You want your garden and your contractor to be on television for the right reason.
Before you start anything, develop a very general idea of what you want and how much you wish to spend. Select your company carefully and do please ensure with your choice of company that their staff/ horticulturist is qualified and experienced. A good standing in the industry is very important so please, please [that’s twice!] ensure the company is registered, fully insured and is a member of a recognised repuatable association [eg. the landscape contractors association of Ireland]. You do not want an estimate or a prediction and you certainly need some assurance of standards.
Similar to most horticultural tasks, there is no golden rule that suits all when it comes to doing a garden because no plant, garden or lawn [for the purpose of this analagy/ example] will ever be the same in height, age or appearance. Pricing and the calculation of that time will therefore follow a similar route.
If you were to cut your lawn, how long would it take you? Now muliply this by a rate per hour and you should have a cost. The second point is that anybody can cut grass, the question is how well do you want it done and do you want to supervise or will you have confidence in walking away knowing respect for your property and a quality finish will be given at all times.
With regard to landscaping another famous analagy is required. Assume you’re in a supemarket, you have fifty euro and you wish to cook a meal for ten people. Is it possible? and what standard of meal do you want to serve? If you buy two sausages [at 50 cent each] and it takes one hour [at 5 euro per hour] to purchase and cook them – then thats your equation and your garden will cost 6 euro – simple. For your garden, if you choose to get fifty plants and the labour will take two days then the only variance should be the standard of labour and the plants selected. One should understand that plants are sold by pot size, height and how difficult they are to propagate, therefore there is always a ‘cheaper’ price possible when you wish ‘to get some plants’. You must decide the standard you want at more than one level and with that if it suits your budget.
My article, the three quotes rule will also prove very useful here. Whatever you decide, as always, remember you only want to do this once and cheaper can more often be more tearful than cheerful. My advice, if you don’t [and be honest] know what you’re looking for and/ or how it works, then employ a horticultural consultant and pay for the advice. It might be sixty five euro – but it could save you a lot more.
Whatever you decide love your garden and as always – enjoy!