With the majority of my jobs taking a good couple of weeks to finish at the moment, it was nice to take on a little landscaping project which included the installation of artificial turf, a raised flower bed by using railway sleepers and the addition of a trellis on the garden shed to finish it off, all taking just 2 days to complete. We had nice weather for the couple of days we were there with all deliveries of materials arriving on time, to be honest the job couldn’t have gone better.

What I charged to complete this project

As with all my quotes, I estimate the materials which could go up or down but put a cap in place for the labor costs which means that if the work takes less time than expected then the invoice will reduce accordingly, but if work takes longer than expected then there will be no additional charges. This allows me to be as fair as possible and shows that I am genuine to the customer.

I was confident that we could complete the work in 3 days so set the cap in place at this, with a day rate of £180 (£22.50 per hour) per person. This meant that for 2 of us this would be a day rate of £360, equivalent to £1080 as a worst case scenario over the 3 days plus materials. To give you a better idea, please see the quotation that I sent to the customer below:

“Hi ‘customer‘ and thank you for having us look at your garden. Please see below your quotation to have artificial grass installed, a raised flower bed by use of railway sleepers as well as adding a trellis onto your shed allowing for the growth of a climbing plant. Please see your estimate below:

MATERIALS

  • Artificial grass £400
  • Type 1 MOT £100
  • Sharp sand £150
  • Membrane £60
  • Sleepers £80
    Skip £260

Total £1050

LABOUR

We charge £180 per day, per person, equal to £360 for the 2 of us. We are confident that we can have the work completed in no more than 3 days which comes to a total of £1080.

TOTAL ESTIMATED FOR ALL WORK £2130

IMPORTANT NOTES

Although we try our best to over estimate materials with a view to lowering your final invoice, in some cases they may increase. All receipts will be provided. We are confident that we can have the work completed in no more than 3 days so are happy to put a cap in place. This means that if work takes longer than 3 days then you will not be charged extra in labor, and if less days are taken then your final invoice will reduce accordingly.

Should you have any questions then just let me know.

Thank you”

Looking at the above, we covered ourselves on the 3 days at £1080 labor, but as the work only took 2 days to complete then this was lowered to £720 which I think is low considering the garden transformation. We completed this work in between jobs so it slotted in nicely.

How I completed this landscaping project

Installing the trellis to the garden shed

We wanted to have the trellis sink into the raised flower bed and cover the bottom with new top soil so this meant installing it onto the shed as the first point of action. This is because it needed to be done before the railway sleepers were installed as we would have struggled to get a drill in place with a sleeper in the way when fixing it to the shed, if this makes sense of course!

We went inside the shed to find the baton holding the shed slats in place as we were going to use these to screw the garden trellis onto. Having measured the size trellis needed, we ordered one the correct size, so no cutting was required and we screwed it into place in minutes. Job 1 complete – Nice and easy!

Preparing the ground to lay artificial turf

Before installing sleepers, we used a tiller to turn the ground over before digging it out to approximately 3-4 inches. The ground sloped upwards towards to gate at the back of the garden so I let the customer know that you would see the ground rise against the level sleeper which she was fine about.

Once we were happy that the ground was at a good depth, we then thought it best to install the railway sleepers to create the raised flower bed as these would act as a barrier when throwing down the granite dust for the next step of installing the fake grass.

To install the sleepers, we dug a small trench with our mattock, screwed 200mm timber bolts into the bottom of the sleepers, filled the trench with concrete and sunk them in. This isn’t absolutely necessary but we always build to the best of our capability as to not get any come backs in the future, and so far so good! The sleepers are laid in an ‘L’ shape and were all fixed together using 200mm timber bolts as to keep them joint together nicely and not have them fall apart or develop gaps despite the swelling during Winter months. Once done, it was time to lay the granite dust.

We actually used just over 3 tones of granite dust in this area to bring the ground back up to level with the patio surrounding it. We then used a wacker plate (also known as a compactor) to compact it down. We kept watering it, adding to any dips, removing any lumps, raked with a landscaping rake and re compacted where necessary until we were absolutely happy that the ground was level.

Once done, we installed some baton around the perimeter of where the artificial grass was to be laid before rolling out the membrane which would act as a barrier between the artificial grass and granite dust, preventing weeds from growing.

Now that the trellis is up and the raised flower bed has been built, it’s time to lay the artificial turf

Now it’s time for the easy bit! Starting from one end of the garden, we rolled out the fake grass making sure that we were happy where it sat. Since the roll was wider than the area being covered (obviously) we decided to start in the corner where the patio and path begins, having it overlap the raised flower bed.

My business partner then began to screw the edges of the artificial grass into the baton whilst I trimmed the excess turf along the railway sleepers and around the shed. Once complete, we used 6 inch nails to secure the inside of the fake grass before sweeping in kiln dried sand to add extra weight to the artificial lawn.

Once complete, the job was finished! The customer was very happy with the results although I did recently get a call to ask if there was any way that we could stop the grass from being so hot! But otherwise, she was and is very happy. The work went very well without running into any problems. The materials and labor came to less than estimated too which is always a bonus and prompts for recommendations where possible.

As always, please subscribe to receive the latest updates whenever we write an article on everything garden related. To give you an idea on what we write about, why not follow these links to find out how to lay your very own artificial turf or create your very own raised flower beds with sleepers. If you have a look around you will find lots more information like how much you should expect to pay a landscape gardener to do the work for you! Otherwise, I hope this post helps those looking to start their very own landscape gardening business.