Updated: Oct 20, 2020
When many landscaping companies offer design services, you may not feel you need a garden designer. I've worked with landscapers who are creative problem-solvers, good communicators, expert installers in different materials, and have excellent plant knowledge. But very few tick all of those boxes. This is where a designer can help.
A designer considers your household
We start by looking at what you need right now. What's on your wish-list: play-space for kids, a den for teens, space for parking or for wildlife, hot-tub, BBQ, dining? Do you want your garden to feel natural or architectural, relaxing or vibrant? Do you want to reduce maintenance, or grow your own? What's your lifestyle: party animal, creative, sunbather or sports player? Above all... is your priority a quick low-budget fix, or a long-term solution? A designer will ask these important questions.
A designer plans ahead
We not only see in 3D: we can see though time. We can imagine the garden in different seasons, and picture how it will look in five years when plants have grown and materials have weathered. We consider how your needs may change. The party patio of your 20's may need to become child-safe. Your plantaholic paradise may need to become accessible and maintainable as you age.
A designer up-cycles and recycles
We don't like waste. If we can make what's there already work for you, we will. Removing something is a labour cost, replacing it is a materials cost. Here are some things I’ve said to clients, which you'd be unlikely to hear from a landscaper:
Your patio may be a bit dated, but it’s sound and well-laid. Could you afford to replace it with something as good quality? If not, let’s keep it and integrate it into the design.
The problem with the conservatory isn't the building itself, it's the way it connects to the garden. Let’s look at that, rather than replacing it.
Sleeper-steps are a cheap option. But what about when you’re trying to get a push-chair in and out of the house? A ramp would be a more long-term solution.
We could replace the timber fence (again). Or we could use this new product, guaranteed 25 years. We could contact the specialist installer for a quote.
A designer can 'build' anything
The last point, is a key one. I'm not limited by what I can build personally. One client I was working with got three different contractors to quote for replacing a drive. Each contractor recommended the material they were most familiar with (flagstones, block-paving, tarmac, respectively).
For this project, the cheapest and most practical solution was chip-and-tar. But none of the contractors offered this as they didn't have the skills to install it. As a designer I was able to recommend this economical material, and also find a contractor to do the job.
A designer can save you money
My clients' garden budgets vary hugely. My fee is only a small portion of that and my involvement ensures the rest of the budget is well-spent. I give you the courage to make bold choices and also retain what works. I can work out how to build a project in stages, so you can do what you can afford a step at a time. I can also support you to build it yourself.
I collaborate with many different garden experts: landscapers, arborists, electricans, crafts-people, specialist installers. Some I recommend highly, others I would avoid. Let me share my experience with you, make creating your garden a pleasure.