Frequently asked questions

What are the benefits to paying a garden designer to design my garden?

A skilled designer with an eye on the costs should be able to save you money with a well-considered design. For example, if you are linking two terraced areas, unless it is properly surveyed and considered, you may end up needing a retaining wall, that has not been allowed for. At £500 per sq m, this can unexpectedly strain the budget. Also, by factoring elements like lighting and irrigation at the beginning of the project, it will be cheaper to install at the start of a project, than retrofitting them once the paving and planting has been installed. My construction and house building technical expertise means that you are significantly less likely to have any ‘nasty’ cost surprises once work starts on site.

How long does it take to for the garden to be designed?

Typically, once the survey has been completed, it should take a couple of months to produce the concept plan, review, discuss and revise, and arrive at the masterplan ready to produce the tender documentation for the contractors to quote from. Then I can move into the final stage which is the planting plans. Depending on how many projects I have active in the design phase, there could be a waiting list before I can start designing your project.

How long will take for the garden to be built?

Landscaping contractors can easily be booked up six months in advance, so it is important to complete the design stage efficiently, agree prices and fix your project into their schedules as early as possible. Build times on site can be anything from a few weeks, a few months or even longer, it all depends on the size and complexity of the project.

How much will my garden build cost?

There are two distinct elements to the garden build:

  • Hard landscaping - paving, decking, walls, fencing, garden structures, water features etc
  • Softscaping – the planting

The split of costs is roughly 80% hard landscaping and 20% planting, although this can vary according to the nature of the design. If the design is mainly planting and lawn areas, with minimal hard landscaping, then it will cost a lot less than a garden with large amounts of hard landscaping features. Factors that can massively influence the cost of building a garden are the topography with gradients and levels of the site, and critically site access. If machinery like mini diggers cannot access the garden, then all the ground works will need to be dug by hand and labour costs will increase exponentially. Location also plays a large part, a garden in London will cost more to build than a garden in Wales. @dreamgarden on Instagram is a good reference for getting a feel for how much gardens cost to build. It features gardens large and small, low budget and high budget, and lists the cost of the build, m2 and the build time. The average cost per m2 of hard landscaping is around £200-250 inclusive of VAT.

Why do I need to set a budget?

Budgets are a difficult and uncomfortable subject for clients and designers. When embarking on a new garden it is important to set a realistic budget as this will directly influence the design and choice of materials and features included. Without a budget the whole process can be an upsetting waste of time if the wish list of features and requirements is unachievable financially. Consider your new garden an investment in your property, like you would an extension for example. Both require groundworks, construction, materials, labour by skilled trades and a high-quality finish. As an investment in your property, 10-15% of its value is a good base for a budget. For a £350,000 home, that would be a budget of between £35,000 and £52,000. In my experience, clients will often go over budget when faced with compromises to the design or finish due to budget restraints.

Can we do the garden in stages?

Phasing a project is a great way of making it more affordable by spreading the costs. The phases can be designed in and contactors can price for them separately.

Our needs do not match your design packages, can they be tailored?

I am happy adapt my packages according to my clients needs. If you are a keen plantsperson and avid gardener and want to design your planting yourself, you can.

Can you help me find someone to build my garden?

I work with a number of professionally accredited landscapers and happy to make recommendations and arrange tenders.

Will a new garden add value to my house?

It is generally acknowledged by estate agents a well designed garden can add between 15-20% to the value of your home.

What advice do you have for choosing a garden designer?

It is important to feel a personal connection when choosing a designer. You will be working with them for a minimum of six months to realise your dream garden, and for some projects several years which means you need to be able to establish a good working relationship built on trust.
When meeting a designer, they should show examples of their work, not just images of finished gardens, but examples of the masterplan and construction drawings used to build them.

I only have a small garden, so it should not cost much to design and build?

The costs are generally higher for smaller gardens and budgets, as the same number of processes need to be undertaken, and the spaces are often more complicated to design due to the size and/or budget.

How much does it cost to get a garden designed?

There are different ways of costing garden design work. Some designers will charge a percentage of the build cost, some charge an hourly rate for work done. I charge on a fixed price basis, evaluating the scope of the project, the complexity of the site and the requirements from the brief given. This will generally range somewhere between 10-15% of the build costs.

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