Garden design is becoming almost as important to us as the way we decorate our homes. It is no longer enough just to mow the lawn occasionally and dot about some plants that happened to catch our eye. The garden is becoming an extension of our homes, and it is another means by which we can express our tastes and personality. Involving a landscaper or a garden designer means that we can create a unique, external space that is just as individual as our home's interior. The job of the designer or landscaper therefore is to translate our ideas and dreams into an attractive, workable reality.
Inevitably, the designer will have their own style which will be reflected in your garden, so it is important to choose someone whose ideas you like and with who can communicate your own thoughts effectively.
Firstly, it is important to have a good idea of what your requirements are for the space, and how much you can spend. If you are looking for a general renovation make sure that you are looking at a suitable level. For example, if you require drainage renovation and land re-sculpture, a landscape architect has the specialist skills required. Some companies may only do the design of your proposed job, and recommend another for the actual construction.
Ask around your friends and neighbours for any recommendations, or if you see a design you admire in your local vicinity, ask the property owners for their name. Once you have found some suitable candidates, telephone them and see whether your plans are viable.
Find out any examples of their work that you can see; a portfolio, publications, or a garden you can visit. It is always advisable to phone around several businesses so that you are fully aware of the services available to you.
If you like what you have heard so far; arrange a consultation. Some companies charge a fee for this, so find out in advance.
During the consultation you should expect to see a portfolio of completed projects and sometimes references may be included. Ask some more detailed questions about your project issues so that the landscaper or designer has a chance to demonstrate their knowledge.
The design consultant should be able to advise you on construction or planting in a clear, friendly manner. The outcome of your design project will only be successful if you build a good rapport with the designer. There needs to be trust and clear communication on both sides; so if you feel that you are not getting the desired responses in your consultation, look elsewhere. They may be offering a good price, but bad communication and an awkward atmosphere will make for a stressful time, and the finished garden design may not be all you had hoped for.
The consultation should ultimately leave you with a clear idea of the project outline, as your site will be surveyed and measured by the potential landscaper. From the meeting you will both gain an understanding of how the scheme will work and what costs are involved.
Once you have found a landscaper or garden designer that you are happy with, following further discussions and surveys they will create from their research a final garden design. The planting scheme will take into account: