HGS Blog


Students in Private Rented Accommodation – Don’t Loose Your Deposit this Summer!

posted 16 May 2018, 09:24 by Liam Saunders   [ updated 13 Feb 2019, 00:34 by Ian Harradine ]

Student Garden Before    Student Garden After

The temperature is rising, we are fast-approaching the end of the academic year and those of you living in accommodation will be preparing to move out once exams are over. When you leave your private rented accommodation, you must ensure that the property is left in an acceptable state to avoid losing your deposit. Now, it might be fairly obvious that the bathroom and kitchen require a good scrub, but what about the garden? Despite it being largely neglected during the winter months, the garden needs to be maintained or you risk losing your deposit if it is left untidy or overgrown – consider it as another room in the house!

This article is offers Harradine Garden Services’ top tips for getting the garden up to scratch this summer, so you can avoid losing your deposit.

1. Get the Basics Right! Your garden does not need to resemble a Chelsea Flower Show exhibit – the landlord will mostly want the grass kept down. This is relatively easy to attain as long as you cut the grass regularly (at least every two weeks). Your landlord should provide you with the necessary tools to maintain the garden, including a domestic-grade lawnmower. However, if you allow the grass to get too long, the domestic mower will struggle to do the job and it may break. Your landlord could then charge you for a replacement. 

2. Get Rid of the Green Waste It’s Free! Green waste is collected weekly and free of charge by Hillingdon Council – just empty the grass clippings and hedge trimmings into the canvas bags provided and leave them to the front of the property on collection days. Find out more here: https://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/gardenwasterecycling
 
3. Keep it Clean! Is your garden currently used as a dump for old takeaway boxes, beer cans and glass bottles? Bag it all up in a clear recycling bag (these are provided free by Hillingdon Council) and leave it outside the property on collection day. Find out more here: https://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/recycling 

Help! I Need a Gardener!

At Harradine Garden Services, we understand that you may not have time to maintain your garden. Paying a professional gardener to get the garden into shape will save you a lot of time and will prevent you from losing your deposit. Here are a few tips for saving money and hassle when looking to hire a gardener.

1. Book Early to Avoid Disappointment (and Save Money!) If you decide to pay a gardener to maintain your garden, make sure you book early. We get booked up at least two weeks in advance during the summer, so now is the time to contact us if you want to guarantee a booking before the end of your tenancy. Every year, we get urgent calls from students who want their gardens done the next day, but by then we are usually too busy to do it. You may also be charged a premium for last-minute bookings. 
2. Remove the Rubbish! Although we will pick up litter, it may increase the cost of our services as it will take us longer to do your garden and we may have to pay to dispose of it. If your lawn is covered in rubbish, we will have to remove this before we begin work. Also, please refrain from collecting street furniture such as road signs and traffic cones. This may sound bizarre, but we are often asked to remove these items from gardens of student properties. As these items are big and expensive to dispose of, it will certainly add to your bill if we have to take these items away for you. Please note that these items are usually classed as being stolen and we are therefore legally required to give the address that they have been retrieved from. Harradine Garden Services has been established for over thirty years. We are based in Uxbridge and have experience in working with tenants and landlords to maintain private rented property gardens. We are fully insured, licensed to use pesticides and are licensed waste carriers. All waste is disposed of responsibly and disposal of green waste is included (but we may charge for other types of waste). Remember: Your landlord will not be the one footing the bill if you fail to leave the garden in an acceptable state – you will. You can save yourself money by hiring a gardener instead of leaving it until the last minute and risk losing your deposit.

Contact Harradine Garden Services

Contact us today to arrange your free gardening quote.

Telephone: 01895 232 704

Five Signs You Need A New Grounds Maintenance Contractor

posted 16 Feb 2018, 02:46 by Liam Saunders

If you are a facilities manager, a block manager, a residents management company, you need to know this. Just because it looks neat, does not mean it is done right.

Bad cleaning or poor building maintenance are usually easily spotted and can be quickly corrected. However, bad gardening practices can take months, even years to correct

This is a list of the five most common bad practices we find being carried out in communal grounds, private gardens and commercial properties.

Incorrect Commercial Hedge Cutting
Incorrect Hedge Batters

This is probably the most common bad practice we come across.  A hedge should be narrower at the top than it is at the base. This is achieved by sloping the sides, and is called the batter.  Hedges need a batter to allow light to reach all the way down to the base and keep the base from becoming bare.




Weed Species Of TreesWeed Species of Tree

One does not think about trees being a weed, however, in a hedge or shrub bed, they can be as much of a weed as thistles and dandy-lions.  Ash and Elder can easily seed themselves and very quickly get established and dominate the landscaping.  

Through lack of skills, knowledge or will, the young saplings are just clipped along with the rest of the hedge only to grow back with even more vigour.  By the time the infiltrator is noticed and removed, it is already too late, there is a gapping hole in the planting scheme. It may take a couple of years for the original shrubs to recover and fill the gap.



Shrubs
Welcome To The Jumble

Different shrubs are planted together in a mixed shrub bed. On smaller, more domestic sites these may consist of only one or two shrubs of each variety. In larger settings such as residential communal areas, many shrubs of the same variety may be planted in blocks in a larger mixed shrub bed.

The untrained and the unconcerned tend to treat these mixed shrub beds as if they were just one big hedge. The whole thing is cut to the same height at the same time in the same manor. The more vigorous shrubs are allowed to smother the less vigorous, different varieties of shrubs mix and intertwine and the whole bed starts to look like a dogs breakfast. No attempt is made to bring the best out of the different varieties. Colours, textures and shapes are all lost in a bland, amorphous lump.


Leaf Reversion
Leaf Reversion

To achieve year round colour to the grounds, landscapers rely on evergreen, variegated shrubs.  These shrubs have leaves that have yellow, white, red or pale green patches on the leaves. This is caused by a genetic defect that has given rise to a mutation that we find attractive. However, it is very common for the odd branch to revert back to its original green colour.

If this is not dealt with, the branch will grow more vigorously than the rest of the shrub.  Very quickly the colourful variegation is replaced by the dull green of its natural state.




Hedge Flowers
No Flowers

Many varieties of shrubs have the added bonus of producing flowers. Different shrubs flower at different times of the year and the changing vista maintains interest through the season. Here again the untrained do not know when to prune and when not to prune to encourage flowering on a particular type of shrub, the unconcerned just do not care. 

In both cases the flower buds are cut off before they can bloom.



Noticed One Or More Of The Five Signs In Your Grounds?

Your grounds are likely to benefit from the services of a professional grounds maintenance contractor, such as Harradine Garden Services. Request your free grounds maintenance quote today.

By engaging the services of a specialist, professional gardening and grounds maintenance contractor, you are engaging some one who will consider what your gardens will look like; now, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now, even a decade from now.  You are ensuring your grounds look good now and in years to come.

How To Choose A Gardener

posted 5 Feb 2018, 07:56 by Liam Saunders   [ updated 5 Feb 2018, 08:05 ]

Domestic Gardner In Uxbridge
CHOOSING A GARDENER

Perhaps it has rained for a couple of weekends, or you have been doing something far more interesting. Either way the grass has not been cut and now it’s too long for your mower to cope with…Time to get a gardener!

What To Consider

In the current ‘gig’ economy, there are a lot of ‘odd jobbers’ and people on ‘zero hour contracts’ buying cheap mowers and calling themselves gardeners.  So it is important to do a little homework and ask a few questions to ensure that your garden is in good hands.

First, it is important to consider what you want your gardener to do. Gardens are usually made up of a number of different elements, including lawns, hedges and beds, which all have different requirements. Therefore, you need to think about which aspects of the garden you want your gardener to maintain:
  • Do you want them to just cut the grass or take care of the whole garden?
  • Do you want the grass cut weekly or fortnightly?
  • Is the lawn to be aerated and the thatch raked out?
  • How often do you want the hedges cut?
  • Are the shrubs to be maintained and do you have a preference as to how they look?

Now you have decided what needs to be done, how do you decide who is going to do it? We have complied a list of questions you should consider asking a potential gardener before signing a contract:
  • Are they insured?
  • Are they licensed to use weed killers?
  • Do they have their own tools, or will they need to use yours?
  • Do they take the cuttings and clippings away and will they be disposed of responsibly? Will you be charged extra for waste disposal?
  • How long have they been gardening?
  • Are you comfortable having this person in your home on a regular basis?

Experience Counts

Britain is noted for its changeable weather.  No two summers are the same and conditions can change from week to week. Growing conditions can also vary greatly between gardens – for example as a result of soil type and light levels. The more seasons a gardener has got under his or her belt and the greater variety of grounds he or she has worked on, the better equipped they are to cater for your individual garden in the weather conditions of that year. At Harradine Garden Services, we have over thirty years’ experience in horticulture, so you can rest assured that we have the experience to provide the best care for your garden.

In addition to experience, some tasks, such as weed killing and waste removal, require licenses to carry out. At Harradine Garden Services, we are fully qualified to use pesticides and we are licensed waste carriers. This means that we can use weed killers and dispose of waste legally, safely and responsibly. Waste generated as a result of our activities (e.g. grass clippings) is disposed of at a registered waste disposal centre at no extra cost to you.

Cost: The Hourly Rate Tells You Very Little

Knowing the hourly rate is of very limited use when comparing gardeners, unless you are employing someone on a labour-only basis. That is to say they use your tools, do not take away the waste, do what you want them to do for however long you have agreed and you supply all the materials that are needed. This will inevitably work out far more expensive and time-consuming for you, the client, as the costs of tools and waste disposal mount up. It is worth noting that even the smallest of gardens can produce a substantial amount of green waste.

A professional gardener will usually assess how much work there is to do in the garden over the whole season or year and divide that by either eight or twelve months. Alternatively, they may have a lower price for the winter. 

A professional gardener may appear to be more expensive per hour, but they will provide a swift, professional, all-inclusive service that will work out cheaper and easier for you in the long run. At Harradine Garden Services, we spend as much time as is required to do a job, all the consumables such as weed killers and fertilizers are included in the price and we will take away the green waste that is produced. Furthermore, we use professional garden machines, which are expensive to buy and maintain, but reliably do the job in half the time and can cope with conditions that will break domestic equipment in minutes. 

Insurance Is Important

A mower can easily pick up a stone and put it through a patio door, which could cause damage and injury.  It is worth knowing that the gardener you employ has the proper insurance to pay for the damage. This is known as Public Liability Insurance and it covers the gardener for any damage or personal injury caused whilst carrying out their work. If you are employing someone who is using your tools, give some thought to what will happen if a faulty tool injured them or someone else. At Harradine Garden Services, we are covered by Public Liability Insurance, so you can have peace of mind knowing that we are covered in the event of damages or injury.

Looking For A Professional Gardener?

Harradine Garden Services is a professional grounds maintenance and garden services company. It was established over 25 years ago in 1987 by Ian Harradine  and later joined by his wife Amanda. With a joint experience of over 50 years, they use passion, creativity and science to transform gardens and grounds.

We are ready to help you take care of your garden and ensure that it is at its best. To arrange your free quote, please click the link below –

Request Your Free Quote

Things To Do In The Garden This Spring

posted 25 Jan 2018, 03:46 by Ian Harradine   [ updated 25 Jan 2018, 03:55 ]

Snowdrops

Winter is coming to an end and spring is here. Now is a great time to give nature a helping hand.

Time for a spring clean

Rid the garden of any dead or dying plants and dig over the soil ready for replanting. Empty out any dead planting from tubs and revive hanging baskets with spring planting. Violas are always an excellent choice, giving a good show of colour. Plant them up with herbs to give you a fresh supply for the kitchen all summer long. 

Although most spring bulbs are planted in October, all is not lost. Now is a great time to plant snowdrops. This flower represents rebirth and hope. Plant them when they are “in the green” (with leaves) so they are ready to appear through the snow next spring, letting us know that the garden is waking up. 

It is a good idea to trim back ivy, which might be encroaching on paths, windows and fencing. Sweep paths and patios can clean them with a patio cleaner.

Lawn care

Improving the quality of your lawn can make a big impression to the overall look of your garden. Feed your lawn with a granular feed and apply it with a lawn spreader to ensure even application. Over-seeding can also be done in the Spring. Although September is a favourite time for this, March and May are also very favourable. The area to be over-seeded should be cut short and scarified to rid the area of old thatching. Choose a good quality seed suited to your lawn. A mix of seed, sand and soil is best.

Hedges

A well cut hedge at the front of a property makes your home imposing and bursting with curb appeal getting many admiring glances, so it is important that this is done properly. At Harradine Garden Services, we cut hedges to the correct batter (a gradual backward slope).

Request a free quotation today

Harradine Garden Services are ready to help you transform your garden into a beautiful outdoor space. To arrange your free quote, please click the link below –

Request Your Free Quote

About  Harradine Garden Services

Harradine Garden Services is a professional grounds maintenance and garden services company. It was established over 25 years ago in 1987 by Ian Harradine  and later joined by his wife Amanda. With a joint experience of over 50 years, they use passion, creativity and science to transform gardens and grounds.

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