Every project has its own character with its own challenges and rewards. It can be a daunting task when considering your own project. Here is where I hope to give you a few tips I've learned along the way.
So you want to commission some landscaping? Two things: get several quotes. The cheapest is not always the best. With such a diverse range of products and skills in this industry there is one common thread... you pay cheap, you pay twice.
There are some basic standards of work you should expect from any Landscaper. The list is long and increasingly detailed the further in you go but I'll try to keep to the key points.
Any paving project starts in the ground, so make sure your quote reflects proper groundworks. This phase of work digs the ground and installs foundations. It is typically the most expensive phase of the work.
As a general rule of thumb you should expect a patio to be excavated 6-8 inches below finish level and any driving surface to be excavated 12-16 inches below finish level.
Walls can be variable in their requirements but again a general rule would be to expect excavations ranging from 6 inches to 24 inches for typical garden walls.
When it comes to fencing or timber structures, it's a minimum 20 inches in the ground.
Again, this section could go on and on. There are a lot of factors involved in exactly how your chosen product can be installed. However, there are some things you definitely don't want to see...
Flag stones laid on blobs of mortar! Paving of any type should always be laid on a full bed of sand and cement.
Soil or organic matter in the foundations! This is the classic tell if groundworks have been skimmed.
Different coloured mortar between bricks/paving! This is an indicator of bigger problems. In my opinion, gauging the mortar or concrete to a suitable ratio of aggregate and cement is a must!
By this stage you should be one happy customer. The contractor should leave no trace of their presence except their excellent workmanship and final invoice!
Depending on the size of your project it is not uncommon to experience some niggles or snags after installation. Most of the time these are minor issues and easily resolved. You may or may not have a guarantee but you should expect reasonable repairs for any issues proven to be the result of failed workmanship or deficiencies in products supplied.