Well... it works the way you want it to. Some people start with a vision, a Pinterest board and lots of references, some with 'Errr, um... we'd like something that's low maintenance'.
The best results come from listening. We've made gardens from just a scribble, others have required sketches, mood boards, scale drawings, and detailed plant plans. We're always precise about costs and you'll never get an unexpected invoice. Deposits are taken to cover materials and you pay the rest when you're happy. Any changes along the way, are discussed thoroughly.
In general, there's an informal chat to find out how you want to use your garden, whether you want a space for three kids and a dog or to relax with your friends, each brief is as individual as you are.
It's really important to have a budget to start with, so we ask you to think about how much you want to invest in your garden project because our job is to make the most of any sensible figure (if you're not being sensible, we'll let you know).
Key stages and timescales
People tend to think about a new garden in spring, but it’s much better to start in autumn or winter. The earlier a designer is involved, the better. Especially if you are extending or remodeling your house because inside and outside should work in harmony. Every garden design is different, but it could take at least two months to prepare and agree on a design before you're ready for a contractor to start. It’s also a major investment, so worth taking the time.
How long does it take?
Depending entirely on the size of the project it can take anything from 3 months to a year from an initial consultation to a completed garden.
How much notice do we need?
We'll be able to estimate how long the design element of the project might take and when we might be able to start. It’s likely we'll be working on more than one project at any point in time. There is always a wait for a good landscape contractor to be available and schedules constantly shift, due to weather and changes to other clients’ plans.
A common misconception is that garden designers are busy in summer and not in winter, we work all year round.
The process generally works like this:
The brief: a friendly chat, listening to you to find out what you're looking for.
Ideas and mood boards: show ideas and discuss possible materials, in response to the brief and budget.
Part-payment: a deposit to secure the project.
Site survey: wandering about for a while, pondering and looking at the garden from every angle, taking measurements and photographs.
Design: drawing/s to show the layout. This bit's pretty and quite exciting.
Cost estimates: when a design is agreed upon, all the materials can be sourced and priced in more detail.
Clearing and preparation: getting rid of all the stuff you don't want and preparing for the stuff you do want.
Build: the main structure of the garden is made. Materials are delivered and the place looks much worse than it used to, for a while.
Plant plan: positional drawings for the contractors (lots of bamboozling Latin names), so you can see which plant goes where and how many will be needed.
Planting: (the best bit), plants and soil arrive and the garden finally takes shape. It will now look really good.
Plant Care List: This is what most clients want rather than a detailed planting plan. It's a clear pictorial guide to the plants used, with care information and useful links.
Snagging: if necessary and there's anything you're not 100% happy with, we fix it
Billing: at this point, when we know you're happy, we ask you to pay the balance.
So, you can have the full monty, obviously, this costs a bit more than the scribble option, but it's up to you and we guarantee you'll be happy with whichever route you choose.
Click here to see examples of plans and drawings.
Whether we buy new or make the most of existing materials, great care is taken with finishing touches, it makes all the difference. We're happy to recycle and design around found items, it's often what makes a garden unique. Working with existing plants or the whims of your pets is all part of the story.
Every space has challenges, we see these as opportunities to plant something that's just right. There's always a plant that will love the 'difficult spot', we just have to find it. Plants for drama, style, scent, colour, structure, summer, winter, sun, and shade, every one a winner.