The famous actress, Audrey Hepburn, once said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”. And she was so right! The lush green beauty of grass, soothing shade of tall trees and the fragrance of vibrant flowers turn a house into a home. Even a commercial building surrounded by a well maintained garden entices the finer senses in us. And a gardener makes it his job and passion to look after all kinds of greenery and assist the owners with his skill, knowledge and gardening tips.
The scope of work or activities of a gardener is quite extensive. He is involved in raising plants from cuttings or seeds, pruning shrubs, cutting trees, mowing lawns and digging, planting and weeding flower beds and borders. A gardener keeps a tab on the health or growth of plants, diagnoses any diseases or pest infestations and finds ways to control them. He also makes sure that the plants are receiving enough nutrition and the moisture levels are accurate. Gardeners use their knowhow of planting schemes to ensure that the garden produces at least something throughout the year. To make this possible, they cleverly position plants which work well together or match plant sizes. Plants are grown in such a manner that flowers bloom and shrubs produce new leaves at different times. A gardener can not only offer flower gardening tips but also vegetable gardening tips. He can help you to grow ferns, ornamental plants, organic and herb gardens, a Zen garden and so on. He has a good understanding of the best time and technique needed for a particular plant to flourish. Gardeners can also advise you on which plants can be grown in planters or containers, which ones will need more sun or a certain type of soil, which ones will thrive in a specific season and which ones will stay green all the year round. As you may already know, horticulture deals with the production, improvement, marketing and beneficial usage of fruits, flowers, vegetables and other plants. An experienced and learned gardener may often act as a horticulturist and may be aware of the exact science of plant reproduction and propagation. With the guidance of landscape designers or architects, he can create beautifully designed gardens, parks, recreation areas, lawns, sports grounds, street plant displays, botanical and historical gardens etc. A professional gardener usually has all the essential garden tools with him such as trowel, watering can, transplanting spade, fork, utility bag, pruners, scissors or shears, soaker hose, wheelbarrow, edger and of course mower. Efficient gardeners comprehend the requirement and wishes of clients and discuss the possible plan of action with them. They keep an eye out for details, have practical skills and apply environment friendly methods. If required, gardeners can also execute simple building tasks like putting up sheds, walls or fences and laying patios. Last but not the least; gardeners keep the garden clean, by disposing dead leaves and other dirt.
The area of work of all these professionals stresses on the maintenance, design and beautification of the natural environment surrounding a building or road etc. in order to ensure a balance between aesthetics and functionality. But naturally, there are differences. A gardener in India usually doesn’t require any specific or formal qualifications to do his job. His experience, skill, knowledge and creativity are given more importance. But due to the recent increase in demand for “trained” gardeners, a number of institutes in our country are offering certificates or diplomas in gardening or landscape gardening. So many gardening professionals today may come with degrees which endorse their expertise and learning. While a landscape designer or architect is instrumental in designing a garden, a gardener concentrates more on the maintenance and hands on labor that goes with it.
The need to hire landscape designers lies midway between a professional gardener and landscape architect. They commonly work on small residential projects and have in-depth horticultural knowledge. Landscape designers know which plants to choose and understand all aspects of soils, plant science, drainage and pest control. In India they should ideally have recognized diploma degrees or equivalent certifications.
A landscape architect must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in India and needs around 3 years of work experience to acquire a practicing license. They are more often engaged in large scale commercial or public projects and may work in collusion with building architects, engineers or environmental scientists.
The easiest way to find a gardener in any Indian city is to search online. Homify for example offers you a list of several professionals with contact details to get in touch easily. You will find a couple of local service companies offering gardening services or gardeners and the local “mali” as the gardener is known in India, can be also found in the neighbourhood. Usually societies and neighbourhoods have their own set of gardeners who render their services at a monthly fee. A wise move is also to ask your friends or family members about the kind of gardening service they hire. Make sure that you clearly state the type of activities you are expecting from a gardener to avoid ending up with a wrong pick.
A gardener should ideally be someone who is passionate about nature and loves the outdoors. He should have energy, patience and be physically fit for the arduous hours or tasks often required. But this is not enough. Here are some questions you should ask a gardener before you let him tend to your special patch of green. Enquire about the years of experience the gardener has. If you have some special project in mind, then it is recommended to hire someone who is an expert. So ask if he has any relevant qualifications, certificates or diplomas in support of his skills. Don’t hesitate to ask for references or reviews from others who use or have used his services. This will help you to gauge the gardener’s reliability, professionalism, timeliness, behaviour and quality of work. Make your wishes and requirements for your garden very clear to the gardener. Note if he is respecting your needs or ideas and making rational suggestions to achieve the desired outcome. He should be able to provide you with the details of how he plans to fulfill his duties. If you are keen on sustainable or organic maintenance of your lawn or garden, then it is essential that you hire a professional who is aware of such concepts. To check whether the gardener knows about organic methods of garden supervision, ask him about how he plans to control weeds and pests, or what kind of fertilizers he is planning to use. Garden makeovers through permeable landscaping are very popular these days. These procedures make way for water and air to reach the various soil layers, making it more suitable to grow lush gardens and attract birds and butterflies. For instance, permeable paving can be done on your walkway or driveway to let the underlying soil “breathe”. If you are planning such a makeover, ask the gardener if he is up for it. A traditional garden may not always be your choice. So if you intend to have a herb garden or grow vegetables, then check with the gardener if he can competently achieve results. Based on whether you need the gardener’s service regularly or on a project basis, ask for a cost estimate which includes all his deliverables. Compare with some other gardeners too, to estimate if the quote seems fair. For specialty projects, remember to ask him about the time it will take for completion.
The amount of money you will have to shell out depends on the gardening services you need, whether it’s a specialty project or regular maintenance work, the area of garden or lawn, the experience or repute of the gardener and the costs of fertilizers or nutrients required etc.
While some professionals charge hourly, weekly or monthly rates, some others demand a lump sum amount for an entire project. To avoid confusions or overcharging in future, ask for an estimate beforehand. To cut down on costs you may also choose to carry out simple jobs like daily watering of the plants yourself.
While a skilled gardener oversees all the facets of your gorgeous garden, here are some other professionals you may need for enhanced beautification of your inside and outside spaces. Homify can help you to get in touch with them easily.
Interior Landscape Designers – Interior landscaping focuses on the designing, arranging and caring for plants in closed environments, such as the rooms of your home. So the professionals can effectively and artistically add a hint of nature and life inside your house, and guests will know how much you care about the environment.
Fencing Contractors and Gate Builders – Creating and maintaining a beautiful garden, driveway, walkway or patio is not enough. You need to secure the perimeter of your property to prevent trespassers or stray animals from getting inside. Professionals who deal with putting up protective fences or gates can help you in this direction.
Pool and Spa Installation Services – Beautiful, green outdoor spaces can look all the more enticing when a pool or spa area is added. Professionals who offer these services can also design unique water features if you wish.
Electricians – Everything looks more beautiful with the right lights. So contact professional electricians to set up lights in the garden, lawn, driveway, patio, porch, or terrace.