How much does it cost?
Landscape gardening can be one of the cheaper businesses to go into - in fact, gardener Mark Gregory estimates the average start-up cost to be somewhere between £5000 and £10,000.
Of course, it depends what level you wish to operate at, but the general consensus is that it is best to start small and hire any large equipment, such as cement mixers or cutting machines. Andy Winston, business development manager at Lloyds TSB has seen those who went in too quickly: "You need to try and keep the costs as low as possible - into bitesize chunks. There are people who've invested heavily in an early vision who are now sitting on obsolete stock."
The items that you are perhaps most likely to have to rent are a cement mixer, an angle grinder (used for stonework), compactors, which press down the ground when making paths, and possibly chainsaws. In most cases there are contractors with whom you can have an account if you are going to rent for a couple of days at a time. It costs in the region of £25 a day to rent most pieces of equipment.
Warren Hall, a landscape gardener from Surrey, started out with second-hand equipment, which he believes was adequate at the time: "I bought an old van. Everyone wants a flash one, but it was all I could afford. I also bought my tools secondhand. But you need to make sure you have your stuff serviced. If you don't, like a car, it'll just die."
Tools of the Trade: Costing your Equipment
1997 Ford Transit van
Professional petrol mower
Blower (for clearing debris)
Plant feeder and food