Why Use a Garden Designer?
First off: It saves money
I know what you’re thinking, but it’s true.
If you spend a bit on a detailed, well-conceived garden design you are investing in a scheme that you will love and that will bring you pleasure for years to come. If you don’t start out with a well thought out masterplan then you could spend far more than the design fee on putting the mistakes right or even re-doing the scheme altogether.
Most garden designers charge between £400 – £1,200 pounds for a design (unless you are a talented enough designer to have won a few Gold Medals at Chelsea or have had your own TV show, in which case you probably charge upwards of £1,200 per day).
Another important point to keep in mind is Creativity is relatively cheap. Last year I had a young couple come to me for a garden design. They proudly showed me a huge stack of slabs that they had bought in, in readiness with the phrase “we knew they were good because they were really really EXPENSIVE! “. But unfortunately expensive does not always equal GOOD! Acres of the wrong type of slabbing (that’s ‘flagging’ if you live north of Birmingham) can’t compare to a creative plan for how to use the right materials in your garden.
You would never try building a house without using a good architect, so why try and build an expensive garden without a garden designer?
Secondly: An Integrated Design
One of the biggest mistakes that people who devise their own gardens is that they over-compartmentalise everything. For example, as a designer I never design a garden with say a lawn over here, a deck over here, some planting over here, etc. I always make sure there is what I call an “Integrated Whole”, so that the scheme flows together.
I often see the wrong proportion of hard landscaping vs planting (sometimes it’s a masculine priority vs a feminine one). If the husband has his way there can be lots of walling, paving, and decking. And if the the wife has her way there can be lots of planting. Getting the balance right is the challenge. Planting is a great ‘harmoniser’ and will always work best when given a strong structure to work with.
Thirdly: Be Bold
As a designer, I love raising eyebrows and hearing the question “What?!” when I suggest, for example clearing out some ageing, overmature lavender. Sometimes people get attached to things simply because they have been there for ages, but a clear out can help create ‘an artists empty canvas’ and become the basis for creative inspiration.
I love the sharp intake of breath when I suggest a dramatic water feature in garden or a lighting scheme to transform the space at night. I enjoy the process of opening people up to the idea of change.
And I get the most enjoyment when we have finished a scheme and the clients (or the client’s children) start to use their new outside space. I believe that a good well thought out garden can be a great asset to be enjoyed by all.