Sometimes! Clearly we don’t leave something half done that needs to be finished on the day like planting a tree or a load of new plants, but we normally arrange the work so that we can leave promptly and stick to the timings agreed
What if the gardeners finish the job earlier than expected?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:16:57+01:00
Typically, we charge an hourly rate for the team to visit, and charge for waste to be taken away by the bag if you want it removed from site. Any planting additions or extra work are quoted in advance.
How can I schedule a service with you?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:15:51+01:00
Only if the only access to the garden is through the house. We have carried out many such projects- most commonly in central London or for roof terraces where we may need access to common areas as well. This would be taken into account at the planning and costing stage as we will need to agree with you routes through the house, protection of the internal space, and appropriate clean up levels each day.
Otherwise the only need to be in the house is usually if you invite the designer in for a cuppa, or if the electrician needs access to the fuse-board.
Do I need to do anything to help my project go smoothly?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:12:01+01:00
At CGLA we have a specific “Living with CGLA” pack that goes into a great deal more detail as to what to expect on a day to day basis and how we can help to make things as smooth as possible. We will share this prior to commencement of work.
Do you guarantee the plants?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:11:35+01:00
As living things, most plants are not guaranteed by the nurseries and therefore we cannot offer a guarantee either. Having said that, we can if preferred offer a guarantee on larger trees if we source them from some specialist nurseries and they plant them for you. This is typically a good idea when buying just one or 2 prized specimens as it costs more up front but can give you peace of mind. It is worth saying that well chosen stock from reputable nurseries very rarely fail if planted properly and kept moist.
Do you supply plants?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:11:05+01:00
The first question a landscaper will ask you is “do you have a detailed design and specification?”. If you have this you can contact as many or as few as you wish, asking for recommendations from friends or internet searches to find people whose work looks to be in line with your project. We recommend meeting with and discussing in detail your design before asking for a quotation, as they will definitely want to see the site before quoting. You should always ask to see samples, and have a full detailed breakdown of costs and materials before finalising any quotations.
If you are working on a new build or extension it may be that your builders can carry out the hard landscaping elements of your garden build, and you can then ask a specialist landscaper to carry out the parts that they are not best placed to do- such as the planting and other soft landscaping. At CGLA we are delighted to work on soft landscaping projects and can work with your builders to achieve the best and most cost-effective dove-tailing of our contract with theirs.
Will landscaping work upset my neighbours?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:09:56+01:00
This can happen, although good communication and considerate builders will usually make this a minor annoyance rather than a big deal. We have worked on cul-de-sacs and roof terraces with incredibly restricted access and very close neighbours, as well as plots in sensitive planning areas where neighbours and tree officers are already at loggerheads! These situations require tact and diplomacy to keep things moving smoothly and we work hard with our clients to ensure there is the minimum of disruption, noise at bad times, and mess.
When is the best time to build a garden?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:09:27+01:00
We work year round so there is no set time. Having said that, there may be time constraints from your side (if for example we are working on a new build or extension and there are other people on site or access is limited during phases of your work. Large scale ground works are best completed in the drier weather as rain soaked sites can become swampy and messy very quickly, but sometimes the programme means we just have to work through this. Winter dormancy (November to March ish) is the time to plant hedging and large trees if possible- the stock will be larger and cheaper, and some larger trees and hedging are not available at all outside of this time. Most planting is container grown and can be planted at any time, although we avoid frozen or waterlogged ground, and some landscaping tasks such as pointing and rendering cannot be done in very low temperatures.
Can I have just part of my garden landscaped?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:08:51+01:00
This depends on the scale of the work, the access and the time of year. We will always provide a build programme as part of our costing pack and discuss it with you as the work proceeds. As a general guide we do advise not planning specific events tight against any build programme as the unforeseen can always happen! We can work to specific absolutely fixed deadlines (shows/weddings/parties etc) but we do need to know this up front as there is a different approach (and cost!) to this kind of project.
What happens if I want to make alterations during the build?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:07:52+01:00
This is fine – most people do make some changes and additions during a build and we have a process to deal with this through issuing a formal cost or design variation for your approval. In most cases there is a cost involved and we prepare this as quickly as possible. It is worth flagging that design changes can hold up the ongoing build schedule while the costs are prepared and agreed, and the knock on impacts on the rest of the design can add cost and time elsewhere as well. Our excellent project managers work closely with our clients to help them manage this process and smoothly and cost-effectively as possible.
How do you charge and when do I have to pay?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:07:20+01:00
You should use a specialist garden designer to design your garden and a landscaper to build it. We offer both of these services, but they are different skills and we have separate teams to deliver those services. There is an advantage in having the same company do both as the co-ordination is simplifies and the designer can remain in place to ensure the construction is as they envisaged, but this can be addressed with good communication and can work well either way.
How long will it take to build?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:06:01+01:00
Depends on the project of course- at present bear in mind that most construction teams will be fully booked for some time, and the supply chain is still not operating as it was before covid and Brexit- construction work is taking a lot longer than it did! We can give you a clear estimate once the programme is fixed.
What is the difference between a Garden Designer, Landscape Architect, Landscaper and Landscape Gardener?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:03:55+01:00
Garden designers usually have a specific garden design qualification, and this can be anything from a short course to several years of practical experience and classroom study. This variability in skill and experience means that seeing their portfolio is probably more useful than seeing their qualifications! The highest badge of honour for a UK garden designer is the RHS Gold Medal that can be awarded for a garden at one of the major RHS shows (such as Chelsea and Hampton Court). This is given to designers who have, in the opinion of the judging panel, demonstrated the very highest standards of design and execution. Most garden designers focus on domestic projects and many have direct implementation experience.
Landscape Architecture is a formal degree level qualification that covers a broader range of skills, typically including commercial and public realm work as well as large scale developments. This formal education and broad design skill means that a Landscape Architect is likely to be the best option to help with the largest commercial schemes, although their skill set is equally useful on larger domestic schemes and design-led smaller schemes.
At CGLA we have a mixed team of both Garden Designers and Landscape Architects so that we can draw on the widest possible range of skills for all of our projects.
A Landscape Gardener is a term used to describe a professional gardener who also carries out some design work and/or landscaping implementation. It is usually applied to a ‘Jack-of-all trades’ and this may be the best port of call for smaller projects or those on a very tight budget.
How long will it typically take?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:03:18+01:00
A garden design process is iterative- we usually take a few weeks from commencement to come back to you with the first designs for review, and then, depending on the scale and complexity of the design, a few weeks between iterations to reach a final design. We are usually guided by our clients in terms of how much of a rush they are in, although obviously when we are busy it can take us a bit longer. We will always advise at each stage as to when we plan to prepare the next set of drawings for review and try to plan around your availability.
Do you charge for revisions to the design?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:02:47+01:00
The design process allows for revisions as we go through. There are usually 2-3 main stages of formal outputs and the opportunity to comment and amend. We do charge for amendments after the final design has been agreed and issued, or for major changes to the brief (if for example the new house design changes or you decide to add a swimming pool).
What would you recommend for a small garden v a large garden?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:02:19+01:00
Small gardens typically have proportionately more hard landscaping, although this does depend on what you want to achieve from the space. Larger spaces can have more lawns and more variety, with perhaps more distinct areas or even “rooms” whereas a small garden most commonly needs a strong theme, great use of proportion and scale, and creative use of all the available space (like walls, boundary structures and screening). As a result a small space often needs to be more ‘designed’ for it to work well.
What would work best in a low maintenance garden?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:01:48+01:00
95% of our clients ask for a low maintenance garden so this is something we are used to working with. In reality all gardens need some maintenance- even if the whole space were hard landscaped without any planting or lawns, it will need regular cleaning, consideration of drainage and some ongoing maintenance. Between this and a massive garden with herbaceous borders and formal lawns, there is a vast middle ground that most people will want to explore. Using good hard surfaces, automatic watering systems and well tempered plants will typically achieve a great deal to keep maintenance down whilst still allowing you to have colourful planting and a green retreat!
Do you build the gardens yourself?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:01:05+01:00
We do have our own landscaping team who can carry the designs through to completion, but we offer design as a standalone service so that you can choose who is best to build your garden once the design is completed. We are happy to construct gardens designed by others and design gardens that will be built by your own builders, as well as working on a hybrid basis where we carry out the soft landscaping only or project manage third party builders. We are very flexible and can discuss all these options with you.
What are the benefits of using a garden designer?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T11:00:03+01:00
A garden design will allow you to plan and fully cost any landscaping work before you proceed. You will be able to see the space in full 3D to assess how well it works for you, make choices on materials and where you wish to invest so that there are no surprises. You will also be able to use the wealth of creativity and experience of our design team to make your home beautiful and inviting as well as practical and a good investment.
My partner and I disagree on most things – how will that work in a garden design?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T10:59:32+01:00
It is our job to try to find the areas of intersection in peoples tastes rather than you having to compromise, although we can’t guarantee to resolve things you fundamentally disagree on, we can usually come up with something that both parties really like!
Some people give the design fees back against construction costs – can you do that?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T10:58:57+01:00
We don’t offer this – we prefer to be clear about what our designs cost and leave you to decide who you want to construct your garden rather than typing you in. In general most things we get for nothing are not of the finest quality and we think professional services fall into that category!
Can you work around our current plants/features ideas?Jo Fisher2023-08-10T10:55:27+01:00
It is largely not safe or practical to have just one person on a client site at one time. Lifting mowers in and out of vans and working alone with machinery are health and safety risks so we typically send our teams out in pairs.
How do you know how long it will take without seeing the garden first?Jo Fisher2023-08-09T11:38:05+01:00
We don’t! we will always come and visit and discuss with you what you want to achieve before quoting you for the work. Even having seen it once we don’t know quite how it will grow, and none of us has a crystal ball as to the weather which impacts how things go. That is why we charge on the time that is used and get as much done as we can in that time.
How often do I need gardeners?Jo Fisher2023-08-09T11:37:32+01:00
That is up to you. Most gardens benefit from weekly maintenance, but smaller and lower maintenance plots can work well with less frequent visits. Some clients like to look after their own gardens and just call in help when they want a more comprehensive go at it, or to deal with the lawns themselves and have more skilled people dealing with the planting and hedging for example. We can be flexible and are happy to discuss this with you.
Do you carry out garden maintenance?Jo Fisher2023-08-09T11:36:44+01:00
Yes we have a small team who offer garden maintenance. We do usually offer this to our landscaping clients and to other clients who want a high quality service and fit within one of our service areas. Do contact us to check on our current availability.
Do I need planning permission for landscape work?Jo Fisher2023-08-09T11:26:58+01:00
Sometimes! Garden buildings and pools may require planning permission, and some more significant changes to ground levels, depending on the area and your site specific planning restrictions. Conservation areas may have specific restrictions, and most boundary treatments need to be dealt with care if over 2m tall. Tree works may require permission from the tree officers if they are protected too.
What is the best time of year to landscape a garden?Jo Fisher2023-08-09T11:25:40+01:00
The short answer is that we can (and do) work at almost any time. Different projects and sites will have different constraints. Autumn and early winter are usually best for large scale planting supply, but it can be slow and muddy if the ground is waterlogged so there are pros and cons of any season. We can discuss with you when planning the build.
What are my options if I can’t afford to have my entire garden rebuilt all at once?Jo Fisher2023-08-09T11:25:03+01:00
Once you have a detailed garden design in place it is simple to break this down into stages that will allow you to do the work in chunks. With smaller spaces and tighter access this is less practical than in big gardens where whole areas can be left until the next phase, but there is almost always a way to break up the costs.
What will my garden cost to complete?Jo Fisher2023-08-09T11:24:18+01:00
Until you have a design in place that is impossible to answer – square meterage rates can be applied to a plot, but given the variations in cost between different treatments (say lawn versus paving) any estimates in the absence of a design will be utterly pointless. Having seen the site and taken a brief we may be able to give you an order of magnitude. See our blog on this subject here
Do I need a garden designer and a landscaper?indigo tree2023-07-25T11:39:53+01:00
Usually yes – some companies such as ourselves can offer both, but while the skills overlap, they are very different specialities. In most cases you don’t want your bricklayer (however talented!) to be making final decisions as to how to finish the edges of your steps or patio, nor do you want your garden designer to make the final decisions as to how to build your retaining walls.
Is my garden too big or too small for a design?indigo tree2023-07-25T11:38:50+01:00
Even a small garden will benefit from good design, and in fact smaller gardens are often the ones that need it most as you are often trying to fit a lot into a small space which can be a challenge and takes skill and practice. Sometimes it simply isn’t possible to do everything you want in the space, but having a really good designer on board will help you to make the decisions you need to make as to the priorities and how it will all look once done.
How long will it take to design?indigo tree2023-07-25T11:38:20+01:00
Most design processes can be tailored to the pace of the client- each review stage usually needs 2-3 weeks for us to do the required work in between, and depending on your availability and clarity of feedback, that means most take at least 6-8 weeks. This can be compressed if there is a specific deadline or it is a simpler project, and some are considerably extended (usually when working on a major new build alongside the architects and team).
What will my design cost?indigo tree2023-07-25T11:38:28+01:00
Professional design typically starts at around £5,000 for a smaller plot. This includes full 3D cad design, around 3 rounds of design development, and leads to a completed pack suitable for construction costing, with general arrangement plans, set out plans and detailed materials and planting schedules, lighting and irrigation designs.
Larger and more complex gardens, particularly those working around new builds obviously need a great deal more detailing and input and need to be priced specifically to ensure we capture all the work you want (but no more!)
If you have other questions feel free to contact us.