How much should you expect to pay a gardener per hour for garden maintenance in 2023? – The Gardeners Guild Article

Based on the Gardeners Guild research of qualified, self-employed gardeners, gardeners charge a national average hourly rate of between £28 and £35 per hour in 2023. This is not their wage but reflects the cost of running their business.

How do we know what the average hourly rate of a gardener will be in 2023?

According to the Gardeners Guild most recent nationwide research, the average daily target income for a qualified gardener with 4 to 10 years experience was £206 per day in 2022. This increases to £246 per day for gardeners with over 10 years experience.

Gardeners expect to work an average of 8 chargeable hours per day. This suggests an hourly rate of between £26 and £31 per hour respectively.  However, this research is based on responses received during 2022 and is approximately 9% higher than the national average for 2021.

Given the high rate of inflation, business costs and risk associated with self employment, a further increase of 9% in 2023 is reasonable to expect, resulting in an average hourly rate of between £28 and £35 per hour in 2023.

A gardeners hourly rate reflects the cost of running their business

The running costs of a professional gardening business are just as high as any other professional trade – accountant, training, insurance, transport and vehicle maintenance, tools and tool maintenance, protective clothing, plus many consumables. For example, it can cost as much to service a mower as it does to service a car. A gardener may have more than one mower plus many other powered tools that all need servicing, oil, fuel, lubricants, replacement parts and sundries.

RESEARCH: On average around 26% of a gardeners annual turnover is spent on business costs.

Good gardeners are currently in high demand. Gardens take years to mature and plants are expensive. A qualified gardener can not just maintain but improve floral displays and plant health. They can give you valuable advice and recommendations. Qualified gardeners can work independently and efficiently.

Compare gardeners hourly rates fairly in 2023

– Ask about insurance, tools, experience, licenses and qualifications.

Every gardening business is different and these average 2023 hourly rates will vary between gardeners

– Some gardeners may have higher qualifications, more experience, specialist knowledge or additional equipment.

– Some gardeners may initially offer a simple service and charge less as they grow their business.

– Rates may increase or decrease for regional variations.

– Fees may increase as the level of danger/height increases.

– Hourly rates generally exclude removal of cuttings, chemical treatments etc

– Some gardeners may have specialist tools, longer ladders, require a bigger vehicle or have additional practical licenses (Chainsaw, Pesticides etc) or pay for the Upper Tier waste carriers license.

A gardeners charges will vary depending on how often you need them

Think about what you really need – maintenance or ‘manicure’. A ‘manicured’ garden will need regular visits so a gardener will likely charge by the hour and involve detailed work. A gardeners lowest rate may be reserved for regular customers who give the gardener work 12 months a year.

Standard garden maintenance (mowing lawns, trimming hedges, weeding etc) may be offered to you at a fixed price. A fixed price helps you budget and is an efficient way to keep your garden under control.

Whether you need standard maintenance or more time consuming work will also depend on the plants you have chosen to have in your garden.

RESEARCH: A gardeners income drops by up to 37% on average during the winter months due to shorter days and unsettled weather. During the growing season, gardeners are in high demand.

Beware of false economy

The less a gardener charges per hour the longer they are likely to take – after all, what incentive do they have to work at a quicker pace? Are they insured? Are they qualified? Do they have their own tools? If they use your tools, are you insured if they hurt themselves? If the gardener offers you nothing but labour then the minimum wage in the UK is around £10 phr. Cheap labourers soon give up self-employment and return to employed work – especially during the winter months.

Many non-qualified gardeners try to charge the same as a qualified gardener – so why not just look for a qualified gardener and get what you are already paying for?

Having spent thousands of pounds on tools, insurance and training, a professional gardener will be proud to tell you why they are worth their fees, and you will benefit as they work efficiently, safely, and intelligently.

Judge the quality of a gardeners work by asking them to do a small task and invite them back only if you are happy. Every gardener is different and will focus on certain types of work. Some gardeners specialise in border maintenance and pruning while others specialise in work that requires powered tools – so even a good gardener may not be the best gardener for your garden.

Saving money with a professional gardener in 2023

Save money (and help your gardener) by doing the right job at the right time. Garden maintenance is required all year around. Spread the cost by doing the right job at the right time.

* Ask your gardener for help when work is really required at the right time of the year. A good gardener can tell you when each plant needs attention.
* Talk to your gardener about how to simplify your garden i.e. mulching borders so you don’t have to weed so often.
* Stay in contact with your gardener by asking them to cut your lawn regularly – often a fixed price service.
* Plan ahead and call your gardener before your garden becomes overgrown as they may be busy.

If you do this they will likely give you priority over irregular customers.

Please note: These suggestions are for maintenance gardening only and not landscaping or tree surgery as these are different disciplines with higher costs involved.

Laurel returns from South East Asia with plenty of memories – Christine Ladley Fund 2022

With the assistance of the Christine Ladley Fund, I embarked on a journey to visit the botanic gardens of South East Asia; my first visit to Asia, and travelling alone, so quite an adventure.

Phuket Botanical Garden in Southern Thailand was an extraordinary, eccentric gem, with a vast variety of plants. Of the twenty-plus areas, the amazing Palm Garden and Orchid section were most memorable.

Next was Rayong Botanic Gardens in Eastern Thailand. The best way to appreciate their wonderful waterlily collection is by canoe, and then it’s by bike round the ancient mangrove forest. An absolutely magical wilderness, lichens and mosses tumbling from twisted branches, it was so exciting to see wild Sarracenias and Nepenthes. Unlike the privately owned Phuket Gardens, Rayong is one of four Government Funded satellite gardens linked to the Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens near Chiang Mai in the northern mountains. Each have specialisms which reflect their immediate environment; thus Rayong’s water lilies and mangroves.

Queen Sirikit, meanwhile, is so enormous that a car, or an organised visit, is essential. The highlight for me was the sky-walk; such a treat to view a tropical rainforest from above. Additionally, there is a fantastic range of glasshouses, including one devoted to Ethnobotany; a first for me.

Originally Laos Botanical Gardens near Luang Prabang was on my itinerary, but unfortunately it is closed until 2024 due to funding problems. So from Laos I travelled to Angkor Botanical Garden near Siem Reap, Cambodia. Opened in May 2022, this may be the newest in the world. It had a unique variety of Khmer plants, an interesting spice collection, wildlife forest and a beautiful flower meadow.

After two months travelling, I got to the much older Ho Chi Minh City Botanical Gardens in Vietnam. What a relief the lush, tropical greenery was, after the sweltering, chaos of the city traffic.

I also visited forests, national parks and other smaller gardens during my travels; it felt very special to see beautiful plants including a variety of orchids and ferns, growing in the wild that I had only previously seen in glasshouses.

I feel very grateful and privileged for this funding from WFGA. I am writing a blog about my botanical travels, which will continue whilst I am on my 12 month sabbatical. Although for the next few months, I will not be in such exciting places as South East Asia.  Thank you WFGA!

Laurel Goss