A garden designer can help you rejuvenate your outside space by looking at the garden as a whole to update, upgrade and modernise it. Starting with a detailed discussion with you (the client) a designer will develop a design around a conceptual idea, that includes paving, fencing, structures, paths and all other garden elements. A designer will make all of those elements work around a scheme to make a whole cohesive space that brings you pleasure. Designers tend to know latest trends in landscaping materials and products to bring you a garden that is right up to date.
What qualifications must a garden designer have?
There are no barriers to entry to becoming a garden designer and the industry is not regulated, so it is important to do some due diligence before selecting a designer. Qualifications include professional design diplomas and degrees from a variety of colleges and universities. Horticultural certificates from City and Guilds or the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) prove horticultural knowledge but do not constitute a design qualification. Designers can also have their work assessed by an industry body, such as the Society of Garden Designers, or the Horticultural Trades Association and receive an accreditation which demonstrates the quality of their work.
How can you help me?
Chalcot can help with all aspects of the exterior space, from hard and soft landscaping, to furniture, outdoor kitchens and water features. We design structural elements (fencing, pergolas, bin houses, walls) to bring something unique to your garden. One of the most important parts of the process is consulting with you to make sure you have thought about how you could use the garden for the full enjoyment of it. We also have experience of property development and look at how the garden will interact with the house, the flow of space and materials to enhance the indoor/outdoor experience.
What is the difference between a garden designer and a landscape contractor?
A landscape contractor's specialism is to build hard landscaping elements such as walls and fences, lay paving and do other ground works. They rarely have any design qualifications and will expect the client to tell them what they want. Some landscapers have good knowledge of plants but most will not be able to advise on planting as it is not an area of interest.
How much do your services cost?
The cost of the design depends on many things including the size of the garden, the complexity of the design and the elements within it. As a ball park, we charge 10-12% of the build cost of the garden. So, if a garden costs £30,000, our fee will be £3000-£3600. This covers client visits, drawings, a detailed specification and overseeing the build of the garden - in other words, holding your hand from start to finish.
How long does the process take?
A garden design and build depends on current workloads of both the designer and contractor. On average the whole process takes between 3 and 8 months, but you must remember the garden changes and improves with time. Covid-19 has had a big impact on demand, so many landscape contractors are booked up at least 5-6 months in advance.
Can I book in a landscape contractor early - at the start of the design process?
This depends on whether you want to procure 3 quotes from landscape contractors or whether you are happy to use our recommended contractor. In general, we wouldn't advise booking a contractor until you have agreed their quote, which can only happen after the design has been agreed and signed off with us.
Will the new garden have instant impact?
Removal of old paving, fencing and overgrown shrubbery plus any new hard landscaping, and structures will give your new garden instant impact. Please be aware that plants supplied (particularly flowering perennials) will be small when they arrive as nurseries tend to turn over stock quickly. Mature trees and shrubs can be purchased and cost varies depending on the plant's growth rate. For example, a pine tree at 1.8m tall is more expensive than a birch tree of the same height because it grows much more slowly.
Do you have professional insurance?
Yes, Chalcot has professional indemnity insurance.