One of the greatest things about living in Australia is the beautiful, sunny weather, and if you are fortunate enough to have a garden, you no doubt want to spend as much time outdoors on your property as possible. With that said, you can only enjoy your outdoor time if your garden is up to scratch, and if you are not green fingered, you may need to lean on the talents of a garden contractor to help you out with some professional landscaping. But hiring a garden contractor is easier said than done. Here are some of the questions that you should ask before signing on the dotted line.
Which professional organisations do they belong to? Any landscaping company should belong to some professional bodies that attest to their commitment to the industry, and their adherence to regulations. In Australia, for example there is a national association called the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects. There are also state wide associations that your garden contractor might belong to.
How long is their warranty? Just like home construction jobs, landscaping companies should also be able to provide you with a warranty. Say, for example, that you want to erect a grand pergola on your patio with a roaring fire pit beneath. If the integrity of the work is compromised just months after the work is completed, you don't want to be in a position where you have to hire a completely different company, and pay for the work all over again. Shop around for the best warranty you can find.
Ask for testimonials and examples. A landscaping company worth anything should have plenty of testimonials and photographs of previous work up their sleeves. It's important to ask for examples that are of a similar scope to yours so that you can be sure that the company is up to the task of fitting a grand fountain, laying down a completely new lawn, or whatever else it is that you want completed.
What is the total budget breakdown? Once you feel confident about the garden contractor's reputation, and they know what they need to do, ask for a total budget breakdown instead of one over-arching cost. This way you can know exactly where your money is going, and potentially negotiate on some things. Make sure that there is some contingency budget that can be dipped into so that you aren't burdened with surprise costs at the end of the project.