Hiring a gardener is not the same as hiring a house cleaner, says 'No Guff Gardener' Donna Balzer.

Finding a gardener that matches your mindset

newDonnawebMaybe you are getting your house ready for sale, expecting the in-laws to visit or you just brought home a new baby and now the shrubs are threatening to eat the front door. Either way, you need a gardener.

Hiring a gardener is not the same as hiring a house cleaner. Most indoor cleaning jobs follow an accepted system for removing dirt and fluffing pillows. They leave the home the same, but cleaner than before.

Outdoors, your personal style and sensitivity have to match the person you hire as a gardener because a garden evolves and changes over time. Your gardener has to be going in the same direction as you.

Chelsie, my daughter, is a gardener and she wasn’t having any part of Susan’s garden. “She has a ton of rocks, which I find hard to deal with, and I suspect she has been spraying everything to keep it so ‘perfect.’ No wonder she is struggling to keep plants alive; landscape fabric, rocks and chemicals have been her approach.”

Gardeners are different from other “garden” staff. Landscape architects design and manage big projects; landscapers install big projects; horticulturists advise on garden design, plants and soil; arbourists care for trees after they are planted and lawn care companies should only be allowed to mow and edge lawns.

Private gardeners, meanwhile, take care of your garden like it is filled with antiques, and nurture it like a baby so it can grow to be the best it can be. And large team gardeners come in like a big wind blowing, spraying and planting everything in a whirlwind of activity.

The point is you need to consider what you need before you hire help.

A gardener will come on a regular basis to remove the trashy twigs and coarse branches that have fallen. They will weed, top-dress lawns and gardens with organic compost, and divide and plant perennials, shrubs and trees.

A gardener will help you improve your soil so your garden grows better, and will remove wayward branches and spent flowers while replacing perennials that don’t thrive.

A garden keeps growing. If you can’t do the work yourself, find someone with a similar mindset so you are not surprised by the whiff of chemicals in the air or stark nature of a stripped-down, scrubbed-clean garden.

And if you can do the work, then get out now and do it. Getting your hands dirty has been linked to happiness; if you do it yourself, you get the happiness reward.

Donna Balzer is an enthusiastic gardener and entertaining speaker. Sign up for her e-newsletter at www.gardenguru.net or follow her on Twitter @NoGuffGardener.


  1. I agree that you should know what you need in your garden. It would probably be helpful to accept that you’ve probably been doing it wrong. This probably would have made it easier for your daughter and Susan. I think I will start off the conversation I have with my newly hired gardener with “Feel free to tell whatever I’ve been doing wrong”. Thank you for sharing your daughter’s experience!

  2. I like what this article mentions about gardeners being beneficial to even the soil in the yard. it makes sense that with proper fertilization and maintenance, the garden would grow much better. I’ll have to keep this in mind when looking at hiring gardeners just to make sure I get the best service.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here