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The design process

Designing your garden is the most crucial part of your landscaping project, because what you see on paper will ultimately be what you're left with after we've tidied up and handed over your new outdoor space.

It's your space

The first stage in the design process starts with one our designers sitting down with you and finding out what your outdoor space means to you. Do you want somewhere that the kids can play safely? Maybe it's an ultra chic party space that you're after. Perhaps you want a tranquil place to retreat to after a hard day's work? Your garden designer will determine how you'll be using your space to get a feel for what will suit your lifestyle. Sitting down and chatting to someone about the process is also a great way to galvanise all your own ideas and can really help to move the jumble of thoughts you might have into something tangible.

What makes a great design?

All of our designers have their own individual style of working - after all, their creativity is what will set your garden apart from the next. They do however broadly follow the same decision making processes.

The first rule of garden design is that it has to suit its owner. It's no good creating a formal garden with lots of stonework and hard landscaping if the kids want to play football in it! Equally, a garden full of lush tropical planting won't suit you if you're after a low maintenance option.

Our designers will ask themselves a number of questions when creating your design - this of course varies from scheme to scheme and is by no means exhaustive!

  • What's the aspect of the garden - is it north or south facing?
  • Can we make the most of the sun by introducing a deck or patio?
  • Is there beautiful view that we can frame?
  • How can we maximise the view from the house?
  • Can we re-use anything from the existing scheme, such as a favourite tree or plant?
  • What proportion of the garden should we devote to entertaining spaces?
  • What do we need to do to ensure privacy?
  • What materials will be suitable for this project and budget?
  • How can we make the most of the space?
  • Are there any unsightly elements that need hiding such as a shed?

Taking you through some ideas

Our designer will meet you in the comfort of your own home to assess your space and discuss your requirements. After our designer has taken into consideration the practical considerations of how you'll use your garden, they'll turn to the aesthetics of the scheme. If you've got a broad idea of what you'd like, they'll base their conversation around the best ways to put those ideas into place, but don't worry if your mind is blank - they'll give you as much of a steer as you want.

It's important at this stage to discuss your budget with our designer to give them an idea of the scale of hard landscaping that can be achieved and the types of material and finish to include in the design. The great thing about having access to a designer is that they can often suggest replacements or scale back certain areas to fit in with your budget without compromising on the finished project.

Your initial consultation will usually be helped along with some preliminary sketc.hes to give you some idea of proportions, and these can be tweaked and amended as necessary. The designer will of course take extensive notes throughout the consultation to make sure they fully understand your needs.

Once you've both arrived at an idea that you're happy with, the designer will take all of the information that they have collected from your meeting and start work on a formal design which will include scale drawings, planting suggestions, materials suggestions and notes. They will also discuss their design with one of our landscaping teams who will source the required materials and put together a fully specified quote. We'll then send forward your design and quote to consider at your leisure.

The finished design

Your landscaping project is as much about enjoying the process as it is about the finished result. Deciding to have your garden designed is a significant decision and we want you to enjoy seeing ideas and conversations turn into real plans. Seeing a list of materials and plants can leave you a bit flat, so our designers will encourage your input so that you are fully involved in the design process from start to finish. It might be a particular type of stone that you like, or maybe you've seen a tropical tree fern you'd like to incorporate into the scheme.

When committing their ideas to paper, our designers like to give a sense of proportion and structure to their designs, so that what you see on paper gives you a real feel for what the finished project will look like. We tend to find that most of our clients are really impressed with what they see and often delighted at seeing ideas and suggestions that have been discussed come to life.

Why not start the ball rolling today? Call us on 0203 743 8976 and our friendly team will be pleased to help with any questions you might have.

What's my style

Just like the decor in your house, your taste in gardens might be vastly different from someone else's. So that you can start to think about your style, take a look at our style guide below and see if you can find some inspiration. Remember, these are just guides and can be adapted and combined to suit your individual taste and needs- or you can of course let our designer take the lead and help you find just what you're looking for. The choice is entirely yours!

Urban chic
Urban chic
Characterised by clean lines and angles, this type of garden is perfect for those who like to use their garden primarily as an entertaining space. Hard landscaping in beautiful materials such as Indian Sandstone, Stainless steel and crisp rendered walls are softened by hedging and clipped bushes in muted green and grey tones.

Urban gardens are really well suited to cities where space is at a premium because they forego traditional landscaping elements such as lawns in favour of defined seating areas and can seamlessly move from house to garden by using of similar materials and heights. Clever concealed lighting can also create a wonderful night time mood, perfect for al fresco eating and drinking.
Cottage garden
Cottage garden
Cottage gardens are traditionally lushly planted with colorful jumbles of flowers and shrubs, that really burst into life in spring and summer. For extra dramatic effect, dense planting means that for pure enjoyment of flowers, nothing beats a cottage garden. Our designers always take into consideration how the garden looks after winter and so ornamental

They are often combined with golden shingle or pebbles which really shows of the vibrancy of the colours as well as allowing natural paths to be created which take in all of the areas in the garden. An added bonus is the wonderful array of wildlife that are attracted to the planting such as butterflies and bees, which really brings you back to nature, especially when the sun is shining.
Family Friendly
Family friendly
You'll know if you have a young family that having some outdoor space can be really important, and knowing that the kids are able to play safely, even more so. That said, it's important when designing with children in mind, that the needs of everyone who uses the garden are taken into account, and that includes the adults!

Decent sized lawns are usually a must in these types of schemes, whether it's to kick a football about or for the kids to roll around getting grass stains on their clothes! Generous decking areas in interesting shapes which cut into the lawn mean that adults can sit back with a drink while kids play. How about using giant outdoor cushions in bold colours for a really relaxing place to chill?
Contemporary classic
Contemporary classic
This style of garden suits those who want a bit of everything, without the scheme becoming old fashioned. Suited to those with more traditional tastes but who are fairly design conscious and want to use modern materials such as beautiful hardwood decking and charcoal coloured slate tiles.

The only boundary to this type of garden is how far you want to let your imagination go. You can go for a simple formal garden with symmetric elements, or perhaps a series of 'garden rooms' to break a larger space up, but all the while thinking about creating a space that always looks back to simplicity, good taste and understated cool.
Kitchen garden
Kitchen garden
Cookery shows have really woken up people's passion for food, and gone are the days when a sprinkling of dried herbs was enough to finish off a dish. If you're lucky enough to have some outdoor space, and you're a real foodie, we can design a garden for you that really captures your imagination.

The scale of the project can be as large or small as you want - whether it's a smaller area devoted to aromatic herbs, or maybe even growing your own vegetables. Kitchen gardens needn't dispense with design in favour of practicality either - fruit, vegetables and herbs can be grown amongst ornamental plants for a look that allows for useability too.
Lush and tropical
Lush and tropical
There are a surprising number of trees and plants that really give that lush look but which are hardy enough to cope with most British winters. We're also lucky enough to have a temperate climate that allows palms from the hotter countries to live alongside tree ferns which prefer shady moist conditions. They work really well with hardwood decking for a really lush, exotic feel.

This style of garden is brilliant for those who really want to be taken away from the stresses and strains of modern life by transporting you to an oasis of peace, especially when combined with the sound of running water. Although they do require a bit of tending to keep them in good condition and protected from the elements, the results can really be stunning.
You might have seen Mediterranean gardens done years ago on TV makeover shows and been put off for life, but don't be fooled into thinking that this style of garden is old fashioned and tacky because they can be both tranquil and stylish.

Modern Mediterranean designs tend to move away from terracotta pots in favour of graceful cypress trees, white rendered walls and beautiful mature olive trees. Intricate stonework patios in Italian stone finish the look off. It's also a great idea to incorporate a seating area under a pergola, with climbing plants trained to grow up and provide colour and fragrance - it really makes a beautiful space for an al fresco meal with friends.
Design Focus
Water features

If you think water features are dull and boring, think again. Gone are the days when a water feature was an afterthought - a silver orb with a hole cut in the top, connected to a hose...

The sound of running water on a hot day is one of the things that sums up all that's great about having a garden. We can design innovative water features into your design, such as a stainless steel rill gently flowing into a pebble bed, or a gentle stream running between decking areas. Ask your designer for more information.

Roof terraces
Roof terrace

Roof terraces are a feature that are largely confined to cities, where space can sometimes be at a premium. If you have some unused outdoor roof space, then a well designed roof terrace can be a fantastic place to relax which can also add a great deal of money to the value of your property when you come to sell it.

Designing for roof terraces requires the clever use of lightweight materials and plants that suit more exposed conditions. Take a look at our landscaping pages for more on how we can transform a bare roof terrace into a luxury relaxation zone.

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