Employing a garden designer
During the design process, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a friend or family member who has an interest in your project and seek their opinion on your outline plan/mood board. Two heads, as they say, are better than one.
Better still, employ the services of a garden designer on a consultancy basis. Show the designer your plan and mood board and for a small fee, they will be able to point out any elements you may have overlooked, or may suggest alternative plants where you have chosen specimens that will not work in your garden.
When choosing a designer, you could start by browsing The Society of Garden Designers online directory www.sgd.org.uk, whose members must have a minimum of two years’ experience. Here you will find designers who work in your area and there may also be links to their own websites, where you can see examples of their past work. However, non-member designers should not be overlooked and it’s a good idea to ask friends for recommendations.
Also, consider the following points:
- Discuss your needs with your chosen designer over the phone initially. Explain that you would like to pay for their services on a consultancy basis and that you have already formulated a rough outline plan and a mood board.
- You should be able to judge from your initial conversation if the designer is on your wavelength by asking them about their past work. It’s probably a good idea at this stage to agree an hourly consultancy rate.
- You may also want to check out the fees of other designers too, but if a designer comes recommended by someone you know and trust then it shouldn’t be their fee charge that determines your choice, but employing the best person for the job.
- Remember to show an interest in seeing their portfolio when you meet and if you intend to ask them to recommend a local landscaper to undertake your job, ask to visit their past work too.
- At your initial meeting, your designer/consultant will be able to look at your plan and mood board and see immediately what it is you are trying to achieve and will happily expand upon your ideas with alternative suggestions that you may not have thought of.
- It’s up to you then if you want to go further with the designer and ask for more assistance by way of a full measured scale plan and planting scheme. Most designers also offer a monitoring service where they will work with you and the landscaper to ensure the plan is followed and that it actually works on the ground.
Next article: Case studies