Hiring an artisan
Asking your neighbours, friends or your estate agent is often the best bet to find artisans who can carry out the work for you; the mairie may also be able to provide you with a list.
All French tradespeople have to be qualified in order to register their business and usually the quality of their work is pretty good. Ask them to provide you with their Siret number (company registration) and a copy of their assurance civile and décennale which guarantees structural work for 10 years and protects against accidental damage. You can look up their Siret number on the internet to see their declared speciality (electrician, builder etc).
Once you have agreed and signed their quote ( devis), they are legally bound to do the work and can only charge more if you agree and sign a further devis. In some rural areas of France it can be difficult to find someone to do work quickly so plan ahead as much as possible.
Enjoy the view Beautiful walls and pavings, a fountain or an elegant pool can transform your garden, and the investment is usually well worth the money for the pleasure it will bring.
Planning things carefully in advance and good communication with your builder will minimise any risks and stress. Using local materials and artisans means you are supporting the local community and in some cases preserving local skills and heritage. Lynda Harris is a British landscape architect designing gardens throughout France lyndaharris.com