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Garden Clearance Costs

The cost of clearing a garden will depend totally on what needs to be removed and whether any of it will need specialist disposal such as soil from Japanese Knotweed infestation which is classified as contaminated waste.

Companies or individuals can charge by the hour, on average £40-£60 but for simple jobs, it could be as low as £15 per hour. Sometimes, companies will charge by the load size, this might be because the labour involved to clear the site is minimal and the amount of rubbish vast or, you have done the clearance yourself and just need them to remove the debris and waste materials. The cost of load sizes will vary. Bear in mind that contractors often have to pay waste disposal costs which will be added onto your estimate whereas in some cases, you can dispose of certain materials for free at your local tip or recycling centre.

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Garden clearance is a surprisingly in-demand service particularly in certain situations:-

  • Buyers moving into a vacant or dilapidated property for renovation
  • Landlords clearing up an out of control garden which may have been neglected during a rental period
  • Preparation of an untidy garden for a house sale
  • Assistance for elderly people who have been unable to look after their garden due to ill health, old age or infirmity

The cost of the clearance will depend on varying factors which include:-

  • Where you live – London is always more expensive than other locations
  • The amount of debris and rubbish to be removed
  • The weight of the load
  • The time it takes to gather it together and load it up
  • The type of rubbish

Most quotations will be broken down into one or more the following components:-

  • The labour to do the work
  • The amount of debris based on weight which needs to be loaded and carted away
  • Transport costs
  • Specialist disposal costs for particular items

Garden clearance costs are usually broken down into an hourly rate or you can agree on a daily rate with disposal costs on top of this. An average daily garden clearance cost would be anywhere from £100-£150 for one man. This is not skilled work, it is literally just site clearance. Some companies split their work into packages and you can choose price and job from a menu of options.

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What can garden clearance include?

Garden clearance means clearing the garden and literally, that can mean of anything – this includes:

  • standard garden refuse like leaves, shrubs, twigs and branches
  • unwanted or contaminated soil
  • actual plants and lawn clippings, trees
  • old sculptures and flower pots
  • unwanted garden furniture
  • fencing and decking
  • dismantled sheds and greenhouses

What are the standard jobs undertaken by most garden clearance companies?

Garden clearance will generally include tasks like leaf blowing and leaf clearance - accumulating leaves into piles and removing them from the garden – gutter cleaning and flushing, rubbish removal and waste clearance so weeds, clippings, grass and unwanted soil.

What can garden clearance companies not remove?

  • Paint or paint cans including timber treatments
  • Asbestos
  • Mattresses
  • White goods
  • Tyres
  • Car batteries
  • Oil, petrol or diesel for garden machinery items
  • Pressurised bottles
  • Any raw foodstuffs

How can you find a reputable garden clearance contractor who offers good value for money?

Finding someone to clear a garden is rather like sourcing any other form of tradesmen so all the usual routes apply.

  • Ask a friend, family member or work colleague for a recommendation
  • Use a local community group on social media and see whose name keeps reoccurring
  • Try one of the many online platforms such as gardeningcosts.co.uk to feed in your details and instantly receive quotes from local companies and sole traders

What questions should you ask a contractor before you go ahead and book them to clear your garden?

Here are some useful questions to help you find the right contractor or clearance company to transform your garden:-

  • How many years have they been trading?
  • Do they have any specialisms?
  • What sort of clearance services do they offer?
  • Will they provide all the bagging materials for loose debris and also power tools for the heavier work?
  • Will they leave the site clean and tidy after they have finished?
  • How do they calculate their rates/ It is by the hour, the load or by the weight?
  • Are there any hidden costs?
  • Do they have the appropriate licences if required?
  • Are they insured?
  • Is there anything that they can’t remove?
  • What happens to the rubbish? Is it recycled or does it go to landfill? Is anything sold?
  • If they can sell anything from the job will they be prepared to offer you a discount on the price?

Always obtain two or three quotations to compare before you make a final decision and check out their reviews on authentic sites and social media to make sure there are no negative reports or complaints.

Is there anything you should do before the contractors arrive?

Make sure you have removed anything that you want to keep from the garden – have a good look around as if the garden is very overgrown then some items may not be immediately apparent. Keep an eye on the works as they progress as it might surprise you as to what is uncovered.

Ascertain in advance the number and size of vehicles which will be used and make sure there is good parking
and access to the garden on the day.

How can you save on garden clearance costs?

Take a step back and a long hard look at the job, would it be cheaper if you handled some elements of it yourself? There may be certain things that you can do for just the cost of your time which could save you pounds on the overall bill.

You might find that the clearance has to take place in stages and may involve different companies or specialists, for example:-

  • You clear a neglected garden on a new property yourself gathering and bagging up the waste and taking it to the local recycling centre which is free of charge or you could ask a gardening company to do a preliminary clearance for you. This is not usually very expensive as it doesn’t constitute real gardening and design. If you do the work yourself then apart from your time, it is free of charge and it will also allow you to work through the garden and salvage any plants that you might like to keep
  • This initial clearance allows you to start a fresh garden makeover and you might decide you would like to remove some of the trees (subject to planning permission) – this is a specialist job which not all garden clearance companies can handle
  • Once the trees are removed or pollarded then it is time to remove a couple of old greenhouses which have been uncovered hidden up under piles of debris and ivy, you ask a general house and garden clearance company to do this
  • Next, you decide to lose the lawn as this doesn’t form part of your grand plan

Garden clearance can be scorched earth or it can be done in stages using different contractors and specialists as required. You can either pay an hourly or a daily rate for the labour but expect any waste disposal costs to be added to these charges.

Recycling opportunities

One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure so, providing you can do this safely and securely, it can be an option to allow people to help themselves to anything in the garden before it is professionally cleared – you will be amazed at what people will take. There could be plants which you can’t identify but which can be uprooted and taken to a new home. Old but serviceable sheds and greenhouses can prove very popular particularly if you are giving them away and the interested party will dismantle and collect – this can save you a fortune.

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Frequently Asked Questions about garden clearance costs

How many gardeners will the clearance company send?

This will depend on the size of the job and any unusual aspects, on the basis that many hands make light work, then expect a few people to turn up but make sure you have agreed a fixed gardening cost for the job in advance.

Will they need access to electricity?

Ask in advance whether they will need power but usually, garden tools like strimmers, chainsaws, mowers and brush cutters are all fuel-driven.

How do you manage if the only access to the garden is through the house?

If there really is no alternative access which can be arranged even through a neighbour’s garden as a favour then check out how the contractors will protect your floors and walls whilst they bring debris and rubbish through the house. Do they expect you to roll up rugs and cover floors or do they supply their own protective coverings which should also be waterproof?

Will I have to pay for the waste disposal?

Be completely clear at the point of booking about what the waste disposal charges will be. Most firms can take away a certain amount of what is classified as green waste for free but there may be charges associated with wood and glass from sheds and greenhouses and other items they find on site. The waste disposal costs can add up so it is important to bottom these out before the clearance starts as there may be a cheaper option available like hiring a general skip.

Do I have to use a designated garden clearance company?

No, not necessarily, you can use a general household clearance firm who will also take away a certain amount of rubbish from the garden. This can be a better option if the garden is less garden and more old junkyard where there are building materials, white goods and the like to be disposed of. If it is definitely a jungle you are needing to tame then a specialist garden clearance company will be the best bet.

Is there anything a garden clearance cannot remove?

A garden clearance company will not remove anything that is classified as toxic or hazardous waste – this may not be apparent initially if the garden is very overgrown as certain items will be uncovered as they work through the job. Other items they may not be able to dispose of include white goods, for instance, which could be found buried away in a dark corner under garden debris. Some things they will be able to take but these will incur any extra charge, it really all depends on what they are.

Do you have to be present when the garden is cleared?

No, you do not have to be present although many people like to be to supervise the process and also to see what might be uncovered - there could be things that you would like to keep. If the garden is normally well looked after but has just become overgrown in recent times, for example, because the householder has been ill or the property has been empty for some time then you might want to stay on site to supervise how much cutting back takes place; there could be some areas of the garden that you want to be left alone.

Should they leave the site tidy?

The idea with garden clearance is that you are left with a better site than the one you started with. Do expect it to look radically different and it's probably not going to be an oil painting but it should be as safe and tidy as possible when the contractors have finished. Read more about hedge trimming cost.

What sort of insurance should a garden clearance firm have?

A garden clearance company should have the usual public liability and insurance to protect against any injury incurred from the work whilst they are on your property.

For more general information on the disposal of garden waste, please see the government website. For more information on garden bonfires and related laws against burning domestic waste, see here.

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