Garden design is typically a highly personal thing! Like your hairdresser you will want to know they understand your needs, can articulate your ideas, are able to interpret them and that you can speak up if you don’t like what they are suggesting. Unlike your hair cut, your garden is a going to be in place for a considerable amount more time and is a major investment!
The best designers know who it is that needs to enjoy the finished garden. The design process must obviously deliver a beautiful garden design, but more than that, it is a collaborative process. This is about your needs and aspirations not those of the designers, so getting under the skin of what will work for you and how best to achieve that is key.
It is important to remember that what most people want is a garden, not just a design – so getting you a wonderful design is only part of the project. We believe the whole process should not only leave you with a design you love, but throughout the journey the right information at the right time to make good decisions, adaptable designs to optimise the budget, captured before you commit. We have separate advice on the details of a typical design process (HERE) and on the costs of Landscaping which you can read (HERE).
How Do You Make Sure Your Designer Is Right For You?
Garden design is a very personal matter – you may want to be stretched and surprised in the design process or be focussed on achieving practical needs. You may have no idea of what can be done with the space and want to see options or may have a pretty clear idea of what needs to be done. In all cases, you will want a designer who really listens, is flexible, whilst sharing their ideas and expertise in a compelling way.
Our goal is always to listen first, but also to explore the ‘art of the possible’. We want our clients to come out feeling confident it’s a team approach, reassured that we have answered any immediate concerns (such as budget) at least in outline, and that you have a good sense of what can be achieved.
Refine With Them What Support You Need
You may need a significant design support package including multiple design options, planning permission, a full construction pack, tender support and ongoing construction monitoring or perhaps just want a pretty simple scaled masterplan. Most projects fall somewhere in the middle and the trick is teasing out quite where!
You don’t necessarily have to decide all this up front and leaving some elements as optional is a good idea, as long as you are sure the main deliverables are covered. If you haven’t decided on the final design or who will build the garden, you probably can’t yet decide if you need the designer to remain involved.
Consider What Happens Next
Like with any great project staying with the same team throughout will always garner the best results with the least hiccups but sometimes it is just not practical (or preferred). The best combined design and landscaping companies will be confident enough not to mind either way. If you already have an on-site main contractor or a favoured builder, you may feel this is a better option for much of the work. We are happy to work closely with your chosen contractors, helping with site supervision if needed and often providing the planting or specialist items such as lighting and irrigation. The focus should always be on getting you the results you want in the best way possible not trying to hold onto the whole project.
Whoever you decide the most important thing is ‘fit’, as long as you feel the designer understands your needs and can clearly walk your though a complete process you should get the garden of your dreams.