What if I don't like their work?
Assuming you have seen their portfolio you will know if you like the general style of the designer, so providing they take the time to get a thorough brief before commencing, and providing you are clear about your likes and dislikes with them at an early stage, then it really shouldn’t be a problem.
Good communication on both sides is really key to the success of a project.
I've no idea how much to budget for the whole project?
In my experience people are often loathe to disclose their budget and often vastly under-estimate how much it will cost. When this happens it inevitably leads to disappointment.
My advice is to be upfront with your designer about your budget. They are unlikely to be in a position to give accurate costs at the initial meeting but they will at least be able to say if your budget is in the right ballpark.
Helen’s professional eye has been invaluable to the daunting process of re-designing our large “lost its way” farmhouse garden. Helen is friendly and approachable, and she listened to and interpreted our brief well. We were pleased with all aspects of Helens service, the accurate and comprehensive site survey was particularly impressive, as was her horticultural knowledge clearly apparent in the beautiful planting plan she has designed and for us. Just can’t wait to watch our lovely new garden mature in the coming years.
Marion and Philip Soper, Hadleigh
I’ve never used the services of a garden designer - I’m not sure how to go about it?
The best thing is to pick out three or four websites that most appeal to you and simply make a call/send an e-mail. It is then up to each designer to explain how they work (we all have slightly different ways of working and charging) and whether their services meet your needs.
You will soon start to get a feel for whether they are right for you. All good designers will be happy to provide references and/or arrange a site visit to one of their recent projects.
I’ve no idea how much designers charge?
Both the amount and structure of fees varies widely, so you need to be careful when comparing costs. Check for hidden extras, and make sure to ask if they charge VAT (I don’t!).
As with anything, you tend to get what you pay for, and very cheap design fees should be viewed with a degree of caution.
We started renovating our garden in January 2016. It needed a complete overhaul, it had to be redesigned, with a large amount of hard and soft landscaping and completely new planting. We needed professional help, and Helen made what was a daunting task interesting and exciting. She did a survey herself, and spent time discussing our wants and needs, so we felt she really understood our brief. She’s was always helpful and professional. She introduced us to trusted landscapers, and also to nurseries to source good quality planting. She was able to skilfully combine our ideas with her own, using her previous experience. She introduced ideas and plants that we would not have thought of, and we are really pleased with the results. Although the garden is relatively new, it has matured quickly and sits well in its landscape. It is going to be opened for the National Garden Scheme in 2019.
Mrs R.G., Long Melford