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Cost guide: gardeners

Are you looking to save money on fencing, turfing, lawn mowing and other gardening jobs? Here are some useful tips on how to minimise the cost involved in jobs usually undertaken by professional gardeners.

Fencing

Type of job

Erecting wood fencing to either replace an existing fence or create a new boundary.

What adds expense?

“This type of work is usually quoted for at the outset, but difficult excavation of old, rotten posts set in over-engineered concrete holes could add time and cost,” says Phil Coombes from Buckinghamshire-based Weedgone Garden Maintenance Ltd.

How can I make it cheaper?

“Clearing an old line of fencing yourself can reduce the cost considerably,” says Phil. “Disposal of waste adds costs to the job too, so clear green waste and wood debris yourself if possible.”

Make sure the timber used is pressure and tanalised wood with a guaranteed lifetime of over 15 years, otherwise it will rot quickly.

Turfing

Type of job

Relaying of the lawn in a garden.

What adds expense?

Even after a gardener has quoted for the turfing job, surprises can happen. “Additional costs might arise if old tree trunks need to be taken out, for example, and the hole left behind far exceeds the quantity of topsoil approved for bringing in,” explain Phil.

How can I make it cheaper?

“If the new turf is to replace old lawn, then lift the old grass yourself,” suggests Phil. “Or, instead of new, instant turf, consider grass seed instead.”

Make sure the new turf is seed-grown and not bought in and cut from a meadow full of weeds.

Grass cutting

Type of job

Garden lawn mowing and strimming

What adds expense?

“A large lawn means there will be a lot of cut grass clippings to take away after each visit,” says Phil. “This adds to the total cost of the job.”

How can I make it cheaper?

“Consider getting your gardener to leave the cut grass at your property – either in the green waste recycling bin or on a compost heap,” says Phil.

 

A gardener worth his salt won’t be mowing grass when there’s a frost on the lawn.

Pressure washing

Type of job

Jet washing block paving, decking or patios.

What adds expense?

Phil says: “An hourly charge usually costs more for a pressure washing job.” Get a fixed price quote to avoid unexpected expense.

How can I make it cheaper?

“Make sure that the contractor has their own equipment,” says Phil, “otherwise you will be paying for the pressure washer rental on top of the labour.”

Phil's final tip is "If you want a quick solution to a weed problem on drives, make sure the contractor uses a contact herbicide. Also, ask about weed killers that have a residual herbicide included which caps the surface. These significantly reduce the number of germinating weed seeds popping up again."

If pressure washing decking yourself, the jet washer should not be used too near to the wood, otherwise it will start to splinter. All equipment comes with variable jets to decrease the water flow rate.

Weed killing

Type of job

Use of herbicides to eradicate invasive weeds in the garden.

What adds expense?

Phil says: “If a single application is not enough due to the strength of the weeds, it may be

necessary to apply a second or even third application to control the weeds. The costs can can mount up.”

How can I make it cheaper?

“From the outset, discuss the possibility of a year-round weed killing program, whether it be on lawns or hard standing areas such as paths, block paving or gravel drives,” recommends Phil. “This will almost certainly work out cheaper in the long run.”

Find a gardener in your local area.

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