Having first spoken with you on the phone, I would usually then visit you at home. These meetings usually take 1-2 hours, occasionally longer. After seeing the garden, we can then discuss and explore initial ideas and likely costs, and I can also show you further examples of my work. A quote for the survey and design fees follows, and then the real work begins …
An essential starting point is a SITE SURVEY – you may already have one – often I survey the site myself, or arrange the services of a professional surveyor, depending upon the size and complexity of your site. I also make a SITE APPRAISAL ensuring that I fully know your garden ‘warts and all’. I inspect soil conditions/drainage, aspect/exposure, the impact/value of what surrounds your garden, assess existing planting and features, position of services, etc.
Preliminary Plan & Design Concept
A preliminary plan is produced and presented to you at a site meeting, along with sketches and photos to illustrate the mood, style and key features of the garden (this may involve some further consultation depending on the nature/complexity of the project). After obtaining your feedback the concept plan is then drawn up on a computer (CAD) and copies are sent to you and selected landscapers. The project is then ready to move towards the construction phase, where the concept design becomes reality.
This phase comprises many processes, including some or all of the following; detail drawings, specifications, tender documentation, assisting/advising with obtaining permissions/licences from statutory bodies (e.g. planning permission, tree-work permissions, environment agency permits, building control etc). I then assist with selection and appointment of a contractor, and I am on hand help you ensure the design is carried out to the specifications, and to advise and assist as required for the duration of the project.
Planting design is usually finalised during the build phase. Many clients like to be involved with this process, in which case we can plan the scheme and make nursery visits together, should you wish. This is usually a very exciting stage of the project as it draws near to completion.
Plant Supply and Planting
I have good relationships with a number of wholesale nurseries allowing me to supply plants very competitively. I place orders, arrange deliveries, place out the plants in their final positions, and either plant them myself, or arrange the planting for you. Alternatively I am always happy to supply plants for you to plant yourself.
Should you wish, then maintenance plans/advice can be provided. This may take the form of a walk around the garden and the client taking their own notes, or if preferred, written advice can be provided.
I hold Helen entirely responsible for my new-found addiction to gardening. Under her expert guidance I have rejuvenated my garden into something I can be truly proud of. It is now not a case of if, but when, the next project will begin.
Tony Lock, Colchester