Step by Step Guide to Garden Design

how does the garden design process work?

Get In Touch - Pick up the phone, drop us an email or fill in the form and one of us can come to see you for a free initial visit within a 5 mile radius (travel costs charged according to destination - confimed in advance).

The First Meeting - At this meeting, we will talk you through the design process, show you our portfolio of work, take a look at your garden (and probably have a nice cup of tea). Then, if you are happy to progress, we will take a design brief from you – including an idea of your budget. Try to make a list before this meeting of all the things you would love (and loathe) to see in your garden. But don’t worry if you haven’t a clear idea of exactly what you want – we can help work this through with you.

Garden Design Quote - We will write to you after this first meeting confirming the brief and our design fee. The amount will be dependent on the size, location and complexity of the site.

The Survey - Once you have approved our fee in writing, we will survey the garden – not only taking measurements but also highlighting any existing features and views that may need to be enhanced or hidden, or perhaps some problem areas to be overcome. This may take several hours depending on the particular garden but is invaluable in making sure the final plan is workable.

The Plan - Once we complete the survey, an initial outline plan for the garden can be drawn up. This will show the layout of the garden and its features as well as indicating which materials are to be used. We will also include any sketches or drawings needed to help you visualise the finished design.

The Presentation - We will come and present the plans at a time convenient to you (usually 3-4 weeks after our initial visit – depending on schedules). This is an opportunity for you to look at the designs in detail and ask any questions you may have. However, you may want to talk things through once you have lived with the plans for a week or two – which is why we’re always willing to chat after the event.

Making Changes - Under most circumstances we are more than happy to make minor amendments to plans – and these will be within the original fee. However, if you have had a serious change of mind or there are unforeseen circumstances for which we could not plan, then we will charge our usual design rate of £45 an hour for amendments.

Final Plan & Planting Plan - Approximately 2 weeks after the presentation, we will send you the final plans. These will include any changes you may have asked for and will be fully detailed ready to send out to contractors.

Although the final plan will indicate the general style of planting envisaged, it is vital that a detailed plan showing exact locations, sizes and quantities of all plants is drawn up. This planting plan will be quoted for separately as its cost is dependent on the planting area, style and impact required.

Building The Garden - There are several approaches to this and we can work in whichever way suits you. Most clients are keen to have their garden built for them (and who can blame them). We can remove the potential headache of this by putting the work out to tender on your behalf. In these circumstances we will ask for competitive bids from 2-3 contractors. These may be made up from a mixture of recommended, reliable builders we have worked with before as well as firms you would like to put forward.

As part of this process, we will brief all invited contractors, meet them on site and answer any queries they may have. We will then go through the submitted proposals together to compare all prices and check on appropriate methods of construction. Finally we can oversee the project through regular site inspections.

Unlike some designers, we do not believe in charging a fixed percentage of the contractor’s fee for this role. Instead, we find it fairer to simply charge our usual hourly rate for the actual time we work. This ensures we are completely independent from the contractor and can truly act as your representative on site.

Alternatively, you may decide to have the garden constructed in stages. We can help you in planning the best way to divide the work so you gain the most from your garden as quickly as possible. Finally, for simpler designs or if you are particularly energetic, you may carry out the work yourself. We are happy to talk through the best ways of doing this at the presentation stage.

Plant Supply - We are able to source and deliver high quality plants – and as we purchase these from trade suppliers this equates to a significant saving for you. These can then be planted by the contractor or by ourselves.

Anything Else - Fees are payable on receipt of drawings.
Occasionally, we need to engage the services of specialists – structural engineers, architects, surveyors etc. These are charged at cost plus 10%.