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Comparing Apples and Oranges

We often get asked the question, what is the average cost to landscape a garden and we thought we'd write a blog post to explain why we find that question so tricky to answer. The most common consideration most people have when planning their garden is the budget. We get asked, almost every day, can you give us a 'ball park' figure or can we give an average. This is super difficult to do for lots of reasons which we'll try and explain.

The kind of things that affect the cost of a landscaping project are:

  1. How big is the space?

  2. Do you need the space designed? This usually costs extra

  3. What kind of finish do you want? Porcelain or utility paving is a good example.

  4. What is the condition of the space currently? Blank canvas or building site?

  5. What groundwork needs completed?

  6. Are their regulations attached to the work you need?

  7. Is there easy access to the space? We've once had to walk almost half a mile with materials because there was no access fro vehicles!

  8. Is there a lot of waste to be removed? Do you need skips/permits?

  9. Are we adding to someone else's work?

  10. Does the space need levelling?

  11. Are any other speciality services required? Electricians? Tree surgeons?

  12. How many team members are needed to complete the project

  13. How soon the project needs completed?

  14. Some companies need to include VAT on the project

We could add more, but it's a lot to think about. We also get asked, quite regularly, for advice on choosing a landscaper. We'd always recommend getting at least 3 estimates but something to note is....

Compare estimates like for like....try not to compare apples and oranges.....

If you've had the 3 estimates then that's great, but are they all quoting for the same things? This often happens: You've got one that seems quite cheap, another in the middle and one that's higher. The best advice we can give is to do your research. These things are useful to check when you're deciding who to hire for your project:

  • How detailed is their estimate? Do they tell you what they will do and how?

  • Are the materials like for like? Has one quoted for sandstone and another porcelain tiles?

  • Will you get the finish you want with all 3 companies?

  • Are they all insured? You can ask for their documents.

  • Are the trained to do the job safely?

  • Do they have any evidence of any training?

  • Have you checked out their web pages/social media? Most are on FB/Insta and others.

  • Have they worked for anyone you know?

  • Have they taken any regulations into account- such as boundaries, damp proof courses, drainage and utilities?

  • Will you get the same size team?

  • How is their customer service? Can you contact them? Do you have a point of contact? Do they respond as quickly as they can?

All of these things are helpful to consider when looking through your estimates and deciding who to work with. Another thing we think is super important is how the prospective contractor makes you feel. Do you like them? What do you know about their business and their values? Being able to approach your landscaper and talk with them is really key to getting what you want for your outside space. At MBS Gardens we encourage clients to ask questions and get to know us and what we do - if it feels right then we believe that helps a lot.

Most expensive isn't always best and cheapest isn't always worst if you think about the above questions and do your homework. A landscaped garden is an investment and we try to encourage prospective clients to treat it the same way as you would an extension to your home, after all, it is creating another usable space - just outside!

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