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Gardening together vegetable patch small
Whether it’s a one-off big job or regular support, many people need some extra help with their garden. Find advice on how to find and fund it here.

Important

Please be aware, we do not offer a home garden maintenance service at Thrive. This article contains advice to help you find the right local support.

  • Getting help with more challenging gardening activities can leave you free to do those you can and enjoy doing
  • Changing your garden to make it more manageable can allow you to continue getting the many health and wellbeing benefits from it
  • Having another person share in gardening tasks gives the opportunity to connect and discuss nature together

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At Thrive, people often ask us how to get help to maintain a garden.

There are so many reasons why you might need a little extra support. It could be related to a new or ongoing health condition, or you may have moved somewhere new and the garden doesn’t suit your needs.

Before finding help, first think about what you need done. This will help you find the right person or organization to support you.

1. Do you need help adapting your garden?

Your garden may need changes to make it more manageable, for example:

  • Changing the layout and design
  • Replacing or reducing the size of a lawn
  • Adding raised beds in place of / as well as beds and borders
  • Removing plants and replacing with lower maintenance ones
  • Putting down a mulch or matting to reduce weed growth

To adapt your garden, you may need the support of a garden designer or landscaper (see below).

Major changes to a garden can cost a bit of money. Always keep in mind how much you can reasonably afford and stick to it.

2. Do you need help with specific gardening jobs?

Some gardening jobs are more physically demanding than others or require extra equipment. For example:

  • Clearing a very overgrown garden
  • Trimming hedges and pruning trees
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Digging beds and borders
  • General tidying (e.g. removing waste, clearing lawns, patio, decking)
  • Weeding
  • Planting

Depending on what you want done, you may need help once or twice a year, or you may need someone to come more regularly.

For these activities, you will want to find a gardener you can trust. This way, you can be free to do the less strenuous activities that you most enjoy!

Before looking for help, it’s good to understand more about what different gardening professionals do. Here’s a general guide:

Garden designer

A garden designer is needed if you want to do a major redesign of your garden and need ideas for how it will look. This includes hard areas and planted areas. They will be a creative, trained horticulturalist.

Some companies just create a design. Some may also build it.

Re-designing a garden is a large task and can require a lot of money.

Landscape gardener

If you are making adaptations to your garden beyond plants, a landscape gardener can help. They can work on hard areas like patios, decking, paths, ponds and structures including raised beds.

Gardener

If you need help with gardening tasks, but don’t need major changes, you probably need a gardener.

Some landscapers will also do gardening tasks. It’s always best to talk to the person about exactly what you need and see if that matches their expertise.

The idea of inviting a stranger into your home and garden may feel a bit daunting. There are things you can do to help find the right person and look after your own safety.

We recommend this process for finding help:

1. Ask for personal recommendations

Do your friends, neighbours or relatives know anyone they recommend? Word of mouth is often the best way to find someone trustworthy.

2. Look for positive reviews and trust marks

If you don’t have anyone who is personally recommended, there are lots of sources online to help find a gardener.

For example:

The Gardeners Guild - a national network for professionally qualified gardeners. Listed gardeners have at least one regulated horticultural qualification equal to Ofqual Level 2 Certificate or above

Checkatrade – allows you to view from a large selection of traders in your area.

Bark.com – asks a series of questions about what help you need and gives you a list of possible trade people in return.

Trustmark – a government endorsed quality scheme

You can search these websites for what you need, such as ‘landscape gardener’ or ‘gardener’.

On these sites you can see review scores for traders, as well as how many reviews they have. Online reviews are not a perfect way to make a decision. But, it is usually a good sign if a trader has a lot of positive feedback.

Some professionals will include specific training / accreditations. Some to look out for include:

  • City & Guilds Qualified – UK vocational education courses.
  • RHS qualifications (Level 1,2 or 3) – more likely for garden designers / landscape gardeners

Some other organisations have lists of reputable traders. You could try:

You may have had a leaflet through the door from someone offering their services. Do some checks before considering contacting them, like looking at their website if they have one and reading reviews online. If there is only a phone number or email address on the leaflet, we wouldn’t advise using them.

Don’t be tempted to get work done by people who come randomly knocking at your door offering services. They could be a rogue trader, or worse. Don’t let yourself be pressurised into making a snap decision for a ‘special price’ or discount. Politely say you’re not interested.

Once you have a list of possible traders, it’s time to make contact.

We suggest speaking to people on the phone first so get a good feeling for them. When you do, these are some important questions we recommend asking:

  • How long have you been in business? (double check they have a legitimate business address)
  • Do you belong to any trade associations – e.g. Horticultural Trade Association?
  • Do you have references / testimonials? Can I speak to a past customer?
  • Is your work guaranteed and if so what type of guarantee is it?
  • Do you have insurance? What does it cover? – e.g. damage to my property / neighbour’s property / personal injury?
  • Will you remove any rubbish or debris from the garden that results from the work done?

Getting quotes

We suggest getting quotes from three or more traders to compare. To get good quotes, take the following steps:

1. Make sure all traders are given the same information about what you want doing. It might help to write it down first so you’re clear in your mind about what you want done.

2. Make sure they send you their quote in writing on company headed paper. It should detail all the work to be carried out and include all costs plus VAT. Make sure this includes costs for removing rubbish or debris from the garden and ‘making good’ – i.e. leaving any other areas of your house and garden in their original state.

3. When deciding which quote to pick, don’t sign up to anything unless you feel comfortable. Discuss with a friend, relative or neighbour if that helps. Your view on their reliability, quality and reputation are as important as the price.

4. Agree on how you will pay them. For security purposes, it is best not to pay by cheque or credit card. Also, work is usually paid for after it’s done and not up front.

5. Always get an invoice before making payment, to double check the amount matches the quote.

Whoever you choose, they will be spending some time in your home. You may like to meet them face to face before agreeing a quote. If it makes you feel more comfortable, have a relative or friend with you when they visit.

It’s important you feel comfortable around the person you choose. They may even become a future source of gardening advice and shared tips!

The cost will depend on what needs doing and the level of skill required to do it.

Professional landscapers, gardeners and garden designers have usually studied for some time and have a qualification. These people will charge similar rates to what you would expect of other qualified traders such as electricians and plumbers.

Expect to pay less for 'jobbing' gardeners. A rate of between £15-£45 an hour is quite normal. Prices can of course fluctuate, depending on other costs and the economy.

If you have a gardener coming on a regular basis, they will probably charge by the hour. For a one-off piece of work, expect to be quoted for the entire job.

Getting financial help

Some organisations may be able to offer financial help, depending on your circumstances and what you want done.

These include:

  • Gardening with Disabilities Trust. They can offer small grants to cover all kinds of adaptations or equipment, from accessibility ramps to raised beds.
  • Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG). It may be possible to get a grant from your local council if you need to make changes to your home.
  • Garden maintenance for elderly or disabled council tenants. Some local councils offer a garden maintenance service for elderly or disabled council tenants.
  • Royal British Legion. Has information on various grants, generally available to the Armed Forces community.
  • Ssafa. Can offer financial support to Armed Forces veterans or their immediate family
  • Family Fund. May consider a grant contribution towards garden improvements that support disabled children’s needs.
  • Local Rotary or Round Table club. These sometimes give grants to individuals, as well as to community organisations

Other sources of help

It may not always be possible to find financial support. There are some other places you could try to find help:

  • Is there a Tenant or Resident Association where you live? Could they organise some gardening help or would they be able to find a reliable trader?
  • Have you thought about sharing your garden? There may be local people who like gardening but who don‘t have a garden or whose gardens are not big enough for their needs.
  • Contact local allotment societies and gardening clubs to see if they are able to help.

Hopefully, everything will go smoothly with whoever you find.

If anything does go wrong along the way, first talk to the trader. They may be able to put it right. You could ask family and friends to help discuss if this makes you feel more comfortable.

Worst case, you may want to take a complaint further. Before doing this, you might want to read general advice on the law around issues like boundaries with neighbours’ gardens. You could try Garden Law.

After that, you could try consulting Citizens Advice.

Help from Thrive

We are unfortunately not able to offer a practical garden service across the UK. We do provide plenty of information and advice on how to make gardening easier through the Get Gardening section of our website.

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