Design Process

Good garden design creates pleasurable outdoor spaces for your family’s relaxation and enjoyment. A garden designer can help realise the garden you’ve always wanted, shaping and firming your ideas into a meaningful, organised plan that works for the space you have and your family’s needs and preferences.

The garden designer collaborates with the owner to reflect his tastes and choices but the owner is clearly in charge of the project. You set the style, budget and theme, as well as what elements and features to incorporate, the materials to use, and the planting that will give your garden character and interest. Our long experience in undertaking a wide range of garden design projects ensures we can deliver to you a professional design service to your satisfaction and a well-managed construction project accomplished in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

DESIGN COST

A garden’s cost varies depending on the designer and the size of the project. The Garden Builders’ competitive pricing scheme has the following price ranges, depending on size: .

Gardens below 500 sq ft - £500 - £750 amount + VAT
(approx. garden size - 6 x 9m)

Gardens between 500 sq ft and 1500sq ft - upto £1,500 amount + VAT
(approx. garden size - 8 x 25m)

Gardens above 1500 sq ft - start from £ neg amount + VAT
(approx. garden size larger then - 8 x 25m)

Call us on 020 7381 8002
Monday - Friday: 9 - 5pm

Design
1. SITE SURVEY The initial site inspection, or Site Analysis, the Site Survey is an essential first step in the design process. The Site Survey enables the designer to assess the conditions and possibilities of the proposed space. The Site Survey involves a thorough and careful measurement of the garden, at times including measurement of the levels to allow the designer a full spatial perspective of the garden.

2. CONCEPT PLANS The next step is the concept stage, which involves presenting the client with two to three design concepts and layouts, including various ideas he can consider and work through. This second step is critical to giving the client a wider understanding of the project and allows him to make better, informed decisions about the garden. The options open up possibilities for the client, whether he wants a formal, traditional, contemporary or organic layouts, and maps out the general contours of the proposed space, including focal points and features such as hard landscaping details (decking, steps, paving, sculpture, raised beds, water feature) and softer elements (specimen plants and planting areas). The Concept Plan articulates the garden’s general themes and purposes.

With several options available, the client is free to explore and combine ideas from separate concept plans to create the final master plan for the garden. This is likewise the right time for the client to consider and finalise his budget, a main allocation for the essential works and an additional budget for accessories such as furniture.

3. VISUALISATIONS At this stage, the client is presented either computer-generated (CAD) or hand-drawn visualisations of the proposed garden, following the agreed-upon plan, or a combination of CAD and manual drawings. Computer-generated visuals offer excellent accuracy-- 3D models up to scale produce exact, sophisticated and highly informational representations of the garden space, with specifications for heights, levels, features, planting, furniture and other elements. On the other hand, manual drawings can illuminate the garden’s potential, are easier on the eye and to understand, and when rendered by a talented hand, can draw an enthusiastic response from the client.

4. MASTER PLAN The final stage of the garden design process is the production of the garden’s Master Plan, a comprehensive and detailed plan drawn to scale containing all the elements and specifications necessary to construct the proposed garden, including areas, features, details, levels, requirements and measurements. The Master Plan is the essential blueprint to guide the garden’s construction. The concept drawings from the design package can also guide the landscaping phase and provide a handy reference.

The Master Plan typically comes as a black and white drawing, with the plan’s elements listed in the index. The size of the garden normally dictates the plan’s scale, which can be 1:25, 1:50, 1:75, or 1:100. The Master Plan usually has a supporting literature, or written specification of the construction of each of the plan’s elements, described in full detail. If the client requests so, a written quotation can be supplied detailing the costs of building the garden.

5. PLANTING Toward the end of the design process, the Planting Detail adds a highly interesting aspect to the design project – the selection of the plants to feature in the garden. This is an important stage that has to be carefully considered. Plants are the critical and flexible elements that can transform a garden, providing greenery and colour whether to create a relaxing and easy space, a lush, tropical environment, or a minimal, modern and dramatically architectural setting to suit your tastes.

Selecting the right plants for your garden is both aesthetically and functionally important. An astutely-planned planting scheme heightens the visual impact of the garden and becomes a feature in itself. Proper plant selection sustains interest and life in your garden year-round.

Drawing up the Planting Detail figures during the later parts of the design process, where the final planting selection is determined by both client preferences and environmental factors such as the garden’s location, soil types and lighting conditions. Each member of the Garden Builders team has horticultural training, and we have an extensive knowledge of plants collectively.

The Planting List provides a comprehensive accounting of plants used for your garden, describing the plants in each scheme by specific name, sizes and quantities. The Planting List can be used as well for costing and ordering purposes.

Using the Planting List is quite straightforward as it follows the layout order of the master plan and provides an easy-to -follow planting schedule during the garden’s construction. The Planting List should dictate the order of planting and should be cross-checked for the plant’s proper positioning before planting commences. To know more about planting, please click here.

6. LIGHTING The Lighting Layout is a supplementary plan to enhance the overall impact of the garden. A well-designed lighting scheme creates a different atmosphere for your garden in the evening. The Lighting Layout is colour-coded to easily identify the positions of the lighting fittings throughout the garden, with each particular fitting marked differently to enable both client and the electrician to follow the plan effortlessly.

7. TECHNICAL DETAIL DRAWINGS These specifications provide an important technical blueprint for guidance and reference during the construction project. Technical details illustrate to both contractors and clients how structures and features should be built. Such detail drawings are critical to the construction of garden features such as retaining walls, pergolas, customised benches or screening, among others.

8. MOOD BOARDS A very useful and convenient tool for visualising a proposed garden, mood boards provide suggestive ideas and material concepts to convey the look, theme and feel of the garden, facilitating the design-process interaction between the designer and the client.
Finishing Touches

GARDEN LIGHTING

Now a basic element of effective garden design, lighting adds visual value to your garden, creating an engaging evening setting. Outdoor lighting was once confined to street lighting and the homes of the wealthy – usually decorative lanterns hanging over front porches --but has been incorporated into contemporary garden design. Today, domestic exterior lighting is an art that creates dynamic garden settings into the evening, transforming the look of outdoor spaces at night, whatever the size and character of your garden. Small city gardens, roof terraces, sprawling country lawns are all enhanced by strategic lighting.

Garden lighting is a chic and luxurious flourish to your garden design and serves as well to provide adequate illumination to dark spaces, increasing both visibility and your space’s security.

WATER FEATURES Introducing a water element to your garden design can either produce a calming, serene effect throughout your space or a dynamic feature that adds energy and liveliness to your garden environment. Water also reflects light, creating interest and a stunning display, making water features a very attractive design element. The term ‘water feature’ encompasses a wide range of installations, from lakes and ponds to fountains and modern water displays within stainless steel structures and the like.

DECKING

Decking creates extensions of living spaces and increases the functionality of your garden. Deck boards are actually the surface of a raised platform. A variety of timbers, including hard and soft woods, in different sizes, can be used for decking. The boards are fitted onto a framework, which is the most important part of the decking. The framework is supported by Foundation Posts, which absorb the decking boards’ weight. Support is also provided by main bearers or beams (intermediate structural support) and joists, which usually measure 100 mm x 50 mm, with fully treated softwood timber.

ARBOURS & GAZEBOS Arbours and gazebos, arches, pergolas and seating, enhance the attractiveness of gardens, by creating focal points and decorative touches that are functional as well. Adding seating arbours to an existing garden can open up a new perspective or vista for users of the garden. Those with ‘solid roofs’ can double as shelters from rain or too much sun, while those made with ‘open roofs’ by combining trellis panels with arches, produce dramatic decorative flourishes. These features can incorporate plants or can be stunning stand-alone structures.

ARCHITECTURAL & BESPOKE Structures such as gates and bridges and the cladding of buildings can provide added interest, heightening the visual appeal of your garden, and serving functional purposes, too. Adding mirrors to trellises creates a reflecting effect and can give an illusion of more space. Combining materials can create bespoke features that give unique contemporary twists to traditional garden structures.

TRELLIS PANELS Trellis panels are a decorative technique to adding height to garden walls and fences and providing definition to your outdoor spaces. They also create privacy and increase security, provide screening solutions for unsightly spaces and support climbing plants. Trellis panels can refresh your garden look.

Panels can be bought off the shelf, in different designs and sizes, or can be made bespoke to suit your particular garden needs. You can choose from horizontal, vertical or diagonal designs and a range of slat sizes and spacing. You can opt between hardwood and softwood timber, naturally weathered, stained or painted finishes.

For those who like a more contemporary look, slatted panels provide a modern, chic alternative to traditional trellis designs.

PLANTERS & OBELISKS Whether freestanding or built into your scheme, planters and obelisks provide extra interest, focal point and can be create colour contrasts to your garden design. They can increase the attractiveness and visual depth of your garden or terrace by varying the levels of planting.

BESPOKE SEATING Create delightful customised seating in your garden from a wide range of available options. Whether you choose tree seating, or a circular arrangement or modern, floating structures, bespoke seating provide decorative, functional spaces for your family to enjoy.

COLONADES & PERGOLAS For adding shade and added visual value to your garden, consider colonnades and pergolas to line paths and cap terraces and decks.

GLASS Glass is very popular for creating modern, ‘garden rooms’ that offer transparency while effectively defining outdoor spaces. Glass for gardens come in a range of colours and finishes, including clear, frosted, sandblasted and etched, and creates a very stylish, contemporary look, especially for balustrades, wall dividers and gazebos.