovely people. This is really helpful. We haven't got a design for the planting from him. He is a really nice guy and i don't want to waste his time if we are going to do it ourselves. It sounds like it would be worth getting him around for a chat so we could work out what we could do ourselves.

Rhubarbgarden Sat 25-Jan-14 08:03:43

As another poster said, he will be able to source the plants much more cheaply than you would be able to, even if you managed to hunt them all down in sales. If you've already spent money on landscaping and don't feel particularly competent at planting yourself, then it would be a shame to cut corners now.

CuttedUpPear Sat 25-Jan-14 08:09:41

It might well be worth paying for the planting plan only and finding the plants yourself if you are trying to save money.

Fouette Sat 25-Jan-14 08:11:03

I'd get him to do it!

But... what is your time worth. How many hours would it take you to do (including purchasing plants)? How much would it cost for you to buy the plants? If you divide how many hours it will take you by 400 pounds then how much will it be per hour for YOU to do it.

DH and I always do this when figuring out if it's worth doing it ourselves. Often the answer is getting someone else to do it for us and we are VERY hands on and good at dIY and gardening.

AthelstaneTheUnready Sat 25-Jan-14 08:25:28

The other consideration is do you want to do it yourselves. I've often had people tell me their plans for a border, or summat, that they're really keen on. But then the weather's cold, or wet, or they're away the next weekend, and some considerable time later they accept that really, truly, they do not want to be the ones out there with the hat and the claggy spade grin.

LadyMud Sat 25-Jan-14 10:45:13

Two years ago, I had this very same dilemma, and decided to do it myself. My local garden centre has a "Plant Adviser", so I took along some photos of the "empty" garden. I'm not particularly interested in flowers, but wanted evergreen shrubs with a variety of colours and textures. Simon showed me a good selection of suitable plants, which I bought that day (in March). As my knowledge has developed, I've been able to add further plants to fill in the gaps.

The garden really feels like mine now, and I'm glad I spent the extra money on more plants, rather than just paying for someone else's labour and expertise.

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