Design process – a general guide

Initial visit

Depending on travelling distance, I don’t usually charge for this first visit as it is an opportunity to see the site, meet the client and discuss what they hope to achieve in the garden, from practical use to themes and styles, in order to establish a design brief. It is also when budgets are discussed as this will impact on the scale of the project and materials used.

Site Survey

This is an important part of the process as it accurately measures every garden feature, including all existing buildings, sheds, hard landscaping, borders, shrubs, trees etc. If the site has slopes then topography is measured using specialist equipment. The survey must include the underground services – water, electricity/gas/oil and drains – as any plan would need to take all these into consideration. If a garden is large or complex then the Site Survey is usually carried out by a specialist surveyor.

Site Appraisal

A separate process, but generally undertaken at the same time as the Site Survey. It enables time to fully appraise the potential of the site from aspect, micro-climates, exposure, local landscape, smells and sound etc. Everything that will inform the design. I take soil samples to test for pH and nutrients as well as on-site examination of soil depths and condition and evaluation of existing plants and trees.

Sketch/concept ideas

Sketches in plan and perspective visuals to illustrate ideas. Generally, these are not always to scale. Client input/feedback will guide the final design from these concept ideas.

Master design plan

This would be a 2D scaled plan of the complete garden on either A2 or A1 paper depending on size of the plot.  A version of this plan would be specifically created as a Setting Out guide for the contractor and would include any Construction Detailing as required.   It would also include separate Planting Plans, the Plant List and Maintenance Plan if required.  Designer time on site during the building of the garden would also be determined at this stage.