Full garden design service by Gillian Sandham.

Full garden design service

Whether you want to install a new garden, or renovate an existing one, I provide a comprehensive design service which includes:

An initial meeting and garden design quote.

The purpose of this first meeting is to initiate discussion on the changes you have in mind, and to allow me to get a clear picture of the existing garden, and what you hope to achieve from a newly designed garden. We can then create a design brief to capture the ideas discussed, including an idea of your budget.

I will talk you through the design process, show you my portfolio of work, and take photographs of the garden. Some clients like to show me ideas which they have seen in gardening books and magazines so that I have plenty of feedback on what they want to include or want to avoid. But don't worry if you haven't any clear thoughts on exactly what you want, or how much you might need to spend: helping you define this is part of my job.

I will write to you shortly after this first meeting confirming the brief, my design fee, and my terms of engagement. The design fee will be dependent on a range of factors including the size, location and complexity of the site, but prices can start from around 500 for a small garden.

A survey of the garden

Once you have approved the fee in writing, I will arrange a survey of the garden. This involves taking accurate measurements, noting changes in levels, and also identifying problem areas or any existing features and views that may need to be enhanced or hidden.

This may take several hours depending on the particular garden, but is invaluable in making sure the final plan is workable. Occasionally, I will need to recommend the services of specialists, including structural engineers, architects, or land surveyors. Their fee is payable directly by you.

An Outline Plan showing the new design

Once I complete the survey, an initial Outline Plan for the garden can be drawn up. This will show the new features and layout of the garden as well as indicating which materials are to be used. I will also include any sketches or drawings needed to help you visualise the finished design. I will present the Outline Plan at a second meeting (usually about a month after my initial visit, depending on schedules). This is an opportunity for you to look at the design in detail and ask any questions you may have. You may want to live with the plans for a week or two - there is no rush to finalise matters if you need time to reflect.

Once the plan is finalized we can proceed to the next step. As well as the final plans I will send you any necessary construction drawings, and possibly a scope of works to send out to contractors.

Any changes to the plan

Under most circumstances I am more than happy to make minor amendments to plans, and these will be within the original fee. However, if you have had a serious change of mind, or there are unforeseen circumstances for which I could not plan, then I will charge my usual design rate of 75 an hour for amendments.

A Planting Plan (priced separately)

Although the final Outline Plan will indicate the general style of planting envisaged, it is vital that a detailed plan showing exact locations, sizes and quantities of all plants is drawn up.

This planting plan will be quoted for separately as its cost is dependent on the planting area, and the style of planting required. It will be accompanied by a detailed Plant Schedule listing all plants by type, variety and pot size so that you have the correct information for nurseries and contractors.

The building of the garden (contract management)

There are several approaches to this and I can work in whichever way suits you.

Some clients already have a contractor in mind, or intend to do the work themselves, while others will need to find someone to build their garden for them. In the latter case I can reduce your potential workload by putting the work out to tender on your behalf. In these circumstances I will ask for competitive bids from 2-3 contractors. As I am completely independent from the contractor I can act effectively as your representative on site.

Alternatively, you may decide to have the garden constructed in stages. I can help you in planning the best way to divide the work so you gain the most from your garden as quickly as possible.

Good quality plant supply

I am able to source high quality plants or make recommendations to your contractor. These can then be planted by you, or by the contractor. As these are purchased from trade suppliers this equates to a significant saving for you.

Maintenance schedules

I can provide a detailed but easy to follow month by month maintenance schedule specifically tailored to your garden. This schedule can act as a guide for both the novice and the more experienced gardener, or it can be used in conjunction with a garden maintenance firm to help keep your garden looking its best.

Ongoing support

Gardens change over time. For example, nearby trees may grow, and over a period of years what was once a sunny area of the garden can become drier and more shady, or an extension to a neighbouring house may mean you need more privacy. I can help you with ideas for the continued development of your garden.

Take a look at some of my recent design projects.

A survey of your garden.
Outline plan of the new design for your garden.
Making changes to the original design
The planting plan for your new garden
Building your garden and contract management