So this summer you’d like to be enjoying a glass of wine whilst watching the children play in a well thought out outdoor space? It might be a cold winter day in Harrogate, Wetherby or Leeds - but now’s the perfect time to start planning your new garden. The garden design process starts by instructing a garden designer and finishes with that perfect garden in the heat of June – well maybe not cracking-the-flagstones hot but hot enough to sit outside and enjoy your garden! 

To get your new garden designed and built is a bespoke project, developed to suit your needs and tastes. It’s worth taking the time to do it properly – just like with a new kitchen, you need to consider exactly what you need and how it will look before getting it installed.

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But many people are unfamiliar with the garden design process so this blog sets out to de-mystify it. In the UK the Society of Garden Designers champions excellence in garden design and has a list of registered members on its website – www.sgd.org.uk – another great option is to ask friends for personal recommendations, in this way you can see firsthand some examples of the designers work.

Usually, the first time you meet your chosen designer will be a meeting at your home to discuss your wishes in detail and view the area to be designed. Then, your designer will draw up a client brief and fee quotation for the design work. In essence, the brief sets out the key things you want for your new garden, as well as practicalities such as when you’d like it finished and what the outline budget will be. It’s important to be clear about this as your designer will use it as the basis for the design they develop for you. So you should feel free to discuss it back and forth until both of you are clear that it represents what you really want. Once you’ve agreed the client brief and fee quotation, your designer will take a detailed site survey and draw up a Concept Plan .

This is typically a sketch drawing (see picture below) showing the mood and function of different areas of the proposed garden. It’s a very useful tool to help you and your designer talk about and agree how your new space will work. Although this drawing can look quite simplistic, your designer will have been thinking through the implications of your brief for several weeks in order to develop it, and will have developed and discarded a number of options before they feel they have a workable outline to show you. To complete Concept Plan can take 3 to 4 weeks. After the concept meeting the designer will develop your Masterplan, building on the ideas in the Concept Plan and turning them into a scale plan. The Masterplan has all the information which your builder needs to make the new garden a reality. Development of the Masterplan can take 2 to 3 weeks.

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Once you’ve agreed your Masterplan the designer will obtain a quote from a trusted contractor or it can be put out to tender with a full specification so you have the basis to ask for quotes from your builder or contractor . It’s worth remembering that it can take several weeks for potential contractors to come back with a quote; and the best people are often booked up 6 or even 8 weeks ahead, more in the summer months. Now we finally get to thinking about plants! Your designer will draw up a Planting Plan showing the number, species and position of plants for the new garden, including any plants which are being re-used from the current garden.

Depending on the project, designers may do this at the same time as drawing up the Masterplan. The Planting Plan takes about 2 to 3 weeks How long will it take to build your new garden? Well that of course depends on the scale and complexity of your project! Typically it could be 2 to 8weeks. So bearing all of this in mind why wouldn’t you start now – the early bird catches the worm! Imagine beginning the design process in summer and having to wait twelve months before the next heat wave and the chance to sit outside – you’ll be kicking yourself! And be green with envy at your neighbours who started earlier. If you live anywhere in the West or North Yorkshire area and would like North Leeds

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Garden Design to help you with your plans, please do contact us. We are always happy to talk possible projects through with people and we don’t charge for our initial visit to you.

Our next blog article will feature lots of information on how to choose a garden designer that is right for you.

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