Working with a designer


The Brief

The first thing a professional garden designer will do is meet you on site for a briefing, to find out what you would like in your new garden. It is helpful to the designer if you have a clear idea of your basic requirements and how much you can afford to spend.

Site or Garden Survey

The designer will then carry out a full survey and assessment of the site. This includes checking the drainage, measuring the different levels and distances between existing features, observing its idiosyncrasies, its setting and orientation, soil type, prevailing wind, the views from the site, any existing plants and garden features, and noting the type of building materials and techniques used in the existing buildings.

A draft or concept plan

Armed with information from you and an accurate survey of the site, the designer can begin to create a plan, which at this stage is a draft or concept plan, clearly outlining the design proposals. A good design should seamlessly combine functionalism – that is, the practical uses to which the garden will be put – with aesthetics, to create a place of beauty and a garden full of wonderful plants to enjoy in all seasons. This draft plan is then discussed between you and the designer and any alterations or changes will be noted.

Working Drawings and Instructions

The next step for the designer is drawing up a very detailed proposal, including details of the proposed planting, hard landscape working drawings and work schedules as required. The preparation of such a finely tuned design, drawn to scale, can take a lot of time. Different design possibilities may have been mooted during discussions with the client, and may need further exploration at the design studio.


Cost estimates/Building tenders

GLDA designers can produce cost estimates at various stages of the project, to facilitate the client in planning a budget. In addition, they can draw up tender documents as required.

They can provide an inspection and overseeing service throughout the project to ensure that correct construction and planting methods are being used.

Designers can also draw up a maintenance schedule for the finished garden, if required.

Advice by consultation. Some people may want to carry out their own construction and planting or update just certain aspects of an existing garden but require expert advice first. Some designers will do this for them at a prearranged fee.

Some people with large gardens may wish to implement their plan over a period of years on a phased basis.

A designer may also inform you of respected landscape contractors to construct and plant for you, or submit a tender for the job. Some designers have their own landscape contracting firms.

Not all GLDA designers offer the full list of services outlined. For further details, and to find a designer who meets your specific requirements, consult the list of Full Members of the Association.

Please contact individual garden designers as most will travel.