This is an opportunity for you to view my portfolio and to discuss your requirements. Some people have quite a clear idea of what they want while others prefer to leave it up to me. In either case it’s often useful to have some visual references of the sort of thing that appeals to you so any images from books or magazines you may have gathered will be useful. I will then send you a quote for drawing up a Concept and Master Plan.
Should you accept the quote, I will then return to take photographs and measure up the site. If it is a straightforward site the survey can be done in house, but on a large site, or one with various level changes it may be necessary to have a professional survey. The concept plan will be based on our discussions of the brief and will show the layout of the garden and positioning of the main features together with ideas for materials and planting. Once we have discussed the concept plan I will be able to incorporate any amendments you wish to make.
I would then draw up the Master Plan and Specification which includes all the details to enable a landscaper to cost the build.
Appointing a Landscaper
As this stage you can decide whether to take the project on yourself or whether you would prefer me to be involved in arranging site visits and organising quotes. I can recommend good landscapers I have worked with on a regular basis but you may also wish to have quotes from someone who has been recommended to you directly. In addition to the landscaper it may be necessary to involve other specialists such as structural engineers, metalworkers or carpenters. It may also be necessary to make applications for planning permission and listed buildings consent.
Design Development/Construction Drawings
If there are any detailed bespoke features such as a garden building, pergola or water feature it may be necessary to do some technical research and do construction drawings. This will become obvious at the concept plan stage and may have to be quoted for separately.
You may feel happy to monitor the progress of the build yourselves but it is usually helpful to have the involvement of the designer. There are always queries which some up during construction and having the designer on hand ensures that the integrity of the design is maintained. This generally involves one or two site visits per week and being available to answer any queries as they come up on the telephone and will be charged at an hourly rate.
I generally ask the landscaper to prepare the areas to be planted and then organise the planting myself. The planting plan would include a full list of plants together with costings for supply, setting out and planting.
I can arrange for regular maintenance of the garden, or if you would prefer to do the maintenance yourselves, I could draw up a maintenance schedule and be available once or twice a year for a maintenance consultation.