Creating a new garden can be more complex than a major kitchen or bathroom refurbishment, and that’s reflected in the cost and timescales. A garden designer’s role is rather like that of an architect for your interior – they’ll deal with everything from site analysis, specifying materials and creating a planting plan to appointing contractors (who will do the hard landscaping and often the physical planting) and project managing. Having a garden design will help you avoid making expensive mistakes and save you time. A garden designer will be able to advise you on budgets, contractors, suppliers and monitor the whole project from concept to completion, should you wish
As an accredited member of the SGD (Society of Garden Designers)and BALI (British Association Landscape Industries), your garden is in safe hands and you can be assured you are dealing with an experienced, qualified designer. In addition I
— have the vision, skills, training and expertise to offer a complete design service
— have sound horticultural knowledge and the creative skills to transform any site, big or small
— can produce presentation and planting plans as well as technical documentation, construction drawings
— can advise on specialist elements including water features and lighting schemes
— will help you avoid making expensive mistakes and save you time.
— will be able to advise you on budgets, contractors, suppliers and monitor the whole project from concept to completion, should you wish
— have Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurance, and have been in business for 16 years. I abide by the SGD Code of Conduct, meaning I subscribe to the highest professional standards, and have committed to continual development of my knowledge and skills.
— have featured regularly in gardening magazines, have won gardening awards and featured on a 5 month BBC TV garden design show.
These signify recognition of the high quality of my work and should give you peace of mind when choosing me as your garden designer.
I charge on a fixed price for the design, as agreed in the design brief , on evaluating the scope of the project, your garden and requirements. I charge an hourly rate for any additional work over and above what has been agreed for the fixed fee design. I also charge an hourly rate for consultations (with a minimum charge) Design fees will are usually between 10-15% of the landscaping build costs. Outline pricing examples:
|Example Size||1 Acre||30 x 15m||10 x 10m|
|Design costs||8.5%, > £10K||10%, 5K-10K||15%, 2K-5K|
|Build costs||>£150,000||£50- £150,000||£20-£40,000|
It is important to set a realistic budget when you start thinking about your garden redesign. Budget will influence how the garden is designed, your choice of materials and features. If you don’t set a clear budget, and your wish list of features and requirements are not financially achievable, then the whole process can be an upsetting waste of time and energy. The garden can be done all in one go, or in stages, subject to your needs and your budget. Here are some budget guidelines.
Remodelling a garden is often a big investment similar to having a major refurbishment inside a house. Many similar skills and trades are involved, such as construction of foundations, walls and hard surfaces, electrical installation, plumbing for water features and irrigation, and drainage. And the cost of materials can actually be higher, because they have to withstand external conditions.
As a very rough guide, a small London back garden (10 x 5 metres) could cost from £35,000 and it may well take five to six months from the first meeting with a garden designer before building work can begin. Larger gardens cost £100,000 + with a longer lead time. The cost includes everything for your design and build, all hard landscaping, fencing, plants, labour etc. Here are some example garden landscaping budgets, note the date/year of landscaping, some of them would cost significantly more today.
@dreamgarden on Instagram is a good reference for getting an idea of how much gardens cost to build, and also the build times.
For smaller projects, the designer’s fee often represents a higher proportion of the overall project budget, because the work involved doesn’t diminish, and small spaces are often more complex to design. Smaller gardens are often more tricky to build and landscaping costs for gardens of terraced houses are often higher as all materials have to be carried through the house.
I have long standing relationships with skilled contractors, with whom I work with to deliver garden designs. These contractors include landscapes, tree surgeons, steel fabricators etc. I also have a great working relationship with a range of suppliers (plants, pots, fencing, furniture etc) who can supply can additional things for your garden. My business is built upon successful working partnership.
The garden can be done all in one go, or in stages, subject to your needs and your budget. Building the garden in stages is a great way of making it more affordable, as it spreads the costs. I like to design to a budget, so it is really important that you think realistically about what you want to spend on the garden, both now and in the future, so the garden can be designed and split into build stages and priced accordingly. See budget guidelines in Q2 and Q3.
I accept residential projects ranging from a consultation to a full redesign. I am happy to advise on design styles, materials, plants, target budgets and time scales. I work with architects or can prepare planning applications for all garden related things such as fencing/walls, outbuildings and tree planning in a conservation area. Planning applications for new build developments and listed properties often require the submission of a detailed landscaping scheme in order to secure planning approval. I have extensive experience producing the types of plans and supporting documents required to meet landscaping planning requirements, and have experience liaising with the planning departments of various local councils.
There are a number of professions who will help you create your dream garden, for example A garden designer is a design specialist, but is not the person who will build the garden. They will often help you source plants, furniture and other materials for your garden.
A landscaper is the builder of the garden, working to the plans of a garden designer.
A landscape architect usually deals with public spaces, and they don’t usually design domestic gardens.
Some landscape contractors offer a design and build service and will include the design as part of the build/landscape fee.
If you are looking for some ideas and inspiration about how to improve your garden, without committing to a full garden design, a consultation might suit you better. A Catherine Clancy Garden Design consultation starts with a 1-2 hours discussion about what you could do with your garden, materials, layout, planting style, plants, and budgets. Also covering some of the practical considerations with building a garden, and some of the legal/regulation considerations. The discussions are followed up by sketch plans or notes as appropriate. A consultation can be also be followed up with a full garden design if required
The initial consultation: This is the first step in the garden design process, and starts with emails and a phone call so you can tell me about your existing garden and your aspirations for your new garden. We discuss budgets and design costs. If you decide you want a full garden design (rather than a short consultation), and it looks like the project is a good fit, we can arrange a site visit. I will ask lots of questions to understand your lifestyle, how you want to use your garden, any features you want to keep/remove areas of concern, what sort of materials, planting styles, and how you will maintain the garden. It is also an opportunity for me to see your garden and take some photos. After this meeting, I will send you a design quote and brief for you to review. The brief will detail your requirements and aspirations, the scope of work, budget, timescales.
The survey and site analysis: I will survey the garden myself if it’s a fairly simple shape without too many different levels. If it’s a large project or the garden shape is more complex, I will ask my Surveyor to undertake the topographical survey, quotes for this survey will be provided separately. All of the relevant existing features and plants will be recorded. I take more photos, soil details and other notes for reference. A full topographical survey which records details such as boundaries and levels is crucial to the success of a garden design.
Concept Designs: Once the design brief has been signed off, and the landscape survey has been done, I start working on the garden design. This concept design stage can be the most time-consuming, I use my creative and technical skills to suggest different potential layouts and what will work best for you and your garden. There will usually be at least one meeting to discuss options and possibly more where there are amendments to initial designs. I build a simple 3D to check how it will feel on the ground. I can suggest suitable materials and bring samples to show you. I will present my ideas using mood boards, drawings, 3D visuals etc. I can also produce some estimates for doing the landscaping and planting if required. This will help to focus your garden choices and ensure that the landscaping work stays within budget.
Final Garden Design plans (master plan) and tender package for landscaping: The garden design (masterplan) is a refined version of the concept plan. If the garden design (masterplan) is simple, then the garden can be built just using this plan and specification. If the design is more complex, more detailed drawings will be required. The garden design(masterplan) will show paving, trees, lawn, flower beds, storage, walls, other features, and plot the position of the seats and planters. I will often include suggested suitable plants and trees and note the best positions for these plants on the plan. A lighting plan will note positions of lights, recommend fittings and detail circuits. The specification details all materials, quantities, etc. I draft a form-of-tender(FOT) document for the landscaper to use to produce a quote.
Quotations and appointing a contractor: The signed off design package is sent out to tender to landscapers, who will quote for the landscaping work. I can recommend trusted landscapers, and also approach other BALI and APL approved landscapers. I charge an hourly rate for administering this tender process.
Construction of the garden, landscaping works: The landscaper would be contracted directly to you for the garden works. The landscaper will manage the project, and supply any materials (lawn, paving, fencing etc) as detailed in the design. The landscaping project would usually kick off with a site meeting; I go through the plan with the landscaper and answer any questions.
Site visit during construction: I am available throughout the project to answer any questions, to make sure the project is being delivered as intended and to address any unforeseen problems. I charge an hourly rate for any meetings.
Planting: I can source plants and trees from a vast network of nurseries, which is a very cost-effective way of planting your garden; check the delivery of the plants from the nursery and set them out ready for planting by yourselves or by the landscaping team. (It is often only when the plants are on site that final decisions are made about the exact positioning of the plants for the best effect). Alternatively, plants can be sourced and planted by garden owner. I can prepare a detailed planting plan and schedule if required. I charge an hourly rate for any plant shopping, plant set out and planting.
Other features: I can recommend suppliers for your garden furniture and planters. These can be purchased by you, either during the landscaping or later. Or I can source these for you.
After care: I try as much as possible to design low maintenance gardens, designed to look good without requiring constant maintenance. I can create a maintenance schedule, with a short handover session on how to tend to your new garden and keep it looking as good into the future. I maintain some of the gardens I have designed, but it is really subject to my availability and the ongoing work required. Alternatively, I can recommend gardeners who may be able to take on the ongoing maintenance of your garden.