Design

Why hire a designer?

A designer can bring a focus and cohesion to a garden which gradual development and evolution doesn’t achieve. It is very easy to make lots of individual decisions and buy

Hand-drawn planting plan with coloured pencil indicating foliage colour and textures.

Sometimes a hand sketch helps me think through the colour scheme

plants that beg to be taken home and then look round and find you have a jumble.

You may also have bought a house and find yourself overwhelmed with too much else to do, but looking out each day on a view that is just not your taste.

You may have the kind of business which needs a nice home setting – something to impress your customers.

Whatever your reason we can work with you to establish what you want of your garden and then aim to  make it better than you could have imagined.

Costs

I aim to make good gardens affordable – especially productive wildlife friendly ones.

To this end I intend to make sure all costs are clearly spelt out in advance and options given to allow the best choices within the constraints of budgets and space.

The cheapest offer is for a simple onsite consultation – this will involve us discussing what you can do and maybe some quick sketches to communicate my suggestions. This will cost £60 for an average garden in BS3 , increasing depending on how far I have to travel and the complexity and size of the garden.

There is no pressure to take the design process further or to employ us for any practical work implementing the ideas discussed.  The aim is to enable less affluent client’s to get some design advice before doing their own makeovers.

My ethos is to work with care for people and the environment and this means I will always aim to use organic methods, source materials locally and pay workers a decent rate.  Set against this is the fact that some costs can be cut by recycling and reusing materials.

Hard landscaping such as paving, stone walls and paths are the most expensive, planting, gravel and wooden beds are cheaper.  Straight lines are usually cheaper to achieve than curves in hard-landscaping.

Paying a little more for the structure – irrigation, well made plant-supports, bespoke seating etc will reap dividends for years.

If you have decided to include fruit, herbs and vegetables the garden will repay you literally in delicious healthy and cheap food.

PRICES

A single one-off consultation to suggest possible ways of reworking of your garden – ‘Design Light’.

Aimed at those with aspirations to a beautiful garden but with smaller gardens and budgets.

A  consultation in your garden for an hour or so – this will involve us discussing what you can do and maybe some quick sketches to communicate my suggestions. This will cost between £60 and £120 depending on how far I have to travel and the complexity and size of the garden.  You will get a follow up email of what was discussed and suggested.

There is no pressure to take the design process further or to employ me for any practical work implementing the ideas discussed.  The aim is to enable less affluent client’s to get some design advice before doing their own makeovers.

£60 – £120 1 or 2 hours on site and notes/ drawings created at the time plus email reminder

 

Concept Design

An on-site visit to discuss how you want to use the garden and what your tastes and priorities are.  a more considered and worked up plan outlining possible uses for space/ zones for different activities/ planting types/ hard-landscaping features – as is appropriate to the brief you give me.

A plan based on a rough measurement of the site showing areas of use, shapes but not exact dimensions and types of planting. Plus sketches of particular features to communicate my ideas.  These ideas would be a basis for further more detailed design work or a starting point for your own DIY  makeover.

£200 -£450  an hour  or two on site, drawing up a sketch layout, some sketches of details and some written suggestions for planting and materials/suppliers

Further Design work

If you would like to a more developed plan we can meet again and discuss what you like and what you would change from initial ideas, and agree a more refined brief for me to work to. At this stage I will give you a set figure for the work, based on £30 per hour.  To achieve this a survey may be needed – though on the smallest garden my initial measurements will be all that is needed.

Survey

A site visit to accurately measure the site, record relevant details and drawing this up as a basis for designs. 3 hours is a reasonable estimate for a suburban garden, less for a terraced house, more for a larger plot. Charged at £30 per hour, there will be a fixed quote for this stage.

Sketch plan(s)

Based on the agreed brief and giving a comprehensive layout(s) showing all the features and structural planting will usually take between 5 – 15 hours but will vary as all sites and clients are different. There is a minimum of 4 hours and an hourly rate is again £30.  (If this is just a clarification of the Concept design it may only take a couple of hours).

Once you have agreed to the layout further detailed design can go ahead.

Detailed design

This would include researching materials, drawing up to scale, clarifying issues such as level changes, location of electric wires, structural elements. The resulting plans would provide adequate information for a contractor to quote for the job.

At this stage you, the client, may want to make changes, and given a budget estimate may need the work to be broken down into stages for financial reasons.  This is all possible and the first two hours tweaking and planning phases will be free. If the alterations reflect a major change of mind and take longer, the time will be charged beyond that point.

A quotation would be given before taking the sketch design plan onto the detailed design.

Specifications and tendering

In order to be sure you get what you want and contractors are all quoting for the same things it is wise to have a written specification of what is to be done and created. The contractors quote against this and the document becomes part of the contract between client and the successful contractor.

Once produced I can organise for a number of contractors to quote for the work, meet them on site if necessary and advise on the selection of company to do the work.

Planting Plans

A planting plan is more than just a list of nice plants – it needs to work as a whole.  This may that may mean some plants are a bit ordinary on their own but they are there because they fill a specific function – the right size, leaf shade/texture, evergreen cover etc  or that they act as a foil for their more dramatic neighbours.

The first stage can be to make an abstract composition and then to find plants to fulfil the shapes , seasons and colours that suggests.  Another approach would be to take the lead from existing feature plants and work to present them and compliment them as well as possible – I aim to respond to each situation and garden as is appropriate.

Before starting on a plan I will ask for a written brief, both to be sure I know my aims, but as it can help you, the client, to clarify what it is you’d like. In a small garden this might be a simple paragraph such as:

“Low maintenance, all year interest, lots of shades of green and flowers in white, yellow and blue. To exclude euphorbias,  phormiums/flaxes, thorns and anything else spiky or toxic because of the children”

in a larger garden this might be broken down by area – maybe different colour schemes, to emphasise different functions – herb bed, screening, wild-life area etc.

It is normal professional practice to allow time for tweaking the resulting plan.

Design time is again £30 per hour, and I will give a fixed quote for the work.

I am happy to organise,purchase and plant up designs created either for single borders or whole gardens, indeed preferring to do this final work in a garden rather than leaving it to contractors as  last minute minor adjustments may be desirable.

Sketch layout for a herb garden showing the colour combinations.

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