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Gardeners in Newcastle

Newcastle, one of South Africa’s main industrial centres, is set at the beautiful foothills of the northern KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg Mountains. Containing 31 wards and a population growth of 0.87%, Newcastle is the country’s 10th largest city and the third largest in the KwaZulu-Natal province.

A wide variety of public parks can be found in the city, offering residents a fresh break from city life. The most notable examples are Trim Park and The Gardens on Hospital Street. Trim Park is located north of the CBD along the Ncandu River and frequented by many on weekends and holidays for picnics and barbecues. The Gardens on Hospital Street, situated in Newcastle Central suburb, is known for its large grassy garden complete with shady trees and is a popular hangout spot on any day of the week. It is also a trendy venue for wedding ceremonies thanks to the lush flora and beautiful backdrops.

What does a Gardener do?

Gardeners are the professionals to get in contact with when you want someone to:

·         Consult on the planning and layout of a garden or park

·         Help choose the best plants for your property’s climate and condition

·         Assist in purchasing the right plants and seeds

·         Plant new flowers and trees

·         Water and feed plants

·         Treat and prevent plant infestations

·         Keep the soil healthy

·         Take charge of garden maintenance like weeding.

To accomplish these types of tasks, and others, a Gardener is required for his/her knowledge on soil ecology and plant physiology.

How do professional gardening companies differ from self-employed individuals?

Whether they are part of a larger company (which could specialise in gardening, landscape design, etc.) or are working on their own, each professional in the gardening industry offers his own advantages.

Bigger, more established gardening companies are often more credible because they are insured, licensed, and have streamlined their gardening skills to respond more quickly to customer requests and queries. More likely than not, they will also offer you the opportunity to schedule appointments and pay bills online.

Self-employed Gardeners, on the other hand, typically charge less for their services. Since they usually have fewer clients, they are capable of paying more attention to your yard and property.

Please know that the onus is on you to ensure you hire the right professionals for your garden- and yard work.

What is the difference between Landscape Architects and Gardeners?

Landscaping incorporates botanical elements (like trees, lawns, shrubbery, and hardscapes like pathways, furniture, fences and water features) to help visualise an outdoor space and make it come to life. Professionals working in this area are known as Landscape Architects / Designers, and they are trained to perform various but overlapping services.

These experts require a degree in landscape architecture and must also pass a national examination to obtain a license. Landscape Architects can work on a multitude of different project types and scales, from designing and implementing a residential yard to finalising the touch-ups for a high-scale holiday resort. They may not necessarily work with landscape contractors after they complete the design process. It is the job of the landscape contractor to implement the vision of the architect / designer by building the structures and incorporating the hardscape and botanical touches.

Similar to landscaping, gardening also focuses on the design, planning and maintenance of outdoor spaces, but usually only involves the plants. Where both Landscape Architects and Gardeners can sketch a design for a garden and draw up a plant list, it is the Gardeners who will do the physical work like planting, weeding, replacing and harvesting the right types of flora, etc. Also keep in mind that gardening is an ongoing activity, as gardens require tending and specialized care throughout the year.

A professional Gardener might have a degree in horticulture or botany, and/or complete a master Gardener program which requires quite a few hours of training from academic and professional mentors in the horticulture / gardening field.

Not sure what your options are? Have a look at these 6 landscaping ideas for South African gardens.

How to find the right Gardener

1.    First of all, know what you want to achieve with your yard. You might require a Gardener with the skills to help provide input in garden design and landscaping instead of just the basic lawn-mowing, watering and pruning services.  How frequently you will need that Gardener to come and perform maintenance will depend on the kind of garden and plants you opt for.

2.    Always check for qualifications and experience. A professional with years of experience in the gardening industry will definitely be more skilled at performing a widespread variety of tasks. In addition to asking to look at some of their work, also ask for some clients they use as references. And always ensure that your Gardner is insured.  

3.    Request a written quote for gardening which must include all aspects of the gardening job to be done. If you require your Gardener to work on your property at regularly scheduled intervals, know if the price on the quote is per visit or not. It’s also true that some gardening services are charged at hourly rates. This amount can vary depending on the location, the type of maintenance required, and the season. If you hire a Gardener on a monthly basis, you might be given a flat rate.

4.    Check up on the services offered. Although most gardening companies can perform any job related to gardening, some may refuse certain tasks like removing green waste (or charge extra for it).

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