If you asked a landscaper to come to your property to discuss landscaping your garden, one would hope, after they assessed your requirements, taken the measurements and noted all of the challenges that the project poses, would go away and seriously think about how they was going to deliver a quality product, at the right price, on time and, exactly as detailed in their estimate or quote.
Sadly, life is not always that straightforward and landscape projects can go wrong from time to time. The important part for you as a customer, is what safeguards and come-back do you have if your project has a problem?
Let's take a look at your responsibilities as a customer first: you have to make sure that YOU choose the right landscaping firm, with the right track record, experience in business and previous client references - take a stab in the dark and you have nobody else to blame but yourself if you get a duff job.
Landscape Juice encourages its landscapers and gardeners to add another tier of assurance for you to assess before engaging a contractor. It's called a voluntary Customer Charter and it is presented by the contractor as part of their supporting paperwork when submitting a quote or estimate.
It's not a guarantee; it's a 'statement of intent' and is designed, from the very start, to give any client the confidence, that should a problem occur, a contractor will do their very best to sort it out.
Failure of materials
Just one caveat; this is not a license to demand changes and extras that are not scheduled and have not been provided for in the quote; it is also not any form of warranty on materials or any factor that is out of the contractors control - it is a statement that is telling you that if there is a problem with, or a failure of a material that has been supplied, the contractor will do their very best to assist you with the rectification.
Terms and conditions
It is also worth noting that a good landscape contractor will offer, as part of their supporting information, a set of terms and conditions that are modified to suit your particular project.
Example of T&C's working in conjunction with a Customer Charter (or not).
If, after a new patio has been laid, a water leak is discovered and it is determined that a pipe may have been severed underneath the paving, one has to decide who is responsible for fixing the leak and at whose cost?
If the contractor has supplied terms and conditions that state something along the lines - 'The contractor is not able to accept responsibility for any damage to (or cost involved with repairing) any underground hazards, obstructions or services not made known to us in writing or apparent on visual inspection.' - then you may be liable for the cost of lifting the patio, repairing the pipe and re-instatement of the paving.
If you have made the contractor aware of cables and drains in the vicinity of the area of excavation then they are responsible for making good - this is the point that the terms of the Customer Charter are applied and the contractor, however hard it is financially for them, should put the damage right.