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The value of a gardener is ultimately determined by the overall day-to-day appearance of the yard he maintains. When interviewing potential gardeners, ask what he will do for you each month (i.e.: mow, blow, prune, fertilize, etc.) Good communication is very important. Make sure you tell your gardener what services you expect to be done each month. Remember, it takes more time to provide full service than it does to just "mow and blow" each week, so expect to pay more for complete care.
Evaluate Your Garden
Before you meet with a gardener it's important for you to evaluate your lawn and decide what you are looking for in a gardener. For instance, do you need just basic maintenance, lawn-mowing and pruning, for example? Or, do you need a gardener who has a strong horticultural background to tend to your formal English garden?
Some things to consider:
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It's helpful if your gardener has a general knowledge of horticulture, pesticides, weed control, fertilizing and sprinkler system and timer repair. Without this knowledge and experience, mistakes are more likely to occur. Doing a little questioning at the point of hire could save some big disappointments (or disasters) down the road.
After you've evaluated your garden, you should have a better idea of what you are looking for, so be sure to address
those topics in the interview. A couple of other things to ask:
Checklist: Planning Your Garden and Landscape
Use the following checklist as a guide when planning tasks with your gardener:
Mulch grass clippings into lawn
Remove and dispose of grass clippings
Clear fallen branches and debris
Fertilize lawn and plants
Edge garden and grass areas
Prune bushes and shrubs
Control and remove weeds
Spread mulch and wood chips
Water garden and lawn
Remove small dead trees and shrubs
Diagnose sick plants or trees
Remember, you should expect to pay more for a full-service gardener than for one who will fly through each week. The saying, "You get what you pay for" certainly holds true in the lawn and garden maintenance field.Kathy Maynard has been matching homeowners with home improvement contractors since 1990 and has written scores of articles advising homeowners how to find, hire and work with reputable service professionals. She also authors Weekend Warrior, a weekly home improvement column in The Sacramento Bee.