St Albans Garden Design

FAQs

We find that potential clients tend to have the same queries so we have answered the most frequently asked questions here. Just click on a question for more detailed information.

What's Involved in Garden Design?

As we say, we can do as much or as little as you want, after all, it is your garden and every job is different. The following stages offer a guide to what would be involved with a full garden design project.

  • Step 1 – The Feasibility Assessment
  • Step 2 – The Outline Garden Plan
  • Step 3 – The Detailed Design
  • Step 4 – The Planting Scheme
  • Step 5 – The Construction
  • Step 6 – Care and Maintenance

 

Step 1 – The Feasibility Assessment

First Meeting

We need to find out what you want so this step will start with the initial site visit where we can assess the garden area at first hand and discuss with you what you hope to get from a garden design. This first meeting gives you a chance to meet us and to feel comfortable with the way we work and our experience. It should take no more than an hour and a half to two hours at most. We have developed a short `check list` which should help to identify all relevant points we need to cover. Not all the subject areas will be relevant but the check list helps to get a fast and comprehensive overview of your site and your aspirations for it. We charge a fixed fee of £60 for the initial site visit.

We can certainly help by giving you an indication of the likely scale of costs involved in the construction and planting of a garden design but it is vital to at least have a broad idea of what you want to spend.

Site Survey

Obviously, we need to take some measurements before any detailed design work can begin. We will look at the relationship between your property, all existing site features and your house and/or outbuildings to ensure that what you want to do with the site will work in practical terms. Depending on the size of your plot, we may need to consider commissioning a professional surveyor but, in the vast majority of cases, we will be able to conduct a site survey sufficient for our needs covering the orientation of your garden, an assessment of any specific local conditions, ground levels and soil conditions.

The Garden Plan Summary

This is the point where the objectives identified from the initial meeting and the site survey come together in an initial plan. We will meet again to discuss our proposed design ideas and solutions culminating in an agreed brief: this is the precursor to the next step; the Layout Plan.

Step 2 – The Outline Garden Plan

Once we have all the agreed ideas in place, the next step is to prepare some drawings. These will be initial plans and outline sketches translating your ideas and our input into a plan showing how your garden might look. The plan will not be a final, technically detailed document but will act as a draft for us to further discuss modifications and changes before a final plan is prepared.

Step 3 – The Detailed Design

Hard landscaping infrastructure

This is the stage where we prepare the detailed plan showing technical specifications enabling construction of any hard landscaping to take place. The plan should show site level changes, details of steps, ponds, lighting, drainage and any other agreed structures and features. These plans will be accompanied by a written detailed brief sufficient to take to tender, should that be required.

Consents

Depending on the works involved, it may be that statutory permissions are required (removal of trees, party wall issue etc) and we will, if necessary, act as your agent to secure such consents.

Choosing a Contractor

We will have a short list of firms recommended by ourselves from whom we can request quotations against a tender for works prepared by ourselves and based on the detailed plans and specifications embodied in the final Garden Design. Alternatively, please feel free to use a contractor of your choice. Whatever you decide to do, we will make site visits to discuss any issues with the chosen contractor and resolve any problems before any quotation is accepted.

Step 4 – The Planting Scheme

Planting plans can provide literally thousands of options. We will take into account the overall Garden Plan when making planting recommendations. Obviously, if you have expressed a wish for a low maintenance garden, then the planting plan will reflect that. Equally, our extensive experience with plants will enable us to provide you with a comprehensive set of recommendations based on the preferences you have expressed, the quality of your soil, the orientation of various elements in your garden (shade, full sun, partial shade etc) colour choices and the balance of plant types (such as perennials, herbaceous plants, annuals and trees)

Initially, the planting plans will take the form of a sketch outline of all the plants in the agreed design showing plant types, colours and spacing. Once this has been agreed, we will prepare a detailed planting plan together with a schedule showing the new plants needed listed by botanical name and indicating sizes and numbers of plants. This is a useful tool for calculating costings and acts as an order list for our trusted suppliers.

Step 5 – The Construction

Once the contractor is chosen any contract will be made directly between yourself and the contractor. Whilst the contractor is responsible for managing and supervising the project through the construction phase, we will make regular inspections at agreed intervals and liaise with the contactor to ensure that work is being carried out in accordance with the agreed design. All materials necessary to implement the hard landscaping aspects of the project through to completion should be provided by the contractor unless otherwise agreed at the tendering stage. However, we will either source, or make recommendations for sourcing of all plant materials. Please note that ordering and supply of plants may be phased in order to reflect any seasonal constraints.

Step 6 – Care and Maintenance

On the basis that a planting plan is part of the project, we can provide ongoing support advice either with a hard copy or e-mailed schedule showing the basic maintenance and care needs of all the plants in the plan. The information in the schedule will cover what you will need to do and when you will need to do it in order to keep your new garden in the best possible shape. If you have asked us to source the plants then we can offer a follow up visit after a year to check progress and address any immediate concerns you might have.

Contact

For further information or to speak to us to arrange an appointment:

Telephone:   Frances 07470 361411 Trevor 07502 612722

Email: info@stalbansgardendesign.co.uk

St Albans Garden Design