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Why work with a Garden Designer

Restoration and renovation projects are exciting especially when the property is your own home. The process is often a substantial commitment of time, energy and resources which may take place in a controlled time frame or occur over many years.

Most projects will be completed with a collaboration of specialist, ranging from architects, structural engineers, conservation and architectural consultants to restoration specialists, quality crafts men and women. The team of professionals can vary enormously and will be dependent upon your unique circumstances and individual project. A garden designer may be an integral part of this team. Or can project manage a team directly relating to a garden project.

From professional experience I observe that often the garden and landscape may be low on the priority list or to be attended to later, especially if the majority of the budget is being swallowed by the actual building project.
However the garden and landscape are the final framing of the house and its architecture. A well designed garden has the capacity to enhance a building, emphasize the detail and beauty of the architecture and add an individual essence to your property as a whole. For example a reception garden creates an introduction to the property and the overall garden will add a three dimensional experience for the owner and all visitors to enjoy.

In certain circumstances a garden designer will be a necessity to provide landscape plans which may be required to support the architectural planning process and compliance with planning permissions. In other circumstances the exterior space may simply be derelict, neglected or in such bad state that professional assistance is required.

The benefits of working with a garden designer:
A garden designer is a dedicated specialist who will work closely with you to address redesigning the exterior space in a step by step process. Owners of restoration projects are often overwhelmed with the actual renovation of the property adding what to do with the exterior garden and how to navigate through what needs to be addressed can be too much.
A garden designer will have a clear and formulated design process which will include an important first stage of gathering information concerning your project. It is essential to evaluate the project as a whole including your objectives. It will bring clarity to the overall garden project and can highlight potential challenges or undiscovered elements which may need addressing. During this stage works being undertaken on the house, exterior and interior will be explored and may be a key defining factor in how the exterior garden design is approached.

Your individual project will affect what plans you require, this may range from landscape planning plans as previously mentioned, a master plan otherwise known as an out-line plan which is the overall layout of the garden, planting plants, individual elements such as timber structures, water features, concept plans and sketches may be included. If the scheme is of a large scale, zones of the garden may be split into smaller sections to be drawn individually in greater detail, as may the planting plans. Specifications and written documentation may also be required. Whether your garden is small, large or an estate, a designer can tailor the design commission to fulfill your requirements.

A garden design will formally show the layout of the overall garden, indicating all essential elements, hard and soft landscaping, specific zones of the garden, solid structure, lighting and other details specific to your project. The design process will create the vision, give attention to integrating the property into the garden and landscape, address site challenges and find creative solutions to your concerns. Working with a designer can refine and fine tune your ideas, requirements and wish list into a cohesive plan to bring out the potential of the site.

Once a design is complete and has been agreed there are various ways to proceed further. This can be tailored to the individual project, budget, works proceeding with the property, the schedule of these works, the scale of the garden and scope of works to the garden. There are numerous factors which can affect how to proceed and different designers will work in different ways. However many are flexible as projects can vary greatly.

A few examples may be:
*A designer may be involved in the entire process, overseeing or managing all the works working closely with all the professionals brought into the project. The garden works may proceed as a continual schedule to follow or run along the restoration of the property.

*The garden may be staged into sizeable chunks with a priority list with full involvement of the designer as above.

*A designer may oversee the project, handing over more responsibility to specific contractors, attending meetings and liaising with contractors to confirm contracts and there on, at specific points in time during the project. There may be specific tasks which the designer is solely in charge of such as sourcing all the planting.

*The design is handed over to the clients with an agreement for the designer to consult as required. The clients may have known contractors or gardeners who will carry through specific works. Again there may be specific tasks which the designer is solely in charge of such as sourcing all the planting for the client.

* The design is handed over to the client who will proceed with the implementation. This may be driven by budget, size and complexity of the project.

It is also possible that a full design is not required yet design input is, in such a case a Creative Consultancy can be effective to address specific elements and move a client with a limited budget towards a garden concept and clearer vision. Many designers offer consultancy and so whatever the size of your project you can choose how to work with a garden designer to explore and realise the potential of your garden, adding the icing on your cake.

Enjoy the process
Laara Copley-Smith.