All posts by ERNIEISADOG

SUPPLIERS

I use specialists for many of the jobs that require specific kit and expertise. While I have several trade accounts with larger suppliers I generally like to go to the specialist plant growers for specific purchases.

PARAMOUNT PLANTS

They specialise in mature trees and shrubs https://www.paramountplants.co.uk

TREE SURGEONS

I have no hesitation in recommending Tree Frog Services. They are very professional, easily contactable on text, email and phone and have really invested in the kit needed to get the job done. They also obviously have great contacts for the more esoteric stuff. https://treefrogservices.com

VILLA VILLAGIO

I have had the great pleasure to purchase mature olive trees from this company that is meticulous in making sure that the trees they sell are tested and certified. Their biosecurity measures are beyond reproach and the trees are stunning. https://villaggioverde.co.uk

USEFUL THINGS

I bring my own tools and I don’t need any drinks. It’s such a bind when you have people working in your space and you have to keep them topped up. It’s so much easier to assume I will bring my own drinks.

I do not charge for site visits and will always quote for all works and goods before we get going.

I source from many places. Some are specialists and others provide wholesale in the numbers we need.

I am happy to price match things like anti-fungals – we can all use Amazon and the like theses days so I don’t put anything on top of the price. It only takes seconds.

I did go down the route of having people work for me, but it is so hard to find consistent people to do the work. So now I have a small group of specialists such as people for trees or hedges that I will recommend to you.

Quoting

A quick trip to your garden and we can discuss your requirements, expectations and budget. I don’t charge for quotes.

If I quote for a day’s work but finish to your satisfaction, I don’t pad the day. I only charge for work that needs doing.

Who am I?

I am Katy, a qualified sole trader. I did go down the route of employing others, but it proved hard to maintain quality control.

Day to day bits and bobs

I check my email every day so you need never feel out of touch if something comes up. A lot of my clients like to email me about certain jobs they think need attention and that’s great for us all. However, the mobile stays in the car and coverage is patchy, so it’s very rare I pick up during the day. If you prefer, feel free to leave me a message on my landline, or send a text.

I’m honest – if I’m not totally sure how to proceed on a particular plant, I’ll look it up.

I’m neighbour and pet friendly – that means you can trust me to maintain happy relations with both.

I’m no jobsworth – I don’t get offended if I am asked to do something that is not strictly to do with plants. In the past this has included painting a shed with Ecosote and dismantling a very large trampoline. Anything that gets your garden looking beautiful.

I’m mostly waterproof – rain won’t stop play, unless I’m likely to get washed away. As a guide, I didn’t have to cancel more than a coupe of hours hear and there last year except when the snow was at its worse. Rain rarely lasts all day, but if it is looking really bad, I’ll give you a ring and reschedule for a near date.

I don’t say I can do something when I can’t. I am lucky to have some great specialist contacts such as pest control, tree surgeons and patio experts who I will liaise with.

On the day

I don’t overtax your kettle. Having people working at your home can sometimes feel like work itself, so that is why I bring my own drinks and food. I don’t tend to take lunch hours – and if I had to for some reason – you don’t pay for me to eat my sandwiches!

I bring my own tools – it’s better than facing the embarrassment of breaking one of yours.

If you are not going to be home and I can get access, I can be left to get on with it. I make it a practice to take a picture when I arrive that shows the current state (and time) and then one at the end. That way you can be sure you are not paying for me to drink tea!

In fact I have several clients, both regular and one-offs, who are not home for months on end, so they can see progress, discuss planting etc via email without any trouble at all. I also make sure that the neighbours get to know me, so they can be sure you are not being burgled!

My worst habit is I am generally early! And I’m not great with heights. My best? I don’t impose my views on my clients – I can offer advice but ultimately, I’m there to do what YOU want.

Generally I work 9 to 4, but this is not set in stone, it’s just so I can get my dog walked in the evening and my clients can get up in the morning at their leisure without having me wandering around the garden.

I usually have all the tools I need with me, but if there is something specialised, I can organise a hire.

What I spend my days doing

I often get asked if I weed, which is an odd question, but apparently there are gardeners out there who have jobs they just don’t like. I’m here to follow your instructions, it’s your garden, not mine, so yes, weeding, hoeing, mowing, edging, picking up leaves, clearing paths, pruning and planting are the usual suspects.

Money matters

I don’t discount for ‘cash’ jobs. I know this is a widespread practice, but everything is invoiced and goes in the ledger for Mr HM Revenue to inspect at his leisure.

You can of course pay by cash, but it all gets logged, so cheques or direct transfers are preferred. (I spend it less quickly that way!).

I invoice after the job – I will only ever ask for money upfront if I have agreed to purchase something on your behalf and it is a large amount. This will also show on the final invoice.

The Design Process

First I will make a site visit so we can talk through how you use your space, when and why. What you love, what you don’t love so much.

No two jobs are the same, but this is a general guide to how I go about submitting a new planting design

I aim to work collaboratively with my clients, listening to their needs, to ensure that the garden design brief is clear and is interpreted correctly in the finished plan.

I also aim is to reflect as closely as possible the styling, decoration and colour palette of the client’s home and personal aesthetic so that there is a strong visual relationship between the inside and outside spaces.

1 Develop a design brief on which to base the overall concept, style and theme of the garden after the initial site consultation.

2 Prepare a set of presentation drawings incorporating the outline design of the plan. This will include a plan, a colour mood board with a range of images of features, finishes and individual planting and placement.

3 Conduct a further site visit to discuss with client the provided plan and agree a suitable schedule.

4 Source from wholesalers and specialist nurseries the agreed plants.

Payment schedule: On agreement of budget, the cost of plants and sundries to be advanced, however payment for design and planning will not be due until the final design has been passed by the client.

I quote separately for labour, only in case the client decides they would like to do that side of it themselves