6. ON ARRIVAL
1. Arrive with everything you need (green waste bags, tools, personal equipment, water etc.) ready to go.
2. Check Jobber and read any notes attached to the job. Start the timer in Jobber to record your time. Know the client's name before you arrive, what jobs have been completed before and what has been recommended to do on this visit, has the client requested any particular jobs?
3. Knock at the front door & SMILE. Say Hello and ask if there anything that needs focusing on today? Let the client know how long you are scheduled to be here and ask if they want you to check in with them when they leave.
4. Walk around the garden first (before starting) to prioritise work and identify existing, new and potential hazards. Has anything changed since the last time you were on site? Have you been to this site before?
5. Check you are wearing appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) - gloves, hat, arm protectors, glasses (sun or clear), ear defenders, sun cream applied etc.
6. Some people find it useful to start a timer on their phone which alarms 15 minutes before they have to leave. This then gives them plenty of time to tidy away and leave promptly without rushing.
This area is what our clients see first so it is a priority. Make sure this area is given a tidy each time.
What’s happening around the letterbox? The client sees this everyday. Does it need weeding, leaf removal from underneath? the front door like? Blow off any leaves on the mat, weed any beds / containers next to it.
Look at how the client approaches the house. Make sure what they see first is your best work.
Work on areas that the client will see from the house, outdoor seating areas etc.
The berm is the client’s responsibility too. Is it looking tidy? Are there trees or beds that can be tidied?
PATHWAYS, DRIVEWAYS & HARD SURFACE AREAS
Stone paths, pebbles, shells - if you don’t have time to hand weed them, then spray them with weed killer so they don’t spread more (as long as no spray drift will touch any plants!). NB Before spraying, ensure there are no pets or children in the garden. If the client is home and has pets or children, let them know that you have sprayed and that the spray must be dry before allowing access to the sprayed area.
DO NOT SPRAY ON A WINDY DAY
Are all the pathways blown free?
Have you left any debris on the borders or paths from weeding? Clear this away also.
Aim to remove all leaves / weeds from under the hedge. If you can, also go to the back of the hedge or if you can reach through to the back, do so slowly and taking care.
If there is a perimeter hedge, don’t forget to look from the other side. Does it need weeding at the front of the berm?
We do have a hedge trimmer for low hedges, so make a note if that is needed next time, so the next gardener can arrange to have the hedge trimmers on that day
Do not work up ladders if requested too by the client. Politely explain that we are not insured against high level work and that we can recommend a local company that we regularly work with for that type of work.
Be aware of plants that are not looking their best. Why is it? There are many reasons for a plant to lose its vigour and look sickly:
Pests - there are many plant pests, and different pests require different treatments. Try to identify the pest and the impact it is having on the plant. If you don't know, take a photo and load it onto the Floribunda Sparkly Gardeners Facebook page for the team to identify. We can then put a plan in place to help remedy the situation.
Planting Position - Sometimes plants are planted in the wrong place, sun lovers in shade etc. If you think there is a plant that is looking poorly and it is in the wrong situation talk to the client about possibly moving it to a better location. If the client is not there, let them know about it when writing the leaving card. Also, let Claire know, so that she can following up with the client and confirm if we can move it on our next visit.
Nutrient Deficiency - plants can suffer from lack of nutrients, sometimes shown by yellowing of the leaves. If you think a plant needs a good feed, take a photo & check with the team. We can then discuss a feeding programme with the client.
Some clients have green waste bins, if this is the case, leave all your green waste in their bin. Else take the greenwaste away. Make sure you always have enough bags. Check on Jobber to see if this is a garden where the waste can be left. Green waste that you remove can be brought to Claire’s house and left at the front of the house.
Remember flax and bamboo are not permitted in the green waste and must be kept separate. Please bunch them together so that they can easily be transported to the waste centre.
Only fill the bag to half way so that lifting isn't a problem. Never overfill a bag and be mindful when lifting. The link below shows best practice in manual handling techniques.
PLANTS & PLANT BEDS
Don’t be afraid to deadhead agapanthus, flax, roses, lillies etc. Once the flower is gone, it should go, unless otherwise instructed by the client.
Have a look above your head. What’s the cabbage tree, Palms etc. doing? Anything that needs stripping / removing because it is brown?
Look under trees / shrubs etc. perhaps the leaves are brown and dead around the bottom of the plant and could be removed / thinned?
Even though the mulch might be brown that doesn’t mean you can leave the leaves on top of it.
Containers are part of the garden, so weed & water these as necessary.
Is the road at the front of the house free of any debris we may have carried out with our bags?
Say goodbye to the client if they are at home and let them know what you have completed and what will be worked on next time, any problems etc. If they are not there, leave a calling card, detailing what jobs you have done, something that you noticed that was beautiful and what you will start with next time. It is essential to leave a calling card or note. If you forget, please let us know, so we can contact the client on your behalf. The leading reason for people complaining is that they haven't been aware we have visited their garden until they receive the invoice. Often people don't notice or see the work done / have been away for 2 weeks / etc.
Clean tools with Dettol wipe.
Have you reported any new hazards, near misses or injuries that occurred to Claire. It would also be useful to add them to Jobber, so that if another member of the gardening team visits the garden they can see the hazards.
Stop your time in Jobber.