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GARDENING: DESIGN IT CHOOSE A LANDSCAPER.

Byline: Edited by Adrienne Wild

IF the thought of tackling your garden leaves you scratching your head, it's a good idea to get the experts in.

Before you stick a pin in the Yellow Pages do a bit of homework to ensure you get the job you deserve.

One of the best ways of ensuring your landscaper is up to scratch is to choose someone who is a member of an industry association, like the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) or the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI).

Garden improvements like a new patio are long-term investments and although the amateur can tackle many small-scale projects, complicated jobs require specialised skills.

Before you meet with a landscaper ensure you have an outline idea of your needs and requirements for the garden. Make a list of your priorities and dreams. Collect together well-illustrated catalogues such as that supplied by top paving manufacturer Bradstone (01335 372289). Cut out pictures of plants and colour combinations that you like and stick them onto a large piece of thick cardboard to create a "mood" board.

Ask for customer references and if available ask to see photographs of the company's previous work. Ensure the company has full employer and public liability insurance cover.

Get a written estimate outlining what materials are required for the job and more importantly how much they will cost. Check rubbish will be taken away as part of the quote. Get an anticipated work schedule or, ideally, a contract specifying start and completion dates.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 27, 2003
Words:258
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