"Gardening requires lots of water - most of it in the form of perspiration." - Lou Erickson

Garden Design FAQs

Why should I use a garden designer?

For the same reasons you would use an architect to design your house: to get a professional end result. A garden designer will help you to achieve a unique garden that works for you and can be built to the budget you have set. You will avoid expensive mistakes and will get expert and experienced advice from how big a patio you need to what materials to use to which plant will grow in that awkward corner. By having a proper plan and specification you can get comparable quotes from contractors and get the best job done for your money.

What should I do before I arrange for you to come for a consultation?

Although I will talk to you at length as to what you do or do not want in your garden it is helpful if you have thought about this in advance and discussed your wishes with all the people who will use the garden. Cuttings from magazines or pictures in books of gardens you like can establish the style you wish for. I will need to know if there are any planning constraints..are you in a conservation area or are any trees subject to Protection Orders? Please also think about the budget for the garden project.

I’m thinking of having an extension or conservatory built and then want to have my garden landscaped. When should I contact you?

When you are having the designs for the extension drawn up it is a really good idea to think about the garden simultaneously. If the new building is going to affect access to the garden then it would be a good idea to get the garden designed and built at the same time or before the new extension. Poor access can significantly increase the cost of building a garden. Also once you have machinery in to dig foundations for any building it will save costs to use it for any parts of the garden where earth moving or excavations are planned whilst it is on site.

I want to have my garden designed and built now but might want to have a conservatory or extension built in a few years time. Will I need another design then?

If you have plans for the extension done before the garden is designed then the garden plans can allow for the new building. The new garden will work for both the existing house and for the future addition.

My local Planning Committee wants me to submit a plan for their approval. How should I proceed?

I am used to working with Planning  Committees and producing plans which meet their approval. This situation usually occurs if the garden and/or house are being substantially altered, if there is a change of use of the land or if you live in a conservation area. It is important for us to talk to the planners before a design is done to understand the local restrictions. Then there should not be a problem in getting the plans passed. Of course if a redraw is necessary this is included in the cost of the design as long as I have been given all the relevant information to begin with.

I am out at work all day when can you come to talk about my garden

I will find a time to come and see your garden and talk to you that fits with your schedule. I often find it is necessary to visit busy clients in the evenings or at weekends and am happy to accommodate this.

I have a very small garden. Are you prepared to do a design for it?

Of course. The smaller your garden the more important it is to make sure you maximise the use and impact of every square metre. I have the knowledge and experience to help you get the best from your space.

What if I only want a partial design? Or just a planting plan?

I do both partial designs and planting plans for existing or new beds.

When is a good time to commission a design?

You can start the process at any time of year.

How much will a design cost?

Please see our pricing page

How long does it take to get a design done?

After I have seen you for the initial consultation I will send you a written quotation for the design work within 3 days. Once you have accepted the quotation and I have done the survey (or one has been done if the garden is very large) it is usually about 3-4 weeks before the first draft of the design is brought for your approval. Alterations, unless they are extensive, can be done within a week. Construction drawings and Specifications are then done as quickly as possible to enable you to go out to tender for the garden build and whilst this is happening the planting plan(s) is/are done.

What if I don’t like the design you come up with?

As long as you haven’t altered the brief I will redraw as many times as is necessary to create a design you are happy with….no extra charge.

Do you have a particular garden style?

In a word – no. It’s not my garden….it’s yours, and it needs to fit with your style and taste and the style and materials of the house. If a garden is large then formality may be wanted near the house and informality further away. Some clients ask me for flowing lines and curves, others want straight lines and a more modern feel. I enjoy the challenge of meeting all their requirements and try very hard to produce unique designs suitable for person and place.

Do you help us decide what types of hard landscaping materials to use?

Yes, I suggest materials appropriate to the design and setting and obtain samples for your approval.

What happens if I can’t afford to have my entire garden built at once?

Having an overall design will enable you to build your garden in stages and end up with an end product that harmonises as well as if it had all been done at once.

Who builds the garden?

I will help you to find a contractor to build the garden.

Can we do any of the work ourselves?

Absolutely! Any or all of it that you want to or feel able to. I can still help with construction drawings and am always available for advice.

Where can I get the plants you have suggested?

I always quote to supply the plants for any planting plans I do. If I do I always come to check the plants and place them in position for planting. Some clients enjoy using the internet or local suppliers to track them down themselves. If larger plants and trees are required then some clients enjoy coming with me to specialist nurseries to choose them themselves.

Who plants the garden?

Your gardener, the contractor or you but I usually place them in position for planting to get the spacing right.

How long will it be before the planting in my garden starts to mature?

This can depend on the size of plants used to start with but usually herbaceous plants will fill their allocated space within a couple of years. Trees and shrubs can take a bit longer But if the soil has been well prepared the garden will look good very quickly.

How do I keep the garden looking good once it has been built and planted?

I am happy to provide a maintenance schedule explaining what should be done to which plants when
I can also come back once a year (or as often as you want) to discuss the garden’s progress and make recommendations as to any action required.