It’s in our Kiwi DNA to want the ultimate backyard; we are entertainers, we love a BBQ on a warm summer’s evening and there’s nothing more rewarding than being able to sit outside and relax after a hard day in the office, but how do you get the ultimate backyard?
We are frequently overwhelmed with stories of dodgy tradesmen; it can be an understandably daunting task sifting through the astronomical number of ‘tradies’ to find someone reliable and trustworthy.
But Trademark Paving Ltd quantity surveyor Andy McLeod manages to make it all sound rather simple, you just have to look for experience and reputation.
“Tradies and installers live and die by their reputation,” he says.
Finding the right people for the job and keeping costs down go hand in hand so it is important to get it right. It’s not hard to find someone with a good reputation; as they say, the proof is in the pudding.
“Always ask around friends and relatives who have had work done or ask if they’ve [the landscaper] done work in the local area that you can have a look at. Most should be able to tell you about, or show you photos of a job they’re proud of,” Andy says.
“We will always try and show off our paving and concrete work. This builds trust and reassures customers of our skill.”
Social media has become a great means for people to ask around and get advice on work they want to get done and who to call. This is a helpful way to find companies in your area, however, it is important to remain vigilant in this process and be asking the right questions.
Andy warns this can sometimes leave you with more questions than answers and you may receive a lot of mixed messages. It is always safer to judge from their experience or the advice from those you know and trust.
Don’t blow your budget
From the very first meeting you have with your landscaper, be upfront with your plans and let them know exactly how much you are willing to spend.
“We all have grand plans in our head and that’s important as imagination will always be key to driving a great project, big and small.
“But reality bites hard. Be upfront with what you’ve got so that you can be directed in the best ways to spend the money before it blows out. That being said, don’t be scared to push for what you want,” Andy says.
There may be elements of the project that you can take on yourself to help keep the costs down but be mindful not to make the situation more complicated.
“It may be something simple,” Andy explains, “always consider the cost of dumping materials and waste. Can something be saved and used elsewhere before its carted and dumped for a cost?”
He also suggests you consider the accessway to your site, “Is it restrictive and how can this be negated?” By working through these issues you can save the tradesmen time and ultimately money, a result we are all willing to strive for.
Be mindful of cost saving areas:
- Is your site easily accessible? Can it be made easier?
- Can you reuse some of the waste material elsewhere?
- How good are your DIY skills? Know your limits
- Are you able to plant your own foliage?
There are always ways to save time and as such labour costs on site. “Be mindful of your own skill level though. Many Kiwis are great at DIY so talk it through with the project manager and agree who’s doing what.”
Once your garden is mapped out and you know the general design plan you can take matters such as planting into your own hands. Again this can be a huge cost saver, and getting out in the garden can also be quite therapeutic; it’s a win/win.
Getting the right advice on what to plant where will ensure you’re happy with your garden, not only as soon as you plant it, but as it grows and matures.
“Trademark has team members with qualifications in horticulture and they are able to direct customers in what should be planted where as well as what soils and other growing aids to use.”
There is a reason we go to the experts and there are plenty out there that you can trust.
Trademark Paving lives by a strict set of values to uphold its reputation:
“We understand that every strong working relationship is built on trust. That’s why it’s at the core of what we do. We communicate openly with clients, give honest assessment and do what we say we will.”
“Everyone goes home safe, every day. We are first and foremost a people company. The safetywelfare of our team, and the wider environment in which we work always comes first. Health and safety is not a theory at Trademark – it’s ingrained in our culture.”
“We operate with integrity in all our dealings. Not only with clients but with all stakeholders. We work with honesty, professionalism and good ethics.”
“We deliver to the highest standard, on time and on budget. We take pride in consistently exceeding our clients’ expectations. Delivering above and beyond is the reason why we have the level of repeat business that we do. Our clients know we deliver on our promises.”
Having a team on board such as Trademark Paving who can work out and talk you through the design process, work out a budget, as well as take care of the project management, means you will know exactly what you’re going to get.
Everyone will be on the same page and you are going to be happy with the results, as well as the cost.
“Try and take as much advice from those doing the work as possible,” Andy concludes. Many tradies will offer advice at the time they’re pricing a job, so take the time to discuss it with them and be realistic. They’ll let you know of potential risks.
“Planting flowers and shrubs is common, but talk it through with experts. This is an investment in your property that can reward you in many ways, not only when selling on, but also when you’re enjoying time to yourself, with family or entertaining.”