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Has anyone ever paid a professional garden designer? Is it worth it?

(30 Posts)
Gardeningnovice99 Fri 02-Feb-18 08:58:04

I haven’t had a garden before, but have a 40ft one now. It’s really just paving slabs and weeds, no grass or trees or flowers. I have pinned a few images of what I want (and definitely want grass!), but feel completely daunted by the task. I don’t feel able to do it as I’ve never done anything like it before!

Someone suggested a garden designer. I contacted one (albeit a fancy one that has won awards) and they said a small garden can cost £25,000 shockshock for the design and all the stuff.

Obviously I don’t have that much money - not even close - is there another route? Where should I start? I would love a pretty garden for summer!

AssignedPuuurfectAtBirth Fri 02-Feb-18 09:28:06

It's not too difficult to lay grass, from seed or turf, but it takes time to prep the area and then time to grow. Obviously turfing is more expensive but quicker and seed is cheaper but slower. It's easier to make mistakes with turf though, you need the ground to be prepped well and the turf to be laid tight.

Buy a decent gardening book - Alan Titchmarch's learn to garden one is a good start, and do it yourself. It's good exercise too. But you won't get an instant garden, it takes time, even with turf. Take your time, learn and plan

Even if you spend the money on a landscaper, ime they plant badly and many of the shrubs outgrow the area quickly and have to be moved. They tend to plant for instant impact, which is a very short term view.

In the short term, put down weedkiller (which degrades in the soil) and plant in the borders/pots. Removing the weeds and edging the area well makes a simple and often dramatic improvement to a garden

Gardeningnovice99 Fri 02-Feb-18 10:23:38

AssignedPuuurfectAtBirth - great tips, thank you! I am totally daunted but a bit excited. I think it’s the digging up the paving slabs and stuff that freaks me out. But I want to learn!

Would like to learn from a fresh patch of soil instead of weeds and slabs though 😂😂😂

Makemeachannelofyourpeas Fri 02-Feb-18 10:45:52

<hollow laugh> Yes we got a garden designer in to help us with our similarly sized garden; she quoted us £50,000 for a basic design, not including a new shed that would be extra. We laughed in her face and have been doing our own thing ever since.

Carriemac Fri 02-Feb-18 10:53:41

we have just spent 1k on a garden designer and i HATE her design. i had lots if ideas and a mood board, she came up with a design that is dulll and awkward.
look on the HOuzz app and design your own

Aridane Fri 02-Feb-18 11:03:40

No way will a small garden cost that - and, yes, it is worth doing. (Though I ruined mine somewhat by years of neglect after it was done...).

Designer did the design which I paid for. She had links with contractors, who implemented it all, although using them was entirely optional. They gave a quote with a detailed breakdown. The most expensive thing was paving. They also did stuff like removing ivy - not very expensive but something I would have found difficult to do myself

creaturefeatures Fri 02-Feb-18 11:24:06

There's a TV programme on the BBC at the moment called 'Big Dreams, Small Spaces' which I've found really useful.

It is mainly about small gardens, though one last week was fairly large but...I've got loads of ideas from it, it's useful just to see how he talks about garden design and he covers some basics too.

It's quite watchable even for a beginner/non gardener.

Freshprincess Fri 02-Feb-18 11:28:57

My parents did a few years ago. Their garden is huge, and was a big square of grass with a few shrubs here and there. The best advice they got was probably on what to plant and where. It looks good all year round because it's been well planned out. They are retired sonlook after it themselves now and it is amazing, they sit out in it pretty every day only snow and rain puts them off.
this was a few years ago and they're not very internet savvy so probably wouldn't have been looking up designs themselves online. You can probably get tons of ideas just off Pinterest and quizzing staff at the garden centre.

Gardeningnovice99 Fri 02-Feb-18 16:54:17

Ooh brilliant. Any idea what a design should cost (including literally everything) for that size garden?

I really feel quite daunted! But want it to be lovely.

fairylightsdown Fri 02-Feb-18 18:15:20

Do it yourself.. You'll feel great afterwards, you'll learn loads smile we all make mistakes along the way because it's a learning process so don't let that put you off.

Map out a few designs yourself. Check which areas get the sun/are shady and design around that information

macshoto Fri 02-Feb-18 18:25:36

We used a designed with the Society of Garden Designers qualification and got two areas designed (one about the size you are saying, and a second about a third the size).

He delivered: design, planting plan, details of plants, dimensioned construction drawings and three dimensional views from various positions in the house and garden for his fee. That was about £1,500 all in, and we though reasonable value - particularly given the way he interpreted our brief and Pinterest mood boards.

Build cost mainly depends on the amount and nature of the hard landscaping in your design (particularly if you are having other people build it for you) - so do give your some indication of overall budget so they know what they have to work with.

We spent more than we planned originally, but got a better result once we were persuaded of the merits of some of the discretionary items in the design.

AssignedPuuurfectAtBirth Sat 03-Feb-18 11:32:26

If you are starting out, keeping to local plants reduces your risk as you know they grow well in your environment. Walk round your area and take photos of the common shrubs and plants that you like. Then go to the garden centre and find out what they are. Then look up the RHS plant finder site to find out details about them - height, growing conditions,etc.

Also, look at the gardens around your area and see what works.

jazzmin Sun 04-Feb-18 12:49:39

We are currently using one, £500 ish to design a £5k budget garden. It’s small. My parents had a design years ago, their garden looks lovely all year round. They did the hard landscaping straight away, then followed the plan over a few years adding the plants etc when they were on offer etc. They still refer to the plan now.

OutyMcOutface Sun 04-Feb-18 12:50:54

Yes. The lawn died and the over all design was hardly inspired. Wouldn't do it again unless I could afford to pay top dollar,

fourmileswide Mon 05-Feb-18 15:12:35

Probably isn't a designer you need. Perhaps you could buy a few gardening books and magazines, and decide what you want it to look like, and then pay a garden landscaper to do all the heavy work with paths, fences, turfing and so on. Then you can take your time and plant whatever you like afterwards.

Much more fun, you get input, and you don't end up paying for a design that you don't like.

woodchuckchuck Fri 09-Feb-18 11:30:57

We paid someone to design our small garden. She didn't listen to what we wanted at all and we didn't use her. We did it ourselves and it doesn't incorporate ONE idea that the professional suggested. It's beautiful and we love it.

Ffsnothingworks Wed 14-Feb-18 11:05:34

Follow Successful Garden Design on FB. She offers online courses, which I got for half price for watching a video at Christmas. So cost £97.00. I have a square garden and am always looking for advice to make it look less square, so my garden is now spray painted circles in a design 😆

One suggestion is to write a wish list money no object - veg patch, cut flower garde, trees, seating area, pond etc
Try Pinterest for ideas.

lovesugarfreejelly63 Wed 14-Feb-18 11:12:20

When we moved house about five years ago we called in a garden designer to plan out our modest back garden. He built a patio, a few wavy paths, shed, and laid astroturf (fake grass). The bill was high about £7.5k but well worth it, the colour of the grass has not faded, and the shrubs maturing.

whoareyoukidding Wed 14-Feb-18 11:29:03

I paid a garden designer 2K but this was about 10 years ago and he wasn't a fancy designer, just a regular gardener really but he brought his brother in and they did it together. My only specification was low maintenance and cottage - garden-y. They did a fabulous job which included providing and laying turf. He told me how to look after it. I am v glad I had it done.

Gardeningnovice99 Sat 17-Feb-18 08:32:06

So do garden designers just design, they don’t carry out the job? I think I want both! Otherwise maybe what I want us just a brilliant gardener who can make something I can maintain.

I was wondering if there were some students in training who might be cheaper?

danceswithwenches Sat 17-Feb-18 09:50:04

It depends on the garden designer, I suppose.

The one we had charged separately for the design (including planting scheme, detailed plans drawn to scale). We could have stopped there and found a landscaper/gardener/garden store service to do the work, or done most of it ourselves, no pressure.

We opted to continue with the garden designer, who hired and managed the landscapers (hardscaping I think is what it's called), bought the plants and did the planting. It cost a lot but has been worth it.

user1471426142 Wed 21-Feb-18 20:05:11

I’m looking at this at the moment but haven’t asked for quotes yet. Some of the prices listed above make me want to cry. We don’t really need hard landscaping doing as our patio is good but we’ve basically got a blank canvas with no plants or shrubs and have no idea what we’re doing. I was hoping I could get a design for under £2k- it seems like I’ve underestimated massively.

javabean35 Wed 21-Feb-18 20:12:30

user, have you tried looking on Crocus for some ideas? You don't have to buy the plants from them.

Also look up 'garden on a roll' at Homebase

javabean35 Wed 21-Feb-18 20:18:46

And I just discovered the Beth Chatto collections!

5BlueHydrangea Wed 21-Feb-18 20:30:15

Have à look in charity shops, they often have many gardening books. Look out for some garden design ones and get tips.
There is also a Charlie Dimmock program on (search iPlayer although not sure how many episodes it has now) where she competes with some other designers to create people's gardens and then they do the work together. The name escapes me right now! I really like it for ideas though.

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