People easily understand the value of renovating their interior spaces, but less so their exterior property, leading some to ponder: is having my garden professionally designed worth the investment?
Without previous experience or an understanding of the work involved, it’s easy to think that hiring a designer is a service you can’t afford, or that having a plan isn’t necessary.
In this blog I hope to break down these beliefs and show why investing in your outdoor space can be a good investment, especially if you love where you live and want to add value to your home.
Optimising your garden for outdoor living
For many, gardens are established in an ad hoc way, with additions here and there based on current needs. Although there’s nothing wrong with this approach, a designer brings a trained eye to the space and looks at the whole picture, much like architects and interior designers.
Importantly, garden designers can help homeowners understand and prioritise their (sometimes competing) needs for their garden space. They will then create an overall design and plan for your specific needs, ensuring good flow and movement throughout the space, a sense of cohesion between areas, and a balance between soft and hard landscaping.
As with interior designers, garden designers will visualise how the colours, shapes, textures, and patterns will work together across each season. They also envision what your space will look like now, as well as how it will mature in two, five, ten- and 15-years’ time.
How much should I budget?
Landscaping is a highly skilled profession and budgets are commonly underestimated.
A good landscaper will cost as much as you would expect a good builder, carpenter, electrician, or plumber. Garden designers will produce the same amount of technical and detailed drawings for landscapers to work from, just like an architect would for your .
The bulk of your budget will go towards the installation, and designer fees are on average 8%-15% of your budget.
On average, you can expect to pay £100-£300 per square metre of your garden. In comparison, a kitchen renovation costs on average £330-£500 per square metre, and a single storey extension costs on average £1,800 – £3,000 per square metre. Of course, every garden is unique, and not all your garden may need to be redesigned. Factors such as size, access, and existing challenges will affect your budget.
What can I achieve on different budgets?
Even small changes can make big differences to your enjoyment of your outdoor space, as well as your property’s resale value. Below are a few examples of gardens we’ve designed to give you an idea of what you can achieve on your budget.
Incredible Edibles Garden
£15,000 – £20,000
We transformed our client’s compact, and rather neglected, urban garden into a thriving space for her to enjoy. Chunky, modern raised beds not only provide lots of room for her to explore her passion for growing vegetables, flowers and fruit, but also offer informal seating when friends and family visit.
We also included a lawn as our client wanted to enjoy the scent and feel of grass on a summer’s day. There is now a proper patio by the house that offers a sunny spot for eating and entertaining.
Relaxing Small Garden
£15,000 – £20,000
The layout of this north facing garden wasn’t working for our client, who wanted different spaces in the garden to entertain, relax and write.
Removal of the garage in the garden provided the opportunity to create a new patio area which captures the late afternoon and evening sun. A second patio is located in the corner of the garden that captures the most sun during the day. It provides a warm, peaceful area for our client to write.
Our new design has created an integrated space which fulfils the practical requirements of our client and provides an attractive and inviting garden.
£50,000 – £60,000
Our clients were feeling uninspired by their large garden, which was mainly laid to lawn, exposed to the prevailing wind and lacking connection with the beautiful open countryside.
We broke up the expansive lawn to create different areas for relaxing and entertaining, each providing shelter. The careful use of hard landscaping materials helps link the garden to the house and anchor the garden within its setting, with colourful planting that changes through the seasons.
The newly defined orchard area provides a range of edibles and fruiting trees and
Our clients now have a beautiful, cohesive, wildlife friendly garden that sits comfortably in its surroundings.
Stylish Terrace Garden
We have turned a difficult sloping space into a spacious and usable garden for sitting and eating out, pottering amongst the flowers – and generally relaxing. There are several places to sit and enjoy different views of the garden.
The view from the house has been improved with some well-balanced trees and a pair of rose arches which lead through from the main lawn down to the lower orchard area.
What adds value to your garden?
There’s no limit to your garden’s potential, but there are certain elements that are more likely to add value to your property than others.
In a recent survey by Yorkshire-based company Power Sheds, 55% of homebuyers in Britain stated they were on the lookout for a shed, garden room, pergola, greenhouse, water feature or trees. On the other hand, artificial grass, built-in trampolines and swimming pools would put them off from making an offer on a house.
Ultimately, your garden should be a source of joy and provide a positive impact to your health and well-being. If you’re planning to stay in your home long term, do choose what will make you happiest.
If you’re thinking of selling your home, don’t forget the impact of the landscaping. It may be last on your list of improvements before putting your property on the market but do remember that landscaping is the first thing potential buyers see. Small, considered changes can make a powerful difference to first impressions.
The reality is that hiring a garden designer can save you a lot of money over the life of your garden and avoid any costly mistakes. And much like renovations to your home, a well-designed garden can add 10-20% to your property’s value.
How can North Leeds Garden Design help?
Getting your outdoor space right is key to making your house feel like a home.
If you’re considering a redesign, it’s important to remember that a concept can be executed all at once or in stages over the years – according to what you can afford when – so it’s worth investing in an overall blueprint at the beginning of your project.
We also understand that full redesigns aren’t for everyone, nor are they always required. That’s why we offer a range of packages so you can invest your money smartly in your garden project.
One Day Garden Consultation: best for small budgets, we spend the morning with you in the garden, finding out about your wishes and developing ideas ‘on the ground’ for layout or planting, or advising on problem areas of the garden, such as privacy issues. This is followed up with a half-day back at the office to write a report and carry out further research or set up a mood board as appropriate. Currently, we charge £495 for the day.
Complete Garden Redesign: this will include reviewing the layout, practical and aesthetic requirements and developing scale plans for you – a Concept with 3D Perspectives, Masterplan, and Planting plan, with meetings at each stage. Designing a bespoke garden is a time-consuming process; our fees would normally be something like 10-15% of the project build cost – generally something around £5-6k upwards. When developing a full garden design, we work with you at every stage to share our knowledge and give you the best garden possible within your budget.
We also offer a discount of £200 on a full garden design if you have previously undertaken a One Day Garden Consultation with us.
Planting Design: This is for areas where the beds are already defined or need a bit of tweaking. We review the existing planting, then develop a Planting Plan, designing the borders with new plants selected to suit the conditions and your preferences. Our fees will generally be in the range of £2-£3k for this, depending on the scale of the project and the requirements.
Collectively we have over 40 years’ experience in the industry, as well as the vision and discipline to work within your budget to create the garden you desire.
In our opinion, good design is always worth the investment. Our advice is to spend the right amount, once, on getting it right.