There is no doubt about it, our busiest months for enquiries are during the springtime in April and May.
When gardens start waking up and the weather starts to warm up after what can sometimes in the UK feel like a never-ending winter, many of our clients across Essex start to think about getting their gardens into shape.
But, often, contacting a reputable landscape contractor or garden designer during springtime may mean that you have missed the boat in terms of getting your garden summer-ready.
Lead times can often mean that you don’t get to enjoy your garden much during the summer months. Our lead times can sometimes be as long as six months during peak times – not that this is always a problem, as spending time in your garden during autumn and even winter can be great fun and something we should all maybe do more of. However, many of us find that we get the most out of our gardens during the summer, when the weather is warmer and the days are longer.
Speaking as a landscape contractor, we firmly believe that the best time to landscape your garden is during the winter months. We know this goes against popular belief, but there are several good reasons we think this. Let’s take a look at five reasons why.
As we’ve already mentioned, during busy periods our lead times can sometimes be up to six months. So, booking an appointment in April may mean that your garden isn’t ready until October, or even later, depending upon the complexity of the job.
Sometimes Indian summers occur but it’s rarely warm enough in October to be able to sit comfortably out in your garden without several layers on, or even a patio heater. Again, this may not be a problem for many people, but if you want to be able to enjoy your garden during the warmer months, you may have left it a bit late to do so in the current year.
Landscaping your garden during the winter months means that as soon as we get the first warm weekend of the year, you can be outside making the most of your brand-new garden.
There is no doubt about it, when we come in to transform your garden it always gets worse before it gets better! As the saying goes, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette and after the first couple of days on site, you may think that a bomb has hit your garden.
That’s only because the first stage of any job is to clear the site and excavate and remove any earth, as necessary.
Of course, this will mean that your garden is out of action until works are completed.
During the summer, this can be a problem if the sun is shining at the weekend and you want to be out in your garden.
During the winter, on the other hand, you are far less likely to want to go out in your garden, making the works less of an inconvenience.
You are also very unlikely to have any BBQs or garden parties planned during the winter months.
Virtually every type of garden transformation involves some form of excavation work. Whether it’s a new patio, lawn, decking, fencing or artificial lawn, all of these features involve excavation of some sort.
As we tend to get more rain during autumn and winter, this helps to soften the ground, making it easier to dig.
This makes the job quicker and easier, especially if we are having to excavate anything by hand. During the height of summer we often find that the ground can be like concrete, making it extremely difficult to dig.
You may think this a downside, but landscaping can be hard physical work. Although we spend our days outside, you can work up a sweat quite quickly, even in the winter months. We all feel the cold, but that’s only a problem if you haven’t prepared properly. During the winter it’s important to wear plenty of layers. Proper preparation will keep you warm during even the coldest of winter days and we always find that we start removing layers as the day goes on.
However, during the summer there is no escaping the heat. When you’re working hard outside, anything above 30 degrees can quickly drain your energy. Anything towards the high thirties and we normally have to down tools for health and safety reasons.
During the spring and summer months, we find that we have to book materials well in advance to ensure our suppliers have them in stock and are able to deliver them when we need them. During the spring and summer, demand for landscaping materials is at its highest. This can, of course, sometimes make getting hold of materials more difficult.
In landscaping, you don’t only need the right materials but, importantly, you need them delivered at the right time. It is not usually possible to know exactly when we will be needing certain materials when a job first starts. As suppliers are quieter during the winter, they have more flexibility as to when they are able to deliver their goods.
The majority of our jobs mean we need materials delivered using specialist HIAB crane vehicles, due to weight, so often we are very much in the hands of our suppliers to get goods on site.
Winter landscaping means less delays from suppliers.
Okay, so admittedly there are some drawbacks to landscaping during the winter months. Here are some of the downsides to winter landscaping.
Of course it is more likely to rain, which earlier we mentioned can be a benefit. That said, it can also be a curse, although it may surprise you to hear that we do not lose as much time to rain as you might think. We can often continue working through light rain without being affected, and it rarely rains hard persistently throughout an entire day (not down in Essex, anyway!). Often it’s little more than a passing shower, which we can sit out, then continue works once it’s stopped.
This can sometimes make the job a bit trickier and sometimes a bit messier, too. But if there is too much water in your garden, we can combat this by using a water pump to remove the excess from your property.
Another problem with winter weather is frost. This can be a problem when you’re working with mortar or concrete. Again, we rarely get persistent frost across several days so we just avoid doing any mortar work on the days when there is a frost. Often, there are other aspects of a project that we can continue working on instead, meaning it doesn’t cause any delays to the project.
From everything the British weather can throw at us, snow is admittedly our biggest problem. If your garden is covered in a blanket of snow, then unfortunately that would put a stop to the day’s play. Again, though, in the South-East we don’t often get a huge amount of snow and if we do it’s often gone within a couple of days, so doesn’t affect our line of work too much.
Well, there you have it: five reasons why winter is the best time to landscape your Essex garden. We know it goes against popular belief, but we firmly believe the winter is the ideal time to get your garden in order.
If you would like a free consultation to discuss how we can help you transform your garden, or even your driveway, then contact us here, or call us on 01245 697 688 and speak to our friendly team today.