Category Archives: Contractor

Selecting A Garden Designer

There’s a huge number of terms that are nothing more than marketing. Doggy daycare, for example, is no different from a kennel. It’s a place where you take your dog when you can’t watch them for a while, and you need to hire someone else to watch them for you. Doggy daycare is just a more pleasant sounding term that escapes certain negative connotations.

Executive assistant is another great example. It’s not much more than a secretary. The duties of an executive assistant may be a little more encompassing, but at the end of the day you’re still filing paperwork, making phone calls, typing up documents, and passing around memos.

Yet executive assistant sounds much more interesting and important than secretary, so people prefer to use that as a job title. It’s a way to make things sound like it’s more important than it is, or perhaps a way to bypass certain legal or policy guidelines involving certain kinds of jobs.

Some terms, however, may sound like marketing terms but are not. A great example of this is a garden designer. If you’re at all familiar with landscaping, you can probably already tell what the difference is between a garden designer and a general landscaper.

Yet if you’re not as aware of the details of landscaping, you may not really understand what the difference is. You may not even understand how a landscaper differs from a normal, ordinary gardener!

There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s just a matter of not really having a good idea of what the details are. Which means you may not have any idea about selecting a garden designer.

A landscaper is someone who not just tends the garden and the yard, but actually sets up the yard and garden. They’re capable of actually hauling out sections of the yard in order to install flower beds, shrub beds, sod, and other yard and garden installations.

In addition, they tend to know about irrigation systems, and are capable of installing them. Landscapers are who you hire when you want to actually set up a full yard, not just a nice garden bed but also any garden structures.

So how does a garden designer differ from an all purpose landscaper? Garden design is a specialty of landscaping. A landscaper is something of a lawn and garden architect, capable of building an entire lawn structure.

A garden designer specializes in the creation of gardens. They don’t just know how to do all the installations a landscaper might know, but they also have a huge library of knowledge involving the different kinds of plants and flowers that you can put in a garden.

They’re capable of ensuring that your garden is easy to tend, and not only looks nice but also is planted in such a way as to maintain plant health. In addition, they’re fully capable of building a new garden from the ground up, flattening out a section of the yard and tilling the soil in order to ensure that it’s ready for planting.

So now that you know the difference between a garden designer and an all purpose landscaper, how do you go about selecting a garden designer?

Can you just hire a general purpose landscaper and ask if they have garden design training? That is one option, but it might not be as simple as that. If you want to go about selecting a garden designer, you’re going to need to do a good amount of research.

First and foremost, you should head to the internet. Head to your preferred search engine, either Google or Bing, and type in the name of your city and search terms such as “landscaping” and “garden design”.

This will give you a huge number of different websites. Some of them will be from landscaping companies, and their websites will generally tell you if they specialize in garden design. After all, garden design is the kind of specialty that a landscaping company can charge a little bit more money for, so they’re more than happy to tell you about the service!

Don’t just look for landscaping companies that offer the services, though! Make sure you’re also tracking down customer reviews. When you’re doing your internet searches, you’ll be able to find the reviews of people who have hired the various companies in the past. You can then find out how well the companies did, and how satisfied the various customers are with the job.

Make sure to read more than one review! It’s unfortunate, but there are people who will decide to leave negative reviews for incredibly ridiculous reasons, even going so far as to lie on the review to make the company sound worse than it is. So read multiple reviews so that you can get a well-rounded idea of what the company is like.

You can also call the various companies and get an estimate. Some companies will even send a person out to take a look at your lawn and garden, and talk specifically with you about what you want done and how much it will cost.

Don’t just pick the cheapest estimate! If a company is working for especially cheap, it’s usually because they know they’re not going to do quality work.

Otherwise, hiring a garden designer is nothing more than being ready to tell them what you want. Make sure you do your research, and make sure you’ve got an idea of what you might want, and you’ll be happy with your selection.

Retaining walls over 1 metre high

Does your landscape project require a retaining wall higher than 1 metre? If so you there are some things that you will need to be aware of, such as; the wall will require a building approval; the wall will require an engineering drawing; the contractor you engage to build the wall will need to be licensed with the QBCC as a Builder Restricted to Structural Landscaping. The contractor you engage should be aware of these things and be able to include the costs for the engineer and certifier in quotation for the works to be done.

Engineers details will vary on a site by site basis. Therefore every retaining wall should have it’s own specific engineering detail.  your contractor should have an engineer that they work with regularly and can discuss the best solution for your particular project. This will ensure that your retaining wall is properly engineered to last without  expensive  over engineering.

Building approvals are usually dealt with by a private certifier. If your contractor has a working relationship with a certifier it will reduce the time taken for the building approvals to be completed. Some of the more tricky approvals can take weeks or even months if they require things such as; build over sewer; build over stormwater; relaxation. The quicker all these things are sorted out the quicker your project can be started.

The contractor you engage should be able to tell you who they use for  their engineering and certification. They should be able to provide you with more than one option for the construction of the retaining wall, i.e concrete sleeper, timber sleeper, besser block, linkwall block. Each product has its own method of construction and design features that will be either better suited or not suited at all for your landscaping project.

options for retaining

Concrete sleeper/steel post 

                                                                              A very durable option that takes up a minimum amount of room. Fencing can also be attached to the wall posts meaning the wall and fence are all in alignment. This is a very structurally sound way of building a retaining wall/fence combination. Many of the concrete sleeper options now come coloured and/or patterned, this means that the aesthetic appearance of the product has improved greatly.

Timber sleeper  

                                                                                                             Similar to concrete sleeper walls in the construction method however timber does not have the durability of concrete and steel. Timber walls are one of the cheapest forms of retaining so if budget is your main concern they may be worth looking at. One option to consider is the use of galvanised steel posts with timber rails, this way the posts are reusable when the timber perishes, making the cost of repair/replacement of wall much cheaper. The timber used should be a minimum of 75mm hardwood sleepers, this will ensure that you get the best longevity out of your timber retaining wall.

Link wall   

                                                                                                                           Link walls are a very durable retaining wall system. Being a masonry product they last for a very long time. There is a great selection of block styles and colours to choose from so that you will be able to choose something that compliments your landscaping. Link walls are very good where a curve is required and can also be used for straight lines. Because link walls are a gravity system of retaining wall the weight of the blocks aids in the retaining, allowing for smaller footing than many other retaining wall systems. This can be very useful if the footings for your retaining wall are going into rock or large excavations are not possible.  Link walls are not always the answer though because they require some room to be constructed properly, generally around 500 – 800mm.

Besser Block     

                                                                                                              Besser blocks are great for formal retaining areas front fence/retaining wall combinations or any situation that requires a truly vertical wall. Usually finished with render or stone cladding they add aesthetic value to any landscaping project. A core filled block retaining wall that has been constructed properly is one of the most durable systems of retaining. Two things that should be considered are that block walls are very expensive to construct and they require large footings, meaning extensive excavation is required.

Construction  

                                                                                                          Remember to check your contractors details and their class of license, it should be Builder Restricted to Structural Landscape for walls over 1m high.                                                                                                   Ensure that your contractor can deal with all aspects of the project, including the engagement of certifiers and engineers.                             Make sure that your contractor provides you with all your options so that you receive the best possible finish both structurally and aesthetically for your landscape project.

Retaining wall with fence

 

 

 

Often retaining walls are situated on the boundary line of a property. This means that they are also in alignment with the boundary fence. This can create some interesting challenges to ensure that the you get the best possible solution. If you are considering a project in the Gold Coast, South Brisbane region I hope you find the following article of assistance.

Types of construction

The first step is the selection of wall and fence type. One of the most common solutions is a sleeper retaining wall, either timber or concrete sleeper with a timber or colour bond fence. Any combination of wall and fence will allow for both to be built inline with the boundary, saving space and providing the best structural solution. There are other options of retaining walls and fencing however they may not suit all situations or be practical at all when considering the construction of a retaining wall/fence combination in alignment with a boundary. Other options may take up too much room, not allow for the fence to be fitted properly or not be able to be constructed in a manner that is structurally sound.

Considerations

Once the selection of construction method of the wall and fence has been selected there are further considerations in relation to approvals, certification and council requirements. Such considerations would include things like; is the retaining wall/fence combination going to exceed the minimum height that is required for a relaxation; will the retaining wall/fence combination cross a sewer or stormwater line; will the height of the retaining wall exceed one metre. If the wall exceeds one metre in height it will require an engineers design. The design will need to comply with the relevant Australian Standards. All of these potential issues can and should  be addressed by you contractor.

Choosing a contractor

Choosing your contractor may be the most difficult part of your project. The outcome of your project will depend on their experience and capabilities.                                                                                 Your contractor should:- be licensed correctly with QBCC, any retaining wall over 1 metre in height will require that the contractor hold a Builder Restricted to Structural Landscape  license.   -Should be able to provide references from recent clients.  -Be able to demonstrate that they have the knowledge about various methods of construction to ensure you endupwiththebestpossible outcome.  -Be able to engage an engineer/certifier on your behalf and deal with all relevant approvals.  – Be able to produce all relevant insurances, especially in relation to subcontractors and working adjacent to roads. You/your insurance may be held responsible if you engage a contractor who does not have the relevant insurance and there is an accident.   -Maybe the most important thing to consider is to make sure that you feel comfortable with your choice of contractor.                        -Care about your landscape project more than you do.

Many of the larger companies provide a one size fits all solution to your landscaping project. Their main point of difference is that they can build your retaining wall/fence “cheaply”. They only use/sell one method of construction and will contract out your work to anyone they can get to do it for the “right price”. The salesman you dealt with initially takes no further part in you project. This usually means that you end up with an inferior final product that could have been avoided if you had the correct contractor to begin with. Sometimes the little bit extra it costs to deal with someone who cares about your project and will ensure you get the best possible outcome will be the best money you spend on the whole job.

The owner of Bluestone Landscaping has been building retaining walls/fences and landscaping on the Gold coast for the past twenty five years. We at Bluestone Landscaping would love to have the opportunity to provide a quotation for your project. Let us take the hassle out of your retaining wall/fence project. We can provide you with the best solutions, deal with all the engineering and approval requirements and we are fully licensed and insured.

Thank you if you have managed to read this far, I hope that you have found some value in this article. We would love to hear from you if you require and further assistance/quotation for your retaining wall/fence project.

Best Retaining Walls Contractor Gold Coast

If you want to maintain a garden in the Gold Coast, you’re going to want to have retaining walls. These walls will work with the natural slope of the soil, and will ensure that all of your plants can grow properly.

In addition, these walls will add a lot of beauty and visual interest to your garden. However, you need to make sure that they’re handled properly. You’ll want to get the best retaining walls Gold Coast.

Keep these tips in mind as you search for a contractor. They’ll help you to find the best person for the job.

Ask for Local References

When you talk to a contractor, ask them to provide you with references that are in the area. Drive by and take a look at their work. See how it looks, and decide whether or not you’d be happy with a similar quality of work.

Look Through Their Portfolio

Every contractor should be able to provide you with a detailed portfolio. Take the time to look through their portfolio and see if they’ve handled projects that are of a similar scope to your own.

Make Sure They Have the Proper Insurance and Licensing

Any contractor you work with should be fully licensed and insured. If they aren’t, that’s a major red flag, and you should avoid working with them, even if the rates they quote you are excellent.

Ask About Drainage and Reinforcement

Your contractor should have plans on how to deal with drainage and reinforcement. If they don’t, there’s a good chance you’ll run into problems somewhere down the line. Make sure that the contractor you work with has thought ahead and is dealing with potential issues before they crop up.

Find Out What Kind of Guarantee They Provide

The best contractors are more than willing to stand by their work. Make sure that the contractor you work with provides a guarantee. If they don’t, look for someone who does. You should be confident that your retaining walls will last.

If you want the best retaining walls Gold Coast, you’ll need to find the best contractors in the area. Thankfully, the above tips should help you to locate someone who will do excellent work. Many amazing contractors work in the Gold Coast, so there’s no reason you should have to settle for anything less than the best.

How To Choose A Gold Coast Fencing Contractor

There are so many fencing contractors available today that sometimes it can be difficult to choose the right fencing contractor. However, it also has its own benefits. It means that you can get an excellent fencing contractor at the right price. The best way to begin your search for the right contractor is to interview contractors and find out about their experience and previous work along with other details.

Ask for Estimates

One of the things you need to keep in mind is that different contractors have different ways of giving estimates. There are usually two ways in which the estimates are given by the fencing contractors. Some of the contractors will drive to the site and offer an estimate only after looking at the project.

On the other hand, some other contractors will just give you an estimate on the basis of information provided by you such as length of fence and the type of work you want to get done. Both of these approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages.

The biggest advantage of an on-site estimate is that you get to meet the contractor. Also, when you meet the contractor, it gives you an opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the project. This is also one of the best ways to get to know the person.

Types of Contractors

You should also ask the contractor about how they are going to install the fence. There are many types of fencing contractors. For instance, there are some companies that sub contract their work, some of the companies have in-house employees and there are some companies where the owner installs the fence.

All of these three types have their own advantages and disadvantages. The subcontractors have the advantage of finding the best available installers at a lower cost as they do not need to pay payroll taxes and have an exact idea of the labor cost. However, these companies rely on outside contractors and it may not be easy to schedule them. Also, insurance will be an issue with them.

On the other hand, in-house employees usually work better as they need to do excellent work to ensure repeat work and recommendations. However, you are most likely to find the best contractor in an owner who himself installs the fence.

Precautions to Take

Check the Licensing

It is important to check the licensing of the fencing contractor. Do make it a point to ask the contractor for a copy of the license and verify the license.

Check Insurance

Insurance is very important. You need to ensure that you see their insurance papers before awarding the project. Do not just rely on the contractor saying that they have insurance. See it for yourself.

Check Portfolio

Insist on taking a look at the previous work done by the fencing contractor. Most of the professionals will be happy to show you their previous work.

These are some of the tips and precautions that you need to keep in mind before hiring a fencing contractor. You are going to spend quite a bit of money and these tips will help you find the best fencing contractor available, at the right price.