No substitute for quality and standards

Before setting off on a landscaping project, it is important to make sure your designer is a member of a reputable trade body, such as BALI

Embarking on a landscaping project, no matter how large or small your garden, can be daunting and making the right decisions where price and value are concerned will be crucial to its success. As one of our greatest Victorians, John Ruskin, apparently said some 150 years ago: ‘There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey.’

No-one would argue that price isn’t a key consideration, particularly in the current economic climate, but it is not the only one, which is where ‘value’ comes in to play. And this is why, when you are starting out on your garden project, it is so important to choose a designer and contractor who are fully vetted members of a professional trade body like BALI – the British Association of Landscape Industries.
The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is invariably true, which is fine if you remember it when you’re looking at your finished garden and feeling a tad disappointed. Perhaps the quality of the pointing on the new patio leaves something to be desired, the newly turfed lawn is uneven, or some of the planting is looking less that vigorous. Or perhaps the experience hasn’t been all you’d hoped for; the designer’s plan wasn’t professionally drawn up and the specification for the contractor was ambiguous; maybe the contractor was less than diligent about turning up on the days he said he would, leaving you to wonder when his workers would appear next.
Our gardens say as much about us as our homes and with most of us now using them as an extension of our indoor lifestyle – the outdoor room – shouldn’t we place their design and construction in the hands of professionals?
BALI-registered designers and contractors, for example, are fully vetted before they earn the right to use the BALI logo and any professional trade body worth its salt will have a similar rigorous procedure in place to admit new members. And what does this all mean for you, a prospective client? Quality, expertise and, arguably most important of all, peace of mind.
Landscaping is still a largely unregulated industry and, despite TV programmes highlighting the antics of the contractors who choose to operate without being accountable to anybody, let alone a professional trade body, many people still look at price and forget value. Don’t fall into the price trap. Make sure you select a designer and contractor who are accountable and will deliver the garden of your dreams on budget, on time and looking a million dollars.

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