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Working as a private garden consultant?

Posted by siennact (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 28, 07 at 21:25

I helped some friends from church with a mailbox garden last year, and they would like to hire me to help out with their gardens this year. The yard is already cared for by a lawn service and a landscaper, I'm not sure if I am intended to replace the landscaper, that's what I am guessing. It's pretty much "done" with not much room left to add anything new but of course things could be improved upon.

Anyway... has anyone done this sort of work who could share their experience? I am meeting with them this week to discuss their plans. They have very little experience with plants or gardening so I expect to be doing most of the talking. About what, I'm not sure! I'm trying to get together some questions to ask them and some basic ideas to suggest to get started. Also, any idea on the going rate for this sort of service? I am in Cheshire, CT.

It would be really nice if this works out, what a dream job! I could really use the money too, I'm getting divorced and about to be up to my eyeballs in bills!


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Working as a private garden consultant?

This may not totally apply to your situation, but it will give you something to think about

Here is a link that might be useful: Initial Consultation

RE: Working as a private garden consultant?

Congratulations Tina,
Here is a site on garden consultants that you might find helpful. kt

Here is a link that might be useful: The Gardening Coach

RE: Working as a private garden consultant?

I have been posting for years on the Design Forum that there is a desperate need for 'garden consultants'. At least 80% of the questions asked on that Forum have nothing to do with design. Rather, it is plant information sought.

Go for it! Work on an hourly fee. Make certain you include portal to portal transportation in your expenses. Just wait...with word of mouth you are going to be busy. Don't be afraid to charge for your expertise!

RE: Working as a private garden consultant?

I know several people (in my area) who charge $35-40/hour for consultations and/or time spent on buying trips if such thing will be involved.
As nandina said, their services mostly performed not in a garden design field, but rather in general plant info and pruning especially.

RE: Working as a private garden consultant?

Absolutely go for fair pricing. I charged 25 an hour 6 years ago....what ego45 says seems fair. Please don't underprice yourself.

RE: Working as a private garden consultant?

There is definitely a market for this service. Last year I hired a really great all-around gardener who had a wealth of knowledge about plants; he was snapped up by a local well-known LA firm this year. It should work out for them both, the LAs needed a great gardener and he was tired of the business side of being self employed. I miss him already.

One of my favorite books on the subject is The New American Landscape Gardener, by Phebe Leighton & Calvin Simonds. The reason I thought of the book is that it describes what Phebe does as an LD, the questions she asks clients while working on the design. It might be a useful book for someone in that line of work, though I was reading it from the other perspective, the homeowners'.

Good luck in this endeavor - it should be challenging and rewarding. Hope you keep us posted!

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