Over the past 35 years or so I have seen some horrendous sites. I have seen water features where cheap liners are used and fail in a very short space of time.

No attempt had been made to hide or disguise the liner. I have seen decking put down with insufficient support, which resembled a trampoline more than a deck, and pergolas erected which were in real danger of falling down after only a few weeks. I have rebuilt a garden which had been constructed by another landscaper. The client wanted a child friendly play area. The garden had been left in such a state that they were unable to let the children outside. Drains had been put in but did not go anywhere, and one manhole cover had been removed and slabbed over.

One heavy fall by a child on a bike and it would probably have broken, causing serious injury.

The paving had not been laid square to the house, the pointing was coming out and the slabs were rocking. The retaining wall was falling down and the old lawn had not been leveled as requested. A fine bark mulch had been used instead of play bark. This had been laid on polythene instead of a proper membrane, so when it rained it resembled a pudding. The stepping stones through the bark had been cut out of slabs instead of using the readily available article - leaving sharp edges.

People are still responding to flyers through the door - often with only a mobile phone number as a contact. Clients should ask of the contractors previous work and experience. The client should feel comfortable with the contractor and be assured that their needs are fully understood. If they are not quite sure then a good landscaper who knows their job will be able to give good advice.