Gardening Contract For Our Retirement House In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

Thailand Landscaping And Garden Design Contract For Our Retirement House In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

Thoughts, ideas and a plan to make a beautiful Thailand garden design based on other Thailand gardens.

As I write this the house itself (except for the second floor kitchen) is finished but the Thai garden is still rough and needs landscaping and planting after.

My  15,000 Baht Landscaping And Gardening Budget.

I agreed with Kanyah that I would pay for a Thai gardener to produce the Thai garden design and undertake the gardening etc, thinking it would cost a few hundred £. (£= Great British Pounds – Sterling), say maximum £500 = 15,000 Baht. I was prepared to pay for a professional Thai landscape design rather than let Kanyah struggle with the Thailand garden design.

When I retire to Thailand I want a nice cool and beautiful Thailand garden, somewhere to really relax after a morning in the workshop making my models.

One thing we wanted was a “covered terrace” for want of a better word – an area with some wooden posts that climbing plants grow over it and make a shady and cool place to sit in the hot weather.

The main areas of the land, front and back to be lawn (grassed) and planted with trees. Small climbing plants to go around the perimeter fence to hide it. I did not want any water features because they need a lot of maintenance.

Enter The Thai Gardener

Our neighbour, Noi, introduced us to a Thai gardener and he came to visit us.

The scope of the gardening work was discussed and I caught hold of a few pieces of the conversation which was taking place in the Thai language like ‘clearing the land’ is not included and ‘putting the new soil is not included’. When I heard a price of 200,000 Baht I said we would do the Thai gardening ourselves.

I just couldn’t understand why Kanyah can’t hire the labour and organise them to do the Thai gardening work.

There was also some discussion that there was currently no “Malaysian Grass” available. The gardener got on the phone to “head office” and that was confirmed. Also he said that “Malaysian Grass” cost 30 Baht per square metre. We had about 1,200 m2 to be covered by lawn so that would amount to 36,000 Baht. I wondered what the other 164,000 Baht would be spent on.

It seemed that the grass would be put down in pre-grown roll form. I suggested that Kanyah could simply get the labourers to place grass seed and that would be far cheaper. The gardener said that “They won’t sell you grass seed in Thailand”. I replied that I would send it to Kanyah by mail. That started a whole lot of conversation about send parcels by mail, import duty and so on.

Exit The Thai Gardener

I had heard enough and walked away. There was no way I was interested in that kind of rip-off.

After about an hour or so of noisy discussion between Kanyah, the Thai gardener and Noi, Kanyah explained that the Thai gardener would include the land clearing and put the soil for 120,000 Baht all-in price.

I Demand A Thai Landscape Gardening Contract

I kind of agreed to the revised offer for the gardening design and work but said I wanted everything written down into a contract. Having been stung by our first builder I was not prepared to agree to a deal based on a noisy conversation in the Thai language with a 120,000 Baht price tag attached to it and nothing written down.

The Thai gardener went away and said he would come back another day with the contract.

He did come back a couple of days later but without a contract. After much discussion between Kanyah, the Thai gardener and our neighbour, Noi, he went off and return an hour later with a pre-written “Form of Contract” such as you can buy in stationery shops and places like Tesco Lotus here in Thailand.

From what I gathered the intention was to simply enter the names of the two parties (the Thai gardener and Kanyah), put the date and the cost and bingo! You have a contract.

Not The Kind Of Thai Landscape Gardening Contract I Had In Mind

That was not at all what I had in mind. I wanted a proper description of what was to be provided for the Thailand garden. If possible with sketches and the type and quantity of plants itemised. I wanted to know – in written form – exactly what kind of Thailand garden design was being provided for my money.

Kanyah kind of understood what I was driving at – particularly when I said a wanted to see a list – she knows what a list is – and she took out an exercise book and got the Thai gardener to write a list of what he was to provide. The list came to me for agreement and I sent it back to have more details added. After this repeated itself a few times Kanyah complained that I was making her (and presumably the Thai gardener and Noi) do “hard work”.

In no kindly manner (you’ll understand what I mean) I explained that it was I who had to do a thousand times more hard work back in the U.K. to earn the money to pay for the garden than she was doing in Thailand to make the list.

Eventually the list was agreed and signed by the Thai gardener.

There were still some omissions to which Kanyah said something like “Never mind he has to do that”.

Below is a copy of the list from the exercise book and a rough English translation made by Kanyah as I sit typing this out. Click here or on the image to see the full size version as a .pdf file.

Image of Pakchong Retirement House Gardening Contract

Pakchong Retirement House Gardening Contract

Gardening List English Translation

Below is the rough translation into English of the gardening contract written in Thai in the exercise book

Date: 30/12/2011

1. Put the soil 5 trucks in front

2. Put the soil 8 trucks in the back

3. Put the sand 3 trucks in front

4. Put the sand 6 trucks in the back

5. Grass – Japanese 350 Talang metre in front

6. Grass Malaysia – 16 Talang metre

7. Grass Malaysia – 500 Talang metre in the back

8. “Mai Brob” Growing the tree 50 “ton” (50 trees about 3 m high).

9. “Tiang Tong 1,000 ton”. Small tree plants 1,000.

10. Little and small plants grow around all the fence.

11. Put in the pot “Daily Ga-Tang” (Plants)

12. Four Post “covered terrace” to grow the plants. The posts to be hard wood. He will put the plants.

Everything 120,000 Baht. (£2,500 or $3,750)

Take time 3 months.

Start 10 Jan 2012

Finish 10 March 2012

Signed: Surapon Chua Ngang

Warranty people: Jalan Mea Na Lu Ji (Noi – our neighbour)

Payment Schedule:-
10 Jan 20,000 Baht
10 Mar 40,000 Baht
10 Apr 60,000 Baht
Total 120,000 Baht

Included but not written down is:-

Clearing the ground.

3 Months guarantee. i.e. after 3 months all the plants have to be healthy or the Thai gardener has to replace them. The Thai gardener is responsible for looking after the plants in this period.

What Do You Think?

Our land is 80m X 20m = 1,600 m2 (one Rai). About 600 m2 is taken up with the house and Terrace and about 200 m2 by the drive leaving around 800 m2 to be landscaped. The total in the Contract is 850 m2 – see above)

So 120,000 Baht / 800 m2 = 150 Baht/m2. Is that a fair price?

Before giving your opinion in the Comment Box below, please quickly review the Scope of Work (i.e. The Contract) above which includes 22 trucks of sand/soil, 850 m2 of turf, 50 trees about 3 m high and 1,000 small tree plants, little and small plants grow around all the fence plus the Terrace.


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8 Responses to “Gardening Contract For Our Retirement House In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand”

  • David Todd:

    Dear Alan,

    Our quote for grass in Muang Korat was Baht 45/ sq m. Seems to me that Baht 30 is a good price. Mind you we want some decent turf, but do you know what you really get until you’ve got it?

    David

    [Reply]

  • David Todd:

    Dear Alan,

    I have just read your post in more detail. DO NOT spend Baht 120,000 or whatever silly money on grass/ turf/ soil. They are taking the p”ss my friend. Baht 30/sq m should be all inclusive in baan nok. OK, call it Baht 45/sq m max and you will be doing ok, just like us.

    Cheers,

    David 

    [Reply]

  • Dudley:

    Hi Alan, From where I come, it sounds like a good deal,something like 25% of the cost in Melbourne Aust. But remember, it’s the quality of the job that counts.

    Congrads ! Your patients seems to have been rewarded. You have done a remarkable job.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Hi Dudley great to hear from you again.

    I was ready to pay the asking price for the Thai landscaping and gardening as agreed in the gardening contract for our Thai retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

    But on day two of the gardening contract the Thai landscape gardener asked for an extra 30,000 Baht..

    Needless to say I didn’t agree with that and Kanyah cancelled the gardening contract.

    Thanks also for the congratulation on the retirement house build project. But the congratulations belong to Kanyah, not to me. She is the one who – by herself – persevered and managed the house build in Pakchong (Pak Chong). She is the one who found another Thai builder and negotiated the price for a labour-only construction contract after she sacked the first Tha builder.

    Chock Dii Krap

    Alan

    [Reply]

  • Tim:

    Hi Alan

    There is a big discrepancy between your original 15,000 budget and the gardener’s quote of 120,000, so why not make your own list of what you think you can achieve within your budget?

    There are plenty of garden nurseries in the Pak Chong area so why not take a drive out and visit a few places with your lists and see what prices are like for the items on your two lists, yours and the gardeners? This will give you an insight into whether your quote and your budget are reasonable.

    Another advantage is that these garden centres will be probably able to quote you on landscaping too.

    Regarding you first quote, don’t forget that you neighbour Noi will be expecting a cut from the Thai gardener for the introduction and your wife may not want to upset Noi, so you may not be getting unbiased advise. If you feel the gardener is proving difficult before the job is started then I suspect he may prove to be even more so  once he is awarded the project.

    My advice would be not to rush into a decision, take your time to look around for alternative quotes, after all a garden is not the same as a bathroom or kitchen which you definitely need to have in place. 

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Tim,

    Many thanks for such a great set of comments and the points you raise are totally valid. However there are reasons why I can’t follow your advice under the circumstances we (myself and Kanyah) are in. You’ll understand why if you read my explanations as comments on your contribution which I have copied below:-

    “There is a big discrepancy between your original 15,000 budget and the gardener’s quote of 120,000, so why not make your own list of what you think you can achieve within your budget?”

    (Alan’s comments)

    That’s sound advice, Tim, and anyone in his right mind ought to do that.

    But I’m now back in the UK and it will be Kanyah now who has to follow up the Gardening Contract with the gardener.

    It’s been a consistent feature of the retiring in Thailand project including designing and building the retirement house:- I have to stay in the UK to work to earn the money to pay for it all and to save up our retirement pension pot.

    I visit Thailand for short periods of a couple of weeks at a time when there are public holidays in the UK so that the holiday trip doesn’t cause me to lose too much income. There just isn’t enough time for me to stay in Thailand and shop around as everyone says I ought to. I would quite simply lose more money in lost earnings than I would save by shopping around. I would also lose my business in UK.

    And Kanyah want’s the kitchen sink – the complete works – and so do I so unfortunately we had to agree to what was on offer at the time for the Gardening Contract in Thailand.

    (/comments)

    “There are plenty of garden nurseries in the Pak Chong area so why not take a drive out and visit a few places with your lists and see what prices are like for the items on your two lists, yours and the gardeners? This will give you an insight into whether your quote and your budget are reasonable.

    Another advantage is that these garden centres will be probably able to quote you on landscaping too.”

    (Alan’s comments)

    It’s the same story, Tim. if I had time out there I could do that, but I’m now back in the UK and can’t expect Kanyah to do that. She just doesn’t have the temperament, skills and vision to do that on her own. She will, of course, be doing what you suggest – visiting the garden nurseries etc to select plants and so on – but under the wings of the Thai Gardener.

    When I was there in Pakchong (Pak Chong) I did go to Bangkok to buy a lathe and bought a welder and some steel to make a workbench and set up the beginnings of my Model Engineering Workshop. That was my priority for this visit and it proves I can shop around and get things done. The full story of this will be posted in due course, photo’s maps of the Lathe Shop, bringing back the lathe etc.

    (/comments)

    “Regarding you first quote, don’ forget that you neighbour Noi will be expecting a cut from the Thai gardener for the introduction and your wife may not want to upset Noi, so you may not be getting unbiased advise.”

    (Alan’s comments)

    Yeah, I know Noi will get a commission for introducing the Thai Gardener and I don’t mind that. It’s fair to reward people who help you. Kanyah told be that the second builder paid him 3,000 Baht commission to Noi for introducing the builder – when we awarded the contract.

    Noi is very helpful ad useful. On several occasions he has found drivers to take Kanyah to the airport in Bangkok to collect me or drop me off and he gathered together a small group of strong people to lift my lathe off the pickup and onto the stand. (That took seven people!)

    (/comments)

    “If you feel the gardener is proving difficult before the job is started then I suspect he may prove to be even more so once he is awarded the project.”

    (Alan’s comments)

    That’s possibly true but it’s Kanyah’s job to manage the Building Contract agreed with our Thai landscape gardener, just as she managed the two builders we had to build our retirement house .in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

    (/comments)

    “My advice would be not to rush into a decision, take your time to look around for alternative quotes, after all a garden is not the same as a bathroom or kitchen which you definitely need to have in place.”

    (Alan’s comments)

    We both (myself and Kanyah) want Kanyah to come back to the UK to spend the Summer here. So there is about 3 – 4 months only to get the landscaping and gardening done at our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

    That’s plenty of time and it will give Kanyah something to do while she’s there in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

    (/comments)

    [Reply]

  • Len:

    Landscaping is not my forte. Living in a rice village I have little land and what I do have
    I had 8″ of cement put over all of it. Even with no dirt for holes had to kill a scorpion hidingunder a piece of debris.

    From what you wrote and the little I know I suspect you have a fair price.(For your Thai garden)

    Any work is usually very over priced expecting some bargaining. It appears you reached a price that your Thai gardener is comfortable with since he was willing to add a little more work for the price. If you go too cheap you will get what you pay for – if all is happy with the price they will do their best for a good job (if you add to the job be prepared to pay more).

    You know the price of the grass – If he worked by himself for 90 days @250 -300 per day you are looking at 25,000 Baht – with help up to 40,000+.

    I don’t know what a truck load is – for me they delivered sand at 2 m2 per load and the sand ran 270 Baht p/m or 540 per truck load – soil I am sure would be a little more – but even for sand you have about 12,000 bt.

    Wood is very expensive here – the wood post used for our house cost 2,240 each and cross beams are 170++ each depending on length and size.

    Add your trees and the clean up and I’d say a fair price. Make certain you hold that last payment until you are finished and satisfied, when the money due gets low Thai workers have a habit of loosing interest in the job.

    Did you get my post on driver’s licenses?  Sorry I could not be of more help.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Hi Lena and many thanks for another informative comment about living and retring in Thailand.

    As to the Thai landscape gardener and the gardening I was O.K. with the price. But as you can read on the “Thai Landscape Gardener To Be Terminated On Day 2” Post after our Thai landscape gardener asked for an extra 30,000 Baht I asked Kanyah to terminate the contract!

    He did clear the land but then Kanyah cancelled the Contract.

    I believe what another visitor has said. We (i.e. Kanyah) should do the gardeneing ourselves. (By herself).

    I don’t meant that she actually has to get out the spade and start digging, but that she should buy the soil, plants etc and find some labour to do the work with Kanyah acting as a supervisor.

    That’s been her dream all her life – to own a house in Thailand with lots of land so that she can work in the Thai garden.

    And yes, Len, thanks for the information on Thai drivng licences and the age limit on driving in Thailand. (There is no upper age limit on driving in Thailand)

    Thanks again for the comment

    Alan

    [Reply]

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