Consultation and concept drawings
Where I’ll listen to what you want from your garden, assess the site and get an idea of your needs, visions and tastes.
Through discussion with you, we’ll arrive at a design concept, which might be a particular theme such as a water garden, a Mediterranean or wildlife garden, based around a colour scheme or particular materials, or on a certain style e.g. art deco. I’ll take rough measurements of your garden and plot existing features that you want or have to keep, such as walls, established trees etc. From these I can produce a base plan (view from above) of the components of your existing garden and I’ll overlay this with rough sketches of suggestions for your new garden. These help us to discuss different ideas and tweak them until we agree a final plan. Together we can create a garden you’ll love spending time in and want to share with others, rather than one you look despairingly at out of the window.
You may find it useful to have discussed what you want from your garden amongst the family before we meet. To help you do this I’ll send you a short questionnaire on things you may wish to consider e.g. how you want to use your garden- for entertaining, for children to play in, to grow your own food etc.
When we meet, I’ll have a look around your garden to get a feel for the space and its surroundings, how sunny or shady, level or sloping it is. We’ll discuss your answers to the questionnaire. We’ll look at elements of the garden you like and want to retain and those you want to change. We’ll discuss your likes and dislikes in terms of colour, shape, materials, style etc.
You’ll tell me what budget you have in mind and how much time you are able or want to put into maintenance. I’ll explain the services I offer and my rates, so you can select the level of service you want. Having looked at my portfolio and discussed your needs and my ideas for the garden, if you are happy that I can help you, and I think I can deliver what you want within your budget, we’ll sign a ‘terms of engagement form’ which is the contract between us.
You may decide that a concept plan is all you need or want to pay for and to carry out the work yourselves. However, if your plans are less straightforward or you need someone else to build your new garden, you’ll probably need more detailed plans. See step two.
Site surveys, detailed plans, detail drawings and planting plans
A site survey involves me taking accurate measurements of the dimensions and gradients of your garden. This allows me to draw a scaled base plan, which I can then use to transfer our agreed design concept onto. If your new garden requires hard landscaping features, such as retaining walls, steps or a pool, I can produce construction drawings that show how these should be built. These drawings will allow a builder/landscaper to give you quotes for the work. Once all the hard landscaping is done, your garden will need ‘soft landscaping’ i.e. plants. You may choose to plant it up gradually yourselves, or I can produce plans with planting suggestions.
As part of the site survey I’ll assess soil type (whether sandy or heavy clay, what pH it is) and aspect (i.e. which way is north and so work out which are sunny or shaded areas) as these dictate which plants will grow successfully. I’ll also take photographs of the site to help me get a feel for the mood of the space and its surroundings. If your garden is very large or complicated, I may recommend having a professional land survey done.
When I produce detailed plans, I can produce plan views (seen from above) or elevated/3D images which will give you more of an idea what the finished garden will look like.
Having construction drawings helps you to get comparable quotes and helps the builder/landscaper to ensure that they remain faithful to the layout and design that you’ve approved.
With planting plans, you get detail of exactly which plants, trees and shrubs will go where. Without these it’s all too easy to plant things with too little or too much space in between for growth. If you find it hard to visualise what a border will look like from a plan drawing, I can produce some to show how your border will look once the plants have established. I aim for year round interest and planting schemes to suit your taste and time available for maintenance.
Alongside this you may want a planting schedule, listing all the plants by Latin name including variety and by pot size, so you can give this to contractors or nurseries if you choose to get the planting done by someone else.
Project Management and aftercare
If you choose not to implement the design plans yourself, I can help you find contractors and oversee the construction process. Having invested so much in creating the garden of your dreams, it will be important to you that it establishes to reach its full potential. If you are not sure how to maintain it, I can provide 1:1 tuition alongside a maintenance schedule. This is a calendar giving guidance on what tasks to do and when in the garden to keep it looking good.
With me as project manager, you can get on with your daily lives and feel confident that the works are progressing according to the design you’ve approved and according to schedule. Any changes that might have to be made will be negotiated with you, and any extra costs involved agreed before work continues. This process helps to minimize disputes. The contract for the build will remain between you and the contractor.
All of the above can be adapted to suit your budget
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