First off: to save money
"What?" I hear you say.
Well it goes like this: you spend a bit on a well-detailed, well-conceived garden design (well most garden designers charge between £400 -£1,200 pounds for a design. If you are lucky or talented enough designer to have won a few Gold Medals at Chelsea or had you own TV show you probably charge upwards of £1,200 per day for your time).
The thing is, if you have invested money in a good design, you are most likely going to end up loving he scheme when it is finished and it will give you years of pleasure. If it is not well thought out in a masterplan then you could spend far more than the design fee on putting the mistakes right (or even re-doing the schem altogether).
The other things is this: last year I had a young couple come to me for a garden design. They proudly showed me a huge stack of slabs that they had bought in, in readiness with the phrase "we knew they were good cos they were really really EXPENSIVE! ". Well ...NO! Expensive does not equal GOOD! I have some news: CREATIVITY is relatively cheap, compared to acres of the wrong type of slabbing (thats 'flagging' to you if you live north of Birmingham).
You would never try building a house without using a good architect, so why try and build an expensive garden without the garden designer.
Secondly: An Integrated Design
One of the biggest mistakes that people who devise their own gardens is that they over-compartmentalise everything. Example: as a designer I never design a garden with say a lawn over here, a deck over here, some planting over here, etc, etc. I always make sure there is what I call an "Integrated Whole", so that the scheme flows together, it's not always a logical process but one that needs a bit of inspiration.
Time and time again I see the wrong proportion of hardlandscaping vs planting. (OK, a masculine priority vs a feminine one ). If the husband has his way: lots of walling, paving, etc. If the the wife has her way, lots of planting. Getting the balance right is the challenge. Planting is a great 'harmoniser' and will always work best when given a strong structure to work with.
Thirdly: Let's Get Bold
As a designer, I do love raising eyebrows and hearing the question "What?!" when I suggest, for example clearing out some ageing, overmature lavender. Sometimes people get attached to things simply because they have been there for ages, when a good clear out helps create 'an artists empty canvas' and becomes the basis for real creativity.
I love the sharp intake of breath when I suggest, say water in garden or a well thought out,dramatic lighting scheme. I enjoy the process of getting people to 'loosen up' about the idea of change.
It's always a wonderful moment when we have finished a scheme and the client's (or even client's children) start to use their new outside space. I believe that a good well thought out garden can be a great asset to be enjoyed by all.
Labels: garden designer