This is the first stage of the design process and is critical to the success of the final design. After the initial meeting to discuss the project the Client Brief is produced and approved by the client. The overall budget is also discussed at this stage in order to keep the design affordable and to understand what can be achieved within the brief and budget parameters. As the design process unfolds the brief may evolve as clients gain a clearer understanding of their final vision combining practicality, affordability and the garden of their dreams. I guide you through this process ensuring the final design is all you imagined and more.
A well designed garden is achieved through a collaboration between Garden Designer and Client. Good communication at each stage of the design process ensures that the final design and planting scheme is on brief and achievable. Taking the plans and constructing the garden is also a process that requires the skills of both the designer and the landscape contractor to realise the vision and transform ideas on paper into a real life garden.
A full site survey and analysis ensures that all the specific garden details have been recorded and considered before the design process starts, along with composite site photographs. Elements to be recorded include all measurements, plant identification, aspect and prevailing wind, site location, soil type and ph, drainage, site climatic changes eg. frost pockets. This is a lengthy process and on a large site may require a surveyor.
Trust and confidence is key to a good relationship between designer and client so I take care to include my clients throughout the design process. 3D digital images really bring a design to life and help my clients visualise the design concepts which are tweaked and approved before proceeding to final plans. When possible, I include the landscaper too, as their knowledge of construction and materials ensures the design is practical and there are no surprises when construction begins.
Once the concept is agreed, detailed plans are produced including a setting out plan for the contractor, construction drawings for specific elements and planting plans and plant schedule specifying plant species and quantities. Tender documentation is prepared in order to brief the landscape contractor and proceed to quoting stage on approval of all the final plans.
I work with experienced landscape contractors in whom I have complete confidence and trust. If you have a contractor that you would prefer to use or require the project to be put out to tender, then the detailed plans and tender documents are available and I am happy to manage the tender and selection process selecting a contractor who is registered with either the APL or BALI trade associations.
Once the project is completed, I offer a one year sponsored membership to Shoot Gardening which is an online maintenance service, and useful support, to help familiarise you with your new plants. Monthly ‘Jobs for the Month’ email reminders guide you through the first year and an active online forum offer expert advice.
The final stage of design is to pour a cup of tea, sit back and enjoy your new garden!