At SellMyHome.co.uk we understand the importance of keeping your home in top condition, not only for your own comfort but also to get the best offer when it goes on the market. With this in mind we’re assembling a team of Home Heroes, those professionals we turn to when our home causes us grief.
This week we spoke to Shaun Rosse, of Rise Gardens, who wants to keep London's home gardens looking beautiful all year round. Shaun gave us some useful tips on how to keep your garden looking fresh in the winter, and explained that it's a job that you need to stay on top of all year round.
What does a gardener entail?
People want to get their gardens to become more presentable in order to attract a better price. Rather than go down the route of a huge landscape gardening project, we find a solution where we can tidy it up, and work with a lot of reclaim materials. We find a lot of materials just get dumped around in skips around the NW6 area, so we use those as recycled materials. We also utilise those materials in other ways in terms of selling them on in order to make a nice garden out of it.
What sort of work do you find is the most common in your area of expertise?
The most common sort of work we do is what we call tidy ups.
Like cutting grass?
No, not so much that, as that's more of a maintenance thing. Mostly what I do is tackle things that have got out of hand in the garden. Things like overgrown bushes and shrubberies. I go in to clear everything out to produce a better garden standard.
How did you get into the gardening business and how long have you been doing it for?
I was in another profession for 20 odd years and have always had a passion with my own garden. I started out by helping out a friend who had some properties that needed their garden sorted. I very much prefer being outside working, through any type of weather than sitting in an office. I'm very much a guy who enjoys working with his hands.
Do you have any advice on how a person can maintain their garden through winter?
Yes, get it all put to bed around this time of year. It's not that difficult. Tidy it, stack everything up neatly, and just kind of do the medial jobs throughout the winter to keep on top of it. Best time to start work on your garden again is around the Spring when the weather clears up. If you've kept on top of your garden through winter there won't be much to do come Spring. It can also depend on what you want to do and if you have any coloured plants in the garden. Keep it neat and mow your lawn mid autumn time. You could also use a winter fertilizer to keep the plants in decent soil. It's a good time to plant out this time of year, things that could get damaged from the winter weather. Anything that is really sisceptable to frost like tree fern, wrap them in bubble wrap to protect them. A big mistake is people leave leaves on their lawn. This could damage the grass underneath and stop it from growing again.
Do you have any horror stories while on the job?
I've been to some absolute horror stories in the past! I went to one where the tenants had just left the garden. They'd been in the house around three years prior. The tenants had literally left the garden and allowed it to grow. The garden was around five feet high in brambles and they had not done a single thing about it. It cost the tenant in the end several thousand pounds to clear it. They could have easily avoided the situation if they had spent an hour a week to maintain the garden. Brambles are very difficult to eradicate which could be a problem once they've taken hold.
What makes a good client?
A good client is somebody that has some idea of what they want but at the same time are open to suggestions and they will work with you with the idea. Some clients want miracles which in some cases just won't work. One thing that my clients often don't think about is their garden if they're in a town house. By this I mean clients will decorate their house to a high standard and not realise that their garden waste will have to come through their newly decorated rooms to dispose of it. Townhouses very rarely have access to the garden from the road, so this route is the only way the garden refuse can go. I would always suggest if you're going for a full house and garden renovation, get the garden done first, then follow on with the house. It just saves a lot of mess, especially in London townhouses.
What's the most rewarding things about your job?
Seeing the end product definitely. You're out in the fresh air, you're working on a garden that is in need of assistance, and once you're finished, you can look back at the work you have done and the final product. Working with nature, it's a nice job.