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Garden design quote seems extorionate. Advice please x

Hi GW forum x  
We hired an award winning garden designer to design a new front and back garden with a view to his company carrying out the work.  When we first called, we went through some basic details and were told to expect a cost of around 15k.  
Our front garden is approx. 16m x 16m and we wanted a new drive, some paving leading to the front door and some general tidying and clearing of excess plants.  Our back garden is also approx 16m x 16m and we wanted a new patio, new lawn, removal of excess plants, some lighting, some raised beds with rendered walls and for the front drive to carry on into the garden so that we can build a log cabin garage on it at some point in the future. 
We paid £1200 for the drawings (which we loved) and were told the cost would be discounted from the total cost of the work.  We waited several weeks for the final quote and were shocked when our garden designer said the project was going to cost 70k.  
Can anyone tell me does that price sound right? To me it seems extortionate.  I feel like we were misled during our phone consultation and I'm very upset.  
We told him that 70k is out of the question and our budget is 25k with some flexibility.  We asked him straight if he could work within that budget and he said he would rethink the design but this was a few weeks ago and when we call, we either can't get through or we're fobbed off by him saying he's going to consult his team to see where they are with it.
Can we expect much with a budget of 25k? Are we entitled to our money back for the drawings since we were mislead about the cost of the project? Any constructive advice would be very much appreciated.


  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,293
    You need a lawyer to sort this out. But:

    Did you sign a contract?

    If yes, then you need a lawyer.

    If no, then the drawings belong to the designer, I would say, but you need a lawyer to be sure.

    You need a lawyer.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • Joyce21Joyce21 Posts: 15,489
     Removal of excess plants.......does this include any trees?
    Hard landscaping materials vary greatly in price so there could be some negotiation re which material is used. 
    SW Scotland
  • Hi Pansyface and Joyce.  We haven't signed a contract, we only have a receipt for the £1200 drawing cost.  There is no tree removal just flowers, bushes and weeds x
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,636
    If they've paid for the drawings they belong to them surely?   Getting a lawyer is expensive so I would ask a Citizen's Advice person first and also maybe get some comparison quotes for the work. 

    Do you have notes about when you've spoken to them and when you've called?   Did they come in person and measure up or do it all over the phone?   Did you tell them up front how much you had to spend?   If so, an estimate of 70k is unacceptable but maybe it could be reduced by using different materials eg sleepers for retaining walls instead of rendered walls.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,293
    For an ”award winning designer” I think £1200 is about right.
    I’d write and say thank you for the design but we don’t want to take it any further. See if that produces a response.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,332
    I think you gave them a specific budget of 15k then they need to provide you with plans for within a budget of 15k.
  • When we first called, we explained the size of the front and back garden and that we just wanted a simple design, we asked how much it was going to cost and were told to expect a cost of approx 15k and we thought that price was fine; we also had no problem with the cost of the drawings.  The designer visited us, took measurements, later invited us to his studio and showed us the drawings on a screen and gave us paper copies to take home.  We wanted to proceed and asked for the final cost presuming it would be in line with the price we had been told over the phone, a few weeks later he told us 70k.  We have the letter that confirmed his visit to measure up and we have kept the email copies of the drawings, everything else has been by phone.
    I just wondered is 70k the going rate for work on a front and back garden 16m x 16m each? Or does it sound like our designer is trying to rip us off? And has anyone spent 25k on your gardens and what did you get for money?  
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,926
    Seems a heck of a jump from 15k to 70k, even allowing for the fact that the first figure was based on a "rough idea" of the work to be carried out. I assume you have seen examples of their previous work & the awards they have won.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,942
    I'd agree with pansyface. The cost of the drawings is fair, but I'd want a breakdown of the rest of the costs and how they arrived at that total, if they indicated that 15k was about the right ballpark figure for those plans. Even with additions to the initial rough ideas, that's a helluva jump.
    Tell them it's way beyond the initial estimate, and see what happens. You'r enot under any obligation to get them to do it unless you've signed something stating that.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • DampGardenManDampGardenMan Posts: 1,054
    15K -> 70K is a heck of a jump! Ask them what's caused the huge increase (and the danger is it might increase again as they do the work). And then find somebody else to do the work from the drawings you've paid for. If nothing else you'll get a feeling for the going rate.
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