It's "business as un-usual" for Landscaping Victoria's members.
Landscaping Victoria members are taking steps to maintain the highest standards of site safety to protect the health of both their clients and staff in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
With travel restrictions in place for the foreseeable future, there has never been a better time to invest in your backyard and create your dream destination at home.
Recent times have provided us with a deeper connection to our houses and a greater appreciation for the security and comfort that our homes provide. The backyard has always been an integral part of our lives and an extension of our living rooms - a piece of the great outdoors that brings people together.
Time spent in nature and green spaces is not just enjoyable, it is also important for our wellbeing – especially during times of stress. The benefits of green spaces go beyond our own physical and mental health, they also cool our cities, reduce air pollutants and lower carbon emissions. A well designed and maintained garden can even increase your property value.
As the peak industry body representing the Victorian landscaping industry, Landscaping Victoria Master Landscapers can help you find the right professional to bring your outdoor space to life and create the perfect garden to suit your lifestyle.
Our members are involved in all aspects of the landscaping sector including design, construction and maintenance, and are well supported by our business members who supply quality products and services to the industry.
Members of Landscaping Victoria are:
Our members are subjected to a rigorous application process. We've done the research so you have peace of mind knowing that you are entrusting your home to a qualified and reputable landscaping professional.
Click here to search our member database and find the right landscaping professional for your project.
The Best Magazine | 2020 Edition
Landscaping is an exciting industry with endless ideas and inspiration to be found, but it is also serious business. Like all other building projects, it's important to protect your investment by choosing suitably qualified professionals to carry out the work.
It's all in the planning
The design of your garden is as important as the design of your home, therefore it is recommended that you consider the professional advice of a qualified and skilled designer who can create a successful outdoor space that will enhance your lifestyle and add value to your property.
A landscape designer will identify your needs and how you use the outside space you are planning to have landscaped, as well as take into account the site conditions. This is very important because every garden is different due to it's positioning in regards to the weather, the relationship between the outside space and inside view and the people who are going to use the space. What you have seen in magazines or in your friends yard may not necessarily work for you. Having a landscape designer develop a customised landscape plan for your home will ultimately save you money and the end result will be perfect for you and your family.
Anyone can present themselves as a landscape designer so always check that they are qualified (in horticulture, landscape design or architecture) and that they have Professional Indemnity Insurance.
Use a registered builder!
Today's landscaping projects are so much more than just plants and dirt. If your project requires any construction (decks, gazebos, retaining walls, pools) you will need a Registered Building Practitioner to carry out the work.
Landscape Builders have a special class of registration with the Victorian Building Authority (Domestic Building Limited to Structural Landscaping). As with any tradesperson you are considering hiring, ask your landscaper if they are registered with the VBA or check online here.
You can find out more from the Victorian Building Authority www.vba.vic.gov.au. All Landscaping Victoria Builder members are Registered Building Practitioners.
Refer to this handy checklist once you have chosen a registered builder for your project.
The boring (but important) stuff
Always have a contract in place - would you build a house without one? Landscaping is no different. A professional landscaper will have a contract that clearly sets out what work they will be doing, how much it will cost and the payment stages.
The deposit should be no more than 10% of the total contract price for projects up to $20,000 and 5% for projects over $20,000. This is the law. Payment requests after the deposit can be for larger sums and should correspond with works completed or materials ordered that are commensurate with what has been received. For example it is not unusual for a landscaper to invoice for a large proportion of the project cost when all the materials are delivered to site.
All landscaper builders should carry public liability insurance - check that they do. Similarly landscape designers should carry professional indemnity insurance.
If your project costs more than $16,000 and you are using a Registered Building Practitioner to carry out any sort of domestic building works, they should provide you with domestic building insurance. Domestic building insurance covers you if the landscaper/builder dies, disappears or becomes insolvent. Unregistered landscapers cannot offer domestic building insurance. Learn more about domestic building insurance here and here.
Keep your garden looking it's best
You've invested a lot of money in having a landscape constructed but what about the ongoing maintenance? Not everyone is a passionate gardener like our members, so to protect your investment you may need to think about factoring in a regular garden maintenance program as part of your budget. It's just like getting your car serviced!
Gardens are living things therefore they grow, plants die and plants can become unruly if not pruned. A professional landscape gardener should have a thorough knowledge in horticulture and plant care. They can develop a maintenance program that suits both your budget and your garden to keep your landscape looking as great as it did when it was constructed and that will evolve over time. Click here to find a landscape maintenance professional in your area.
To improve the safety of pools and spas, the Victorian regulations changed on 1 December 2019. From this date, if you own a property with a pool or spa, you’re required to register the pool/spa with your local council by 1 November 2020.
In addition, owners are now required to obtain and lodge a compliance certificate for the safety of their pool or spa barrier every four years. To do this, you’ll need to engage a building surveyor or building inspector who can carry out an inspection and provide the certificate confirming your barrier complies with safety requirements.
Common reasons for barriers failing to comply include:
Once you’ve registered your pool or spa, your local council will notify you of the due date for your first certificate of pool barrier compliance. You are required to arrange an inspection and lodge the certificate with your local council by the due date.
Find out more about pool and spa barrier safety compliance on the Victorian Building Authority website here.
How long is a piece of string?
A beautiful landscape costs money and takes time, it's only on television that it happens over a weekend for a little bit of money! Start with your wishlist and work back from there. If you include everything upfront, a designer can include all of these things in your plan and then break the construction down into manageable stages. But be realistic, the more construction required, the more expensive the project will be. Items like swimming pools, retaining walls, dry stone walls cannot be achieved within a $10,000 budget and if a landscaper suggests they can do it for this - be sceptical, you do get what you pay for!
A Landscape Designer is like a creative interpreter of your needs and your site's abilities. The designer works with you to transform your ideas into reality.
The design process usually includes the following steps:
In Victoria, building practitioners must be registered with the VBA to perform certain kinds of work. You’ll need to use a registered builder for domestic building work worth more than $10,000.
Landscape building works include decks, pergolas, retaining walls, pools and property boundary fences.
To ensure your project is completed by someone with the necessary qualifications and experience, make sure you always use a registered building practitioner. If you engage a company to do your project, make sure the company is registered as a building practitioner.
All registered building practitioners (except companies) are issued with a Photo ID card that lists the category of registration for the work they are eligible to complete.
A Landscape Gardener, or Horticulturalist, is a service provider who offers non-structural services such as soft landscaping, garden beds and edging, some paving work, and garden maintenance. A Gardener or Horticulturalist carries out work landscaping work that does not require building permits or for the member to hold Registered Builder Practitioner status.
A Landscape Gardener will generally have a relevant qualification in horticulture.
By law, builders or tradespeople must take out domestic building insurance for their clients when the cost of the works exceeds $16,000.
This insurance only gives you limited cover.
Domestic building insurance, previously known as ‘builders warranty insurance’, protects consumers in the event their builder or tradesperson cannot finish the building project or fix defects because they have:
Your builder or tradesperson must provide you with a copy of the policy and a certificate of insurance covering your property before you pay a deposit or any other money.
Domestic building insurance covers costs up to $300,000 to fix structural defects for six years, and non-structural defects for two years. Claims on the policy for work that was not completed may be limited to only 20 per cent of the contract price.
This may be as a result of poor communication, poor workmanship, unforeseen delays or other issues.
As an Association, LVML cannot guarantee our members individually, we do however endeavour to assist the client and our members reach a resolution that everyone can feel happy with should a problem arise.
Landscaping Victoria Master Landscapers encourages all of its members to listen to their clients concerns and work to address them. If this is not working our advice is to follow these steps:
Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV)
Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) is a government service which helps resolve domestic building disputes.
DBDRV makes it easier for builders and building owners to access a tailored dispute resolution service, which is free, fair and fast.
Qualified and experienced conciliators, known as Dispute Resolution Officers, help the clients of DBDRV reach a resolution to their dispute. The Dispute Resolution Officers are supported by independent building experts, known as Assessors.
The aim of DBDRV is to resolve disputes as informally as possible, but if agreement cannot be reached through conciliation, DBDRV has the legislative power to issue binding orders to finalise the dispute.
DBDRV is an independent business unit within the Department of Justice and Regulation and is part of the portfolio of the Minister for Consumer Affairs.
It is also a part of the broader framework of the Victorian Government’s oversight of the residential building sector. Other Victorian Government stakeholders include the Victorian Building Authority, Consumer Affairs Victoria and the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority.
You can access further information about DBDRV on its website at www.dbdrv.vic.gov.au. Alternatively, contact the Building Information Line on 1300 55 75 59 between 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).
We also encourage you to email your complaint, via the form below. We keep a database of all complaints. It is important for the integrity of all of our members, and the industry generally, to know and censure operators who consistently attract complaints.
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