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Have I just wasted £500?

(15 Posts)
jazzmin Sun 18-Mar-18 11:19:48

Just moved in to a new build. Garden is tiny and awkward shaped so splashed out on a garden designer to make it ‘wow’. We explained we had £3k to spend. She sent us a stunning design. We paid her. We have had 4 quotes to do the work she designed. The cheapest was 6100. I complained to her and she suggested laying the patio ourselves (!) to save money. We struggle putting a picture up straight.
We have given up on the design really as it all stemmed round this extravagent split level patio. I feel I’ve been cheated. There is nothing in writing to say what our brief was. She has very active social media but I haven’t posted my opinion yet. I hate awkwardness and confrontation but feel I should do something.

Mrsramsayscat Sun 18-Mar-18 11:24:49

Did you mention a budget yourself?

If the design is that good, I would keep it and think of ways to get it done bit by bit. Also maybe cheaper materials or do the lower or upper patio yourself in gravel or other cheap material just for now. A garden can be redesigned over years. In my view a good design is worth sticking with, with short term adaptations.

AvoidingDM Sun 18-Mar-18 11:24:50

I'd pay somebody to do the hard landscaping. But buy the plants yourself either buy smaller than she suggests or buy them a few each year either way in a few years you'll have the perfect garden.

jazzmin Sun 18-Mar-18 11:46:12

Thank you both.... I needed a positive perspective! I am starting to feel resentful about the design rather than excited about it. It is quite hard to split into manageable chunks unfortunately but I can see I am going to have to try. I have another landscaper coming this week, I will ask his advice.

Mrsramsayscat Sun 18-Mar-18 12:16:38

See a few landscapers. Also, you may find that single builders could be cheaper, if the landscapers are companies with offices etc. No VAT for a start. Look at whether costs can be saved with recycled materials or different finishes in the design. For instance I wish I had used cheap look alike slabs in one part of my garden as the fancy Indian stone hasnt weathered well anyway. Maybe compare costs if they supply the (clearly specified) materials for them to use, or you do. I find it pays to have materials delivered yourself.

Also people have different tastes so change things when they move, which can make it possible to buy good patios second hand, which you can relay.

trickyex Sun 18-Mar-18 12:26:33

Good advice.
I think small builders are often cheaper than landscapers. Or you could use a one man band landscaper to do the work. Avoid paying VAT if you can.
If you use recycled materials (look on freecycle/Gumtree and in reclaim yards) you can cut the cost massively.
Organise materials yourself to save costs as Mrs suggests.
Maybe go back to the designer again and ask for other suggestions re keeping the cost within the budget you gave her?

AlonsoTigerHeart Sun 18-Mar-18 12:30:37

I would say ‘ as i said our buget is x, could we have something within that range please’
Its not like its a bit over, shes doubled it

kingjofferyworksintescos Sun 18-Mar-18 12:34:29

Like someone else said , get a builder / odd jobber to lay the patio ( see some of their past work first to see the standard they produce ) then do some yourself - the labouring type work levelling , digging , clearing, - laying a lawn is surprisingly easy to do yourself and order the turf in to save money

jazzmin Sun 18-Mar-18 18:00:12

More good advice, thanks. I did express disappointment and she just suggested we do more ourselves. I have researched materials this afternoon and am feeling more positive about completing at least some of it.

FloorLamp Wed 21-Mar-18 21:10:34

Check out this girls channel on YouTube. The Carpenters Daughter.

m.youtube.com/channel/UCu46Dpf61TAL0zVMLsJ_K1g

Her and her husband are renovating their property, they have done a lot of it themselves but specifically to your post, she has shown how to lay patios and also raised patio steps which maybe be along the same ideas as your split level.

She actually has quite a few really good videos on how to do and build things, worth checking out at least, maybe save yourself some cash.

We can never learn if we never try right! wink

prettywhiteguitar Mon 26-Mar-18 12:56:30

As a garden designer I would try to design within your budget ! Usually if you get the build through the designer you would get a good deal for the plants too, did she not offer that ?

It's nice that people are offering positive suggestions but if she has ignored your budget she's not fulfilled the brief. Can you ask her to modify the design to fit the 3k you originally said ? Maybe she could do that, how long did it take to to design it ? Was there a complete plant list with it ?

jazzmin Mon 26-Mar-18 18:04:22

I have found a nice company and explained everything to them. They have suggested alternatives to some things and are doing the main work for the 3k. This does not allow for the plants , but at least will have a start. She did a mood board of plants but wanted another hundred pounds for an exact planting plan.
I feel better that I will have the bones of a nice garden before the end of the summer, but I agree, she should have bent over backwards to fulfil my brief. I feel like I am being cheapskate. Normally I am the first to complain about these things but I find it almost embarrassing to keep harping on about my budget.

prettywhiteguitar Mon 26-Mar-18 18:56:38

Well that's good news !

hell thats expensive without a planting plan, did she do a complete survey and tender ?

Which part of the country are you ?

prettywhiteguitar Mon 26-Mar-18 18:58:39

It's not cheapskate to have a brief and budget. I have millionaire clients who have a very strict budget, don't be embarrassed by that !

it's to stop people like me running amok buying plants 🌱 with your money

langlandgirl2 Sun 01-Apr-18 20:31:18

pretty - out of interest what sort of price would you expect for a soil survey, concept and basic planting plan?

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