How to Hire a Gardener

What you need to KNOW and ASK to find the right care for your garden

Written by Meridith Moore  |  Photographs by Alexander Warren-Gash

While garden maintenance isn’t the most glamorous of topics, we here at Mashamba argue it’s probably the most important.  

Over the years we’ve witnessed all manner of garden care– from top-notch spectacular to heart-breaking neglect – and it all proves one thing. No matter how much you love our design or how gorgeous it looks newly planted, your garden will only be as beautiful as the level of its care. 

To help in your garden maintenance search, I spoke with Alexander Warren-Gash, Mashamba’s Lead Garden Designer.  With over 15 years’ experience in Mediterranean garden design and care, he shares with us what you need to know when hiring a gardener. 

What type of Gardener is right for me?

Gardeners will have varied experience, manpower, equipment and company structures.  Depending on your needs, you’ll find a suitable match among these options:

Caretakers are full-time employees who live on your property. It’s an all-encompassing role that ensures the care of both your home and garden. If you hire a couple, one partner will usually handle household tasks. 

Being a caretaker requires a diverse set of skills, from plant knowledge to handyman abilities. Your relationship with them will typically be a close one, built on trust and a mutual understanding of the care your home and garden needs.

It’s your responsibility to supply the necessary tools and machinery. And while there might be an adjustment as the caretaker learns the ins and outs of your estate, your garden will thank you for the full-time care.


Garden companies can manage anything from small landscaping projects to regular maintenance. A good company will come equipped with their own tools and machinery and should have the required horticultural knowledge, expertise and manpower.

A dedicated team will service your garden on set days of the week. Alexander tells us, “Companies sometimes send less skilled gardeners – which is fine – but it’s important that the garden is seen regularly by a senior employee with an experienced eye.” This person should manage the crew and assess the health and growth of your plants.


Independent gardeners typically offer more basic routine care like weeding, mowing, basic landscaping and clean-ups. Depending on the individual, they may or may not supply their own equipment. Horticultural knowledge will vary. 

What you need to know and ask

Once you’ve determined what type of gardener to employ, it’s time to ask for recommendations, conduct interviews and follow-up on references. We’ve compiled a list of questions that will help you gauge prospective gardener’s suitability:

1. What’s your experience with gardens like mine?

Your garden was a significant investment not only into your home, but your wellbeing. For this reason, Alexander emphasises the importance of finding a gardener with the right experience. “They’re not just maintaining your garden, they’re the key to its long-term beauty and whether you enjoy your time there.”

Have prospective gardeners share their experience with comparable clients and enquire about their familiarity with special features in your garden. Ask questions like, “Do you know how to maintain cloud gardens? Prune fruit trees? Care for cacti?”

Your gardener should be familiar with local plant varieties, what to expect from each plant throughout the year and when and how to cut it back. They should also be able to identify and resolve potential problems.  

If you want a wholly organic garden, ensure that the gardener has experience and methods of managing estates without the use of chemical pesticides.

2. Do you have the right equipment to take care of my garden or can you recommend what I need to buy?

This might seem like a basic question, but it’s one of the most important. The right tools make garden maintenance more efficient. 

Depending on your landscape, even a professional gardening company might not have all the required equipment. Your gardener might need both longarm and short hedge trimmers, a chainsaw to turn fallen branches into firewood or a chipper to handle all the cutback.

If you have a large lawn area, a ride on mower is significantly more time efficient than a push mower. It’s also good if they have multiple backpack sprayers, one for chemical herbicides and another for more organic treatments. 

3. What’s your experience with irrigation systems?

Water is the lifeblood of Mediterranean gardens. Any professionally landscaped garden in Mallorca will have an irrigation system that requires ongoing checks and repairs.

Skilled gardeners will know how to use and maintain your irrigation system, including the programmer. They should regularly test for problem areas, identify issues and make general repairs, like finding and fixing leaks. 

The amount and frequency of watering changes throughout the year, especially in the Mediterranean’s hot summers. Make sure the gardener is familiar with the specific watering needs of the plants in your garden.

4. How much time per week is needed to take care of my garden?  

Many clients are surprised that our gardens only require one to two days of maintenance a week, but gardening is a personalised service and the time required can vary based on your expectations.

To articulate the level of service you need, decide what you want your garden to look like before meeting gardeners. A more manicured look with topiary and nary a dead leaf around will require more of an investment.  

If maintaining your privacy is top priority, a company that can provide a team of workers might be the best option. A gardening crew will make quick work and require less days on site, allowing you more privacy and relaxation. Setting a weekly schedule will help you plan days away – like a beach or boat day – when the gardeners are working.

Workload will change seasonally. Check with the gardener to see how they envision seasonal priorities and hours required. In Mallorca, Spring and Autumn are generally growing seasons. Staying on top of weeding and trimming will be the main priority. In Winter, larger scale projects are undertaken, like big cutbacks. Summer is all about managing a sufficient water supply so that your plants and garden look their best.

Lastly, remain flexible with the requisite hours until the gardener fully understands the work needed to keep your garden looking lovely.

5. What other services do you provide?

Many gardeners offer full-service outdoor management. It’s worth asking if they provide other services you might need, including:

  • Pool maintenance
  • Watering and care of potted plants on terraces
  • Cleaning and maintaining outdoor furniture
  • Cleaning terraces and gutters
  • Harvesting fruit and nut trees
  • Preparing pool and outdoor living areas for your arrival

Special Note

Alexander lets us know a few final pointers for hiring a gardener:  

Make sure you can communicate with your gardener. “This may sound silly, but since our clients are mostly expats, the language barrier can be a real problem. Especially when it comes to giving and understanding instructions.” Confirm the best mode of communication, whether it’s a call, WhatsApp or email and then test that you are both understood.

It’s a compromise.  “There’s no such thing as a perfect gardener,” says Alexander. “Your pick will be a compromise between experience, privacy needs and finding someone you like and trust. You’ll be seeing your gardener regularly and their presence should enhance, not detract from your experience.”

The proof is in the pudding. How can you tell if your gardener is doing a good job? It’s quite simple. Do you show your friends around your garden? Does spending time in your garden make you happy? Is it your favourite room in the house? If you answer yes to these questions, your gardener is providing the care and results you need. Thank them for the hard work and get outside to enjoy it all!

Was this article helpful? 

Get more like it delivered right to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.