Forum home Garden design

Getting the 'proffessionals' in

I have a strange garden shape and a legacy of a garden that was once (apparently) quite wonderful but it has gone to pot over years of neglect. I am a new gardener and have sought advice on the forum for a number of specific areas in the garden because although I know what I like when I see it, I am finding it extremely hard to design the greater layout of the area. I know that gardening is an evolution and a continually developing skill and that if plants aren't quite right you can always move them etc but I'm struggling with the bigger picture. Wanting to get the 'hard' features in but not wanting to get those wrong because that's really costly and very disruptive to move. So I'd love to get input from a garden designer, someone who will sit and talk to me about what I/we want and put something down on paper so that we can work off that. The thing is I know these things are costly, so is there any advice people can offer on how to do this on the cheap. Or is it just one of those things you just have to suck up?



  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,295

    I'd start with a book, or electonic equivalent, on garden design.

    John Brookes has done some good books but I'm sure there are many others.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Tropical SamTropical Sam Posts: 1,488

    Some plant nurseries offer to design for your garden for a set fee but as long as you buy the plants from them they will give you that design cost against plants. Urbanjungle for example offer that service

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,399

    Local landscapers often do the same, but I still think it sometimes pays to get an overview from someone who's impartial and has training and experience in listening to clients, responding to their sites, and translating that into the layout of a garden. It's not just about planting, features, and hard landscape, it's the structure of the whole and how it fits together and 'flows', both visually and practically. 

  • Mother Hen2Mother Hen2 Posts: 41

    I do have a garden design book and have started amassing photos etc but it's still that translation into my own garden that I struggle with. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,918

    A professional can only come up with a design if they have a brief to work with, and a realistic budget. You'll need to make some decisions about what you want and need from your garden. A list of likes, dislikes and basic requirements is the best starting point  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Mother Hen2Mother Hen2 Posts: 41
    Oh yes, I have firm ideas about what I want from the garden and also what I like/dislike so hopefully I have a good starting point.
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    I understand where you are coming from Mother Hen. Nurseries may do a design service but I would reckon only for plants. You need some advice on hard landscaping as well. In fact a total design. So your idea is a good one - get a garden designer. You will be able to sit down with them and chat about what you want in general terms ie somewhere to eat, a border with perennials, a pond, compost heap - whatever. You can also tell them if you are intending to do the work yourselves over a period of time - whatever. A budget both for the design and for the garden as a whole. The smaller the garden, the cheaper it will be. They will be able to give you rough ideas of how much paving for instance will cost per sq. metre. If you do get a scaled drawing then you can work from it over the years when you have the money and you know that the whole design will be cohesive.

    A garden designer will have different prices for sketches (the cheapest), a design to scale of the whole garden, planting plans, structural plans etc etc. I say go for it. Money well spent. A garden designer will normally only charge a nominal ff for a first visit (or free). They will have their portfolio with them so you can check out if you like their style or not. And should have lots of before and after photos.

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • LeifUKLeifUK Posts: 573

    I think a large part of the fun is learning. You need to decide what you want, what you like, and what you want to pay. And how much time you can spend on maintenance, I agree with the earlier remarks, watch the garden. See where the sun falls. Figure out what can go where. Are there pipes underground? That influences where trees can go. Existing shrubs? My neighbour is a landscape gardener. Her garden is lovely, but most plants were already there, she added and improved. My garden was like waste ground. I almost totally redid it, lawn, trees, shrubs, herb bed, veg beds. Oh and filling in septic tanks. 

    I reckon if you do a plan of your garden, marking shrubs etc, say what you want, people here could give you good advice. My garden now looks similar to suggestions I got online. My experience of books on garden design is they tend to be too fanciful, lots of beds with lots of plants, too much work. 

  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,454

    It was many years ago but I got a garden design done through a local garden centre.  It did include ideas for planting and hard landscaping.  I don't remember the cost, although it would be irrelevant now anyway, but I did get garden centre vouchers as part of the deal.  I didn't buy much in the way of plants from them but did get a pair of stainless steel garden and border spades and forks.

    I didn't implement the entire design either but it did form a good framework.

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