Building landscapes - Choosing a builder as your landscape contractor​

Just the other day I was at the ProLandscaper live event in Cheshire and I was talking to other garden designers about builders building gardens.  One told me they refused to work with their builder and he’d recommend him to the client!  I took home a copy of the new magazine and in the back there’s an article on the subject,  I thought I’d address this in my blog as it’s something of a constant bugbear and has given me no end of trouble in the past.


Only a couple of weeks ago I was informed by a client that they wanted their builder to install their garden, not an unusual request.  I’ve got one project about to start and they’ve insisted on using their builder due to time constraints.  


Whenever I’m told this the look on my face is one of shock horror.  It’s often followed by a comment like ‘well my builders really good’.  There’s a misconception that builders are qualified to build landscapes.  Yes there are similar skill sets but you wouldn’t ask your landscaper to build an extension.  Yes they could do it but it wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as what a builder could produce. 


Since dropping the tools in 2015 and working with contractors to deliver my Landscapes I must have worked with about 10-15 builders reluctantly.  I’ve worked with some really good builders too, not average run of the mill builders.  


The problems occur either when other jobs take precedence.  Often the builder will be doing the client a favour by adding on the external works to an extension and the focus dissipates causing quality issues.  


Other problems such as an understanding of technical products or the lack of, where i might find myself having to explain how to install particular items.  Sensitivity to soft landscaping is unheard of and this is where I can guarantee there can be issues.  Plants are living beings and they won’t take kindly to cement being poured and tools being washed in the borders contaminating sub and top soils. 


To me there is no room for builders in the garden.  It’s a problem waiting to occur.  I will work with builders and do the best I can to educate and monitor them but only at the clients insistence.  I would never advise it and if you’re thinking that you’d really like to use your builder to install your garden because you have a good relationship, you trust them, they do a good job.  I strongly advise you to forget it.  Good landscapers are worth their weight in gold and would always be the right choice.  


I work with some excellent landscapers who create the gardens I design all around the North west. You’ll be in excellent hands and it’ll mean you need to see less of my ugly face which can only be a good thing.

This is a mockup. Publish to view how it will appear live.

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Robert Hughes Garden Design is an award winning, innovative and creative landscape design practice based in Knutsford, Cheshire.  


I offer a professional garden design service to domestic and commercial clients in Cheshire, Manchester, Liverpool and all around the North West of England and beyond.

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Robert Hughes

7 Ash Grove, Knutsford,

Cheshire, WA16 8BB


01565 621304 

07825 371337


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Robert Hughes Garden Design

Robert Hughes Garden Design

Robert Hughes Garden Design