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Garden design costs

(34 Posts)
MrsCampbellBlack Thu 22-Sep-16 11:55:42

This may well be a 'how long is a piece of string' question but any ideas/experience as to how much it would cost to get garden designs done? Our plot is one third of an acre.

We're in the middle of a house renovation and won't want to do the actual landscaping until next summer but would be good to have designs for garden done soon from an overall design/build perspective.


shovetheholly Thu 22-Sep-16 12:16:21

This is a difficult question because often you're not just paying for the designer's time but project management and materials and labour as well. All of the 'execution' costs will depend radically on how complicated your design is and how expensive the materials are.

Obviously, if you will be doing some of that work yourself it falls.

I would think you are looking at £2-3k for stuff from initial consultation to detailed design drawings (and that would be at a fairly cheap rate an hour) and about 10% of the overall budget cost for management. The cost of the garden itself - probably £20k if you pay others to do it.

MrsCampbellBlack Thu 22-Sep-16 13:10:03

Thanks Shove!

I was thinking around £20k overall and a couple of grand for designs. Golly, nothing is cheap that's for sure with house renovations.

shovetheholly Thu 22-Sep-16 13:26:42

Don't underestimate your own powers. You can do a LOT yourselves if you have the time and inclination! Even hard landscaping is (mostly) not that hard to do.

Also, think about maintenance costs, because these will vary wildly depending on what you choose. A fine herbaceous perennial border requires a LOT of fussing.

MrsCampbellBlack Thu 22-Sep-16 13:32:55

I don't really have the time or inclination to be honest. I want a very low maintenance garden really - already have a gardener but I need someone with vision to do the designs.

I guess as with everything - local recommendations will be the way to go smile

I do have a lovely pinterest board about gardens - if only I could make that into reality for free wink

AMR123456 Thu 22-Sep-16 13:40:18

We had 3 quotes done for landscaping. This was for new drive & levelling of our back garden. We thought it would be around the £20,000 mark. The 1st came in at a jaw dropping £43,000!! The 2nd £25,000 ( who suggested a different way of doing it thus involving less work) & the 3rd was £33,000. All we feel too expensive. We will have renovated the inside of our house for that!!

MrsCampbellBlack Thu 22-Sep-16 14:32:51


Am spending crazy amounts on extension and total house renovation so really want to spend no more than £20k on garden. However will need driveway doing and had hoped to replace large shed with home office type thing within that budget. Suspect that is ambitious though.

shovetheholly Thu 22-Sep-16 14:49:54

I think it might be, sadly sad. It really does depend on what you want from the garden, though. Have an initial consultation with a designer and mention the budget and see what they suggest.

VanillaSugarandChristmasSpice Fri 23-Sep-16 21:48:32

Our garden is 40ft long and 20ft wide. We wanted it landscaped for £10k but that's not enough, apparently 😨

shovetheholly Sat 24-Sep-16 09:43:27

It is an expensive business. When you are having landscaping done this way, you are often paying for pretty skilled tradespeople and pretty high end materials (stone etc), and you're also often buying established plants which is far more expensive.

To reduce cost, you can do an awful lot of the work yourself, picking and choosing where you need additional help. You can also buy cheaper plants.

MrsCampbellBlack Sat 24-Sep-16 11:57:30

I have spent this morning googling resin bonded gravel drives. I used to spend my time googling chanel handbags wink

Have got one landscape designer who is going to come back to me with some costs - at this point I just really want designs in case what we do with the garden has any implications for my house renovation. I have a feeling that I am going to have to get interested in gardening wink

Our garden is pretty established so can't imagine I would need a lot of digging/stonework but who knows.

shovetheholly Sat 24-Sep-16 14:40:25

mrscampbell - I think the question of how a renovated/extended house relates to the garden is one that is overlooked by a LOT of architects. You see a lot of builds where the interior space is wonderful, but from the outside, they just look totally 'plonked'.

I am having a hell of a job getting mine to engage with it as a question - they are really, really good and talented people, but it's just clearly way outside their comfort zone, and not a way they seem to be trained to think. I do think it will pay dividends for you to get more involved, for this reason.

One example: I am having a green roof as part of my build and I simply cannot get the architects to understand that plants that will thrive in a sunny site in the south of England will not do well on a north-facing roof in Sheffield, and that some very, very specific things are going to be needed to cope with cold, dryness AND shade. Despite the fact that I have explained this in several different ways, they persist in showing me pictures of green roofs with completely unsuitable plants. If I weren't involved, I could well have been sold hundreds of quids worth of plants that would just die (I will probably grow my roof myself in my greenhouse!). This is why a garden designer who knows plants is really useful.

Kr1stina Sun 25-Sep-16 05:18:01

I think you are over budgeting for design costs and seriously under budgeting for build costs .

Stylish AND very low maintenance needs excellent design, top quality hard landscaping and expert installation, lighting and large evergreen structural plants . You are probably looking at £100/m2.

Can you link to your Pinterest so we can see what you are looking for ?

GardenGeek Sun 25-Sep-16 13:52:06

Trained as a Landscape Architect, work in an Architecture practice, and do Private Garden Design work in my own time...

I charge nothing for initial consultation. Then hourly for initial / concept designs & detailed design. For construction details and/or management of tender I charge a % of final build costs (varies depending on size and complexity of project, or how regular custom is from client, and whether they just want the designs or project management too) - between 2.5-10%

Resin bonded aggregates are amazing - you never ever have to maintain/ or replace for a lifetime (50-80 years); and most come with warranties for this time period. You obviously pay extra for this, but I think its worth it in the long term and good for the environment to use recycled materials (which most are).

If the architects don't know what they are doing they should be employing a green roofing consultant. If you aren't happy then get someone else to do that part of the project. Landscape Architects have a much better snagging period than an Architect. With an LA you have a whole year after completion to note failures and defects. With an Architect, completion and handover is your last chance to note failures and defects so anything after that won't be covered.

Are you in the bowl in Sheffield (city centre) or on the windy edges? IYSWIM. In the bowl its actually very sheltered and is quite similar to south england. Sunny vs. shade obviously will influence majorly the difference in plant choice; but if you are in the bowl, don't worry to much about north/south differences as the drainage in green roofs stops them getting wet; and most green roof plants are alpines so love the cold.

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 25-Sep-16 13:58:06

Thank you for further responses.

When I say easy to maintain - I have a gardener who will come once a week for four hours but I will not be out in the garden for hours everyday like my mil.

I had just totally forgotten to really take garden/driveway into account really in overall budget so it will have to be done at the back end of next year I think.

evelynj Sun 25-Sep-16 14:01:23

We had a great designer to come & look, discuss & draw to scale designs for £350 I think about 2 years ago. Our plot is split level so awkward but he had some fab ideas. His drawings alone have been so helpful, I got a couple of copies made & doodled over them myself. Have adjusted some of his ideas but couldn't afford the £30k+ to do it all at once but have just finished patio & extended back garden to take in side garden for a play area so we don't have to see children's toys. Well worth the money for drawings-you might find your priorities change after a consultation

evelynj Sun 25-Sep-16 14:02:14

4 hours a week is loads for that size of plot! But then I'm a very lazy gardener smile

GardenGeek Sun 25-Sep-16 14:14:24

4 hours a week is not low maintenance.

If you choose a good planting designer then they can get it down to 4 hours every 3 months (not including lawn mowing), and invest in a good mulch right after planting (ie. around 5cm gravel/ or 10cm bark mulch) then you won't need to do weeding either.

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 25-Sep-16 14:27:29

You are re-assuring me now. Mil has a beautiful garden but literally spends hours out there every day.

I like sitting in mine and looking at the view wink

Kr1stina Sun 25-Sep-16 16:13:39

People like me ( and perhaps your MIL ) spend hours in the garden because we enjoy it. I have lots of plants that need tied in and dead headed and divided and and moved. You don't need any of that if you don't want to.

You can have a beautiful and stylish garden that can easily be managed in lees than 4 hours a week . One of the first questions any competent garden designer will ask is how much time will you spend on maintenance.

As a matter of interest, what does your gardener do for 4 hours a week at the moment ?

Can we have a link to Pinterest, or at least some photos of the style of garden you would like ? No such thing as too many garden photos....

shovetheholly Mon 26-Sep-16 08:12:18

gardengeek - that's really helpful, thank you! I am in the bowl, but high-ish up. The garden is very cool and very shaded/moist, especially in winter - so the plants will need to cope with a real range of conditions.

I am taking over responsibility for the green roof myself, I think. It's a challenge, but I want to do it as an experience. I won't be entirely on my own, though - DH has a few favours owing from the landscape dept here, and one of the guys literally wrote the book on green roofs, so I'll ask him to look through my planting list and check I'm not doing anything stupid. I want to use it to try more unusual plants to what most people normally grow on such roofs (not a fan of sedum mats), so it means a bit more research, talking to Hardy Plant Society, alpine people etc. And a bit of risk, because not everything will work!!

atticusclaw2 Mon 26-Sep-16 08:20:00

We had our last garden done for £12k. It was a third of an acre (but this was six years ago)

This included - large hardwood decking area 4m square.
large 2m x 4m pond surrounded by decking boards.
gravelled paths
french oak raised beds
lawn lifted and relaid.

It didn't include plants which we did gradually over the course of the next year. I did the design but we had quotes of about £1,000-£2,000.

Suzietwo Mon 26-Sep-16 08:27:16

I've just had part of my garden designed and done. The area is smaller than 1/3 acre but the design covered the entire plot which is an acre. It cost around 1.5k for the design which is bloody brilliant.then the job was done for 16500 BUT that didn't include planting (2k?) and I think he under budgeted. There's a lot of timber and new paving so expensive. I totally love it and am really happy I did it.
Like you it was part of a house project which was much larger. I budgeted 20k for entire acre so this was obv over budget but easy to breakdown as areas are divided by a wall. I'll come back to the other bit when I have more money.
If you're after a designer recommendation (south east) let me know.
4 hours once a week is masses btw.

ClarkL Mon 26-Sep-16 18:06:55

I think it really varies with the gardener, we have a gardener who does odd jobs, a person who regularly comes and cuts the grass and another who does the lawn fertiliser thingy 4 times a year and I can easily loose myself in the garden for hours, dont get me started on raking the leaves at this time of year either...
4 hours if it includes hedge care and grass cutting probably doesn't leave much spare time

GardenGeek Tue 27-Sep-16 02:02:40

My top recommendation would be Waldsteinia; but if your DP is pals with Nigel, then he will tell you many better ones I am sure!

Let us know how it goes by making a thread to document the roofs journey please grin

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