Whether you have your own design which you would like built, have employed the services of a garden designer and are looking for a landscaper, or are looking for a one stop design and build company, below is a short guide from the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) on how to choose a Landscaper

Plan early
Try to plan ahead for your garden to be designed and built. Quality landscapers in general have considerable lead times, which must be considered at the planning stage, as delays will cause disappointment.

Research
The first port of call is to research company websites and make sure you look for landscape work similar to the work you would like done in your own garden.

For example, if you wish to have a koi pond, look for a landscaper who has this specialization. With no images of this skill in the portfolio section, means it may not be wise to choose that particular company however impressive the rest of their other work is. And as most gardens include various elements to them, search for those companies that offer specific skills and services. If possible ask to visit a recent project. Most landscapers will be delighted to show you their previous work.

Brief  
It is very helpful when you first meet a landscaper to prepare a brief and have a clear idea of what you want from the finished garden and how you will use the various spaces within it. A good landscaper will be happy to provide you with suggestions and alternatives to consider, and discuss the various build techniques required for each element.

Budget  
Having a clear idea of budget for the project can be difficult for many especially if you have never had your garden landscaped before. However, your budget for the work is very helpful to the landscaper, even though you may not know what materials you want to use at the preliminary stages, the quote for the project will not come as a surprise. Remember also to factor VAT into your budgets, as most landscapers are VAT registered.

Estimates
It is best when looking for landscapers, that you choose between three, and compare their quotes. Each company will have a different way of presenting their estimate but make sure everything is in writing and ask for a breakdown of each element where this has not been explained. Please remember an estimate can take a while to prepare especially if there are various elements required for the project.

Schedule of works and Payment schedules
Most companies will provide you with a schedule of works and have their own method and timetable with regards to payments, some will be weekly or monthly while others may be staged payments throughout the project. A deposit is normal practice before work starts. Any changes to the contract should be agreed in writing at each stage of the build so that each party is fully aware of any extra work or changes to the original brief.

Remember 
Good landscapers are busy throughout the year and if you have a project in mind, start early by doing your research and once your garden has been built don’t forget to think about the maintenance.

By choosing a member of the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) you can be assured of a professional standard of workmanship from a company that is fully insured, adheres to a strict code of conduct and is regularly assessed.