The Design Process

Initial Consultation

This gives us the opportunity to meet and to go through your garden together to discuss your initial ideas, this can be about a specific area of your garden or the whole outdoor space. I can give a creative response for an over-arching design that works with your home and your lifestyle, combining the practical everyday functional use of your garden, relevant to you, with engaging and beautiful design elements using both hard landscaping materials, structures and planting.

I may make notes whilst we talk to ensure I capture your key wishes and must-haves and any ideas I have during our meeting. These initial thoughts and ideas are retained for working with once commission has been confirmed in writing.

Garden survey

Once you have confirmed that you would like to work with me I shall then make a further visit to your garden to carry out a detailed survey, take photographs from all positions within your garden, note garden aspects and measurements of the plot and note any existing features, such as out buildings, house and garden boundaries, trees and planting to remain, levels and take a soil sample. For more complex sites, where for example, the location of utility supplies need to be identified a professional land surveyor may be required.


Concept sketches with overlays and private Pinterest board

In the next stage of the design process I draw a perspective sketch of my initial design ideas along with an overlay (this is a drawing created over a photograph of your garden as it currently is). Client’s find this a really useful method of imagining how the garden will look with the new design and layout from a familiar perspective. I share a private Pinterest board with clients throughout the project to be able to show the kind of hard landscaping materials, colour palette, structures, lighting, furniture, planting and design ideas that could work in your garden. The process is very much a collaborate one and I will ask you questions about how you want your garden to look and feel and invite you to pin images to the board as well. The more I understand you the better the outcome, the greater the success of the developed garden.

Outline plan

An outline drawing (2D) is created to give an overview of the placing and position of all the design elements within the garden design, this includes initial planting ideas in each area. This service is particularly helpful to clients with larger gardens to get a feel for the layout of the garden before committing to a detailed scale plan. The outline plan gives you time to reflect on each area of your garden and the hard landscaping materials are reviewed and confirmed before the detailed scale plan is produced. Planting plans are prepared separately (see below for details).

Detailed scale plan

Following your approval of the concept design and / or the outline plan and allowing for modifications, a highly detailed and accurate scaled plan will be produced. The detailed scale plan includes the overall shape, size and layout of your garden. Identifying any retained existing plants stock, buildings and garden features with the new design; lighting plan, garden features, plants and hard landscaping materials. All materials will be specified on the scale plan and additional diagrams and cross-sections may also be supplied to help visualise any vertical or retaining elements within the design, such as, split-level areas with elevations to steps, decks, walls etc.

A further garden visit is required to ensure the plan works in the ‘real world’, any alterations are made and then a presentation meeting is planned before the scale plan is signed-off by clients. Once approved a laminated A3 sized copy is made available to the contracted landscaper before any work begins. It is advisable that a planning meeting take place between myself and the landscapers to discuss the design and the interpretation on the ground.

Planting plans

Planting plans can be created for individual borders and whole gardens and can be prepared during the early design stages. Where there is more than one planting opportunity for planting design, a planting plan is prepared for each location. Planting plans include plants lists with details of each plant’s dimensions at maturity and growing conditions required to ensure healthy, long living plants. Planting design gives you the opportunity to express your personality in your outdoor space, colour palettes can reflect your style inside your home or by playing with new colour, form and texture. Planting design really is limitless! Of course, the only practical limitations may be space, soil type and aspects within the garden, however, I will always advise on the best plants to grow in your garden’s available conditions.

Care calendar

A care calendar is a very useful tool to clients who may wish for a bit more information and guidance on looking after the plants in the garden. The care calendar is delivered monthly straight into your email with instruction, advice and care tips for every plant in your garden. A login will be provided.

Project monitoring

Once the final scale plan has been signed-off and the landscaping contractor has agreed a project start date, you may wish for me to attend at agreed intervals to ensure the design is being interpreted correctly on the ground. Also to be at hand to answer any questions that will inevitably arise during an installation. This service may be particularly useful to clients who are working and not able to be home during the project installation.

Planting-up to plan

I work with a project assistant and on occasion with clients who want to experience ‘hands-on’ the planting-up. This is a great way to get to know the plants going in to the garden and create a relationship right from the beginning. Other services include sourcing and purchasing the plants stock and ensuring plants are of the highest quality before placing into position for planting. The planting plans are created to an A3 size and laminated to be water and soil resistant. They also make a nice ‘keep-sake’ once the garden is finished and as the garden grows and develops it’s a record of how it all began..

Please visit my fees, terms and conditions page for further information about potential costs.