The Costs of General Garden Maintenance

All you need to know about the costs associated with hiring a gardener to carry out some general garden maintenance including materials, labour and time frames.

Garden Maintenance

What the job entails

General garden maintenance includes grass cutting and lawn feeding, hedge and bush trimming/pruning, leaf blowing, weed removal, watering, and patio/driveway cleaning. The cost for regular maintenance in the garden does vary considerably, depending on your location, size of the maintenance company, plus of course the size of the garden and how much work is required. there is a big difference in the prices charged by self-employed gardeners and those who were running a larger business with many employees. Obviously there are additional costs that are involved with a large business, whereas "one-man band" type businesses can charge just enough to cover their wages and limited expenses. There are also big differences in costs charged for London and the South-East based gardeners, compared to those in the North or West. Living in London is just so much more expensive than anywhere else in the country, so the tradesman has to charge more to cover the higher cost of living.

The periods of peak grass growth are in the Spring and Autumn time when you should really be having your grass cut every week or at least every other week. Mowing frequency can be greatly reduced in the winter. Your lawn requires regular feeding to maintain health and encourage new growth, your gardener should feed the turf twice yearly for best results. New hedges require formative pruning at least twice per year but established hedges just need maintenance trimming once per year, though elaborate formal hedges may still need pruned twice a year or more to look their best. Maintenance trimming is generally carried out in the spring and summer months. Professional and experienced gardeners will know exactly how often to trim your bushes and hedges.

Pruning is an essential practice to encourage healthy growth and flowering. Most shrubs and trees need to be pruned at the right time, some plants are best pruned in winter, others right after flowering. Although the term weed is subjective, it usually means any invasive plants that compete with the grass for space to grow. Clover, dandelions, daisies and buttercups are probably the most common lawn weeds in the UK. Early identification and prompt manual removal is the best option to prevent future large-scale weed problems. This should start in the spring and continue into the Autumn. although a growing number do not bother too much about things like daisy and dandelion growth, as long as the lawn is trimmed neatly.

In the drier seasons, during hot, dry periods. All plants need watered with the exception of the toughest, most drought tolerant plants. During the wetter seasons the watering should pretty much take care of itself, but do not take this for granted, a good gardener will always keep an eye on the frequency of rain. Your patio and drives need regular cleaning and perhaps some weed removal too, but usually a good going over with a pressure hose a few times a year will do the trick!

A contract specifying a fixed number of hours per year and paid weekly or monthly can often be the best option for both the gardener and the householder. A fixed price per month for the householder is better than getting huge bills in the summer when most of the work will be done. Gardeners prefer a fixed monthly payment too as it is easier for them to budget. But you do need to be very careful before signing any long term maintenance contract.

The Cost of General Garden Maintenance

Garden maintenance prices are difficult to determine, but most gardeners work off an hourly rate. Hourly rates can vary massively from £15 per hour up to £50 per hour in areas like London! Most gardeners may have a minimum charge of 2-3 hours for small jobs, but will also work off a fixed rate for bigger jobs. General garden maintenance includes a variety of jobs including grass cutting and lawn feeding, hedge and bush trimming/pruning, leaf blowing, weed removal, patio/driveway cleaning, and more!

Below are some estimated costs of hiring a gardener to carry out some garden maintenance:

Garden Size Avg. Cost Duration
6x4 metres £150 3-6 hours
8x6 metres £200 5-7 hours
12x8 metres £300 1-2 days


Cost Breakdown

Individual costs for hiring a gardener to mow a lawn, trim hedges and do some general garden tidying - Total Cost: £150

10%

Materials
£15

80%

Tradesmen
£120

10%

Waste Removal
£15

FAQ's

Garden maintenance prices vary so much that it is difficult to even guesstimate a fixed price. Rather, most gardeners will charge an hourly rate. But even this rate can vary from as little as £15 per hour, up to as much as £50 per hour in London. In addition, most gardeners have a minimum charge of at least 2 hours. For larger jobs, gardeners will be happy to quote a fixed price rather than hourly rates. The hourly rates quoted do not include VAT, any equipment hire or waste disposal. Be very wary of gardeners charging £10 per hour or less, in today'S economy, it'S simply not possible to make a living on such rates. You will be lucky indeed to find a reputable gardener to do regular maintenance charging any less than £15 per hour.
Sometimes you may need help in the garden with general maintenance work. There are a plenty of gardeners out there willing to do the job, but it can sometimes be difficult knowing who to choose. Before hiring a contractor for regular maintenance work check if they are members of any professional bodies which vet their members and provide ongoing training. These trade bodies provide some degree of reassurance that their members are qualified and competent, plus they ensure members carry adequate insurance and will have a complaints procedure should if you are not satisfied with the work done.

However, belonging to most of these organisations does cost money, so small local contractors who are just starting out in business may not belong to them even though they are competent and reliable. So also ask friends and family to recommend reputable gardeners, plus check with local horticultural colleges, garden centres and nurseries. Maintenance gardeners are often recommended by word-of-mouth and the best professional organisation representing garden maintenance gardeners is the Gardeners Guild. The Guild require gardeners to prove that they have at least 1 horticultural qualification at Level 2 or above before they can be accepted as a member.
Disposal of garden waste can add costs to many a gardening job. Never assume that gardeners will dispose of green waste or other rubbish as part of the job unless specifically stated. Always ask about waste disposal and who is responsible when you are gathering quotes. It can be much cheaper simply to use your local council green waste collection service, rather than pay extra for the gardener to dispose of waste.