Wondering if you should use a professional garden designer to design your garden renovation? If so, you’re on the right track! Using a professional garden designer can be one of the smartest decisions you can make when it comes to adding value to your life and your property, but you likely still have that lingering question, “should I just do it myself?”
We work on garden transformations all day every day, so we’ve seen the real difference our garden design team can make to a project. If you’re still not sure if working with a professional garden designer is right for you, keep reading!
While all of these people may have a part to play in your garden renovation and maintenance, they all provide different roles.
A garden designer is someone who has experience and training in how to design outdoor spaces by hand and with sophisticated digital tools. They understand spatial design and planting design, and often have a deep understanding of what plants work with different soil types and other environmental factors. While not all garden designers are traditionally trained, many have qualifications from the Royal Horticultural Society. They are responsible for the overall picture – they essentially have the same role as an architect in the build of a new home.
A landscaper is someone who understands how to modify the land to create different visuals from a practical aspect. While they often are able to offer design suggestions and know what looks good, their job is to make the design happen – they’ll move earth and water, stones and other hardscaping materials to get the most aesthetically pleasing results.
A gardener is focused on plants and while they can also offer planting design suggestions, they are generally focused on maintenance. They’ll maintain a garden throughout the seasons, ensure hedges and shrubs are trimmed, deadhead flowers, and replace plants as necessary. If you choose to incorporate a significant number of plants into your design or have a large garden, you may find it beneficial to hire a regular gardener to come and do the work you’re not interested in doing so your garden always looks spectacular.
A builder may be used to do any work a landscaper isn’t equipped to do, for example laying the foundations of a garden office. Many landscaping businesses also offer construction services (like ours), but some designs may require the additional help of a builder.
If you are struggling to decide what to do with your garden, working with a professional garden designer can help you brainstorm possibilities and land on an idea or several ideas that will work for you and your garden. Garden designers are able to look at your space and your list of needs and come up with endless variations until you find a design you fall in love with.
If you want your garden to stand out from the crowd and tick all your boxes, but still look like one cohesive design, it’s best to work with a professional garden designer. You may already have various ideas for areas of your garden and pictures of what you’d like them to look like, but it requires skill to create flow from one area to the next.
Designing a garden isn’t easy, even if you have a large flat blank space to work with. If your garden is on an incline, decline, or has an irregular shape, it is often difficult to envision how to work your dream garden into the one you currently have. Fortunately, a garden designer not only has the innate talent to see what can be done with any space, but also the knowledge of what can be done practically and within your budget to get you the design you want.
It’s difficult to design your own garden when you’re guessing how much each element will cost. Even pausing to research costs won’t necessarily give you a realistic idea of costs unless you have professional knowledge of landscaping and garden materials. When you work with a garden designer you can tell them your ideal budget and they can work with you to ensure you get great results with the budget you have.
A professional garden designer will survey your garden, discover its limitations, and then turn them into strengths. They can take a strange narrow corner and turn it into a feature you draw the eye to, instead of trying to hide it. They’ll survey the dimensions, soil type, natural light and shade, how much natural privacy you have (or lack thereof), the style and age of your home, inclines and declines, utilities, accessibility, and natural viewpoints from the house and garden entry points, and more to ensure their design is flawless.
One thing that often surprises homeowners is how much of the design is under the surface and things they’d not think about, like how the land drains. When you’re designing your own garden–and especially if you choose to complete much of the redesign yourself–you’re opening yourself to the possibility of costly mistakes down the road.
For example, if you fail to notice that the rain drains down toward the house but currently drains away underground due to a rise up to your back door, you may find your new patio that’s level with the base of your home is under three inches of water after each heavy downpour.
Simply leveling an area and putting down the paving you desire seems easy enough, but without the right knowledge and preparation, may leave you with a problem you need professionals to fix.
Whether you’re working with our in-house garden design team or an independent garden designer in another part of the country, your garden designer can work with you and act as a liaison between you and the landscaping team doing the work. This will ensure your vision comes to reality and if the landscapers find a problem that needs working around, the garden designer can help you find a solution without seriously disrupting the flow of the project.
Garden designers can ensure the most is made out of your space and that no area is without purpose. When we’re thinking about planning a garden design we tend to think about the finished look rather than putting the purpose first (unless you’ve read our free ebook guide!). However, it’s important to put purpose first in any garden design and then work on the aesthetics after.
How many gardens have you seen or been in that look green and lush but are virtually unusable? You’ll often see this in front gardens – people have to struggle up a narrow path with their shopping or wrangle their bins through a large bush once a week, while the majority of their space is taken up by large shrubs and enthusiastic plants. While it looks lush from the road, the truth is it’s impractical and in a back garden, ensures the space is only something looked at out the window, not enjoyed.
A garden designer can help you:
… all while ensuring that the garden looks most appealing from all the angles you see it from most. Of course, how much you can fit into your garden will depend on the size, but you’d be surprised how much a garden designer can fit in without the garden becoming crowded.
No one wants to spend hours researching all the different materials and plants they could possibly use in their garden to find what’s the best value, most suitable, long lasting, low maintenance, and so on. A garden designer has the knowledge to help you choose the right materials for your needs and design, and the right plants for your design, soil, and desired maintenance level. Not all plants work in all locations or soil types, and so it’s a godsend to have someone who can give you options so you can choose what you like best or leave them to use their expertise.
There’s no denying that a professionally designed garden looks leagues better than anything we can come up with on our own – that’s not to say that every garden designed by the owner looks bad, it just won’t stand out the way one a professional garden designer has designed. Whether a potential buyer currently uses their garden or not, seeing a well designed garden will inspire them and make them more willing to put in a good offer. They’ll be able to imagine themselves sitting outside with a cup of tea on a summer morning or entertaining friends on warm summer evenings, something they likely don’t do enough in their current home.
Have your heart set on a beautiful cottage garden, a traditional rose garden, or a sleek minimalist design? You can work with a garden designer who specialises in or is passionate about that type of design to offer you the best results possible. Some garden designers will be best at designing soft, natural gardens that focus on the use of plants, while others will be experts in hardscape with touches of nature to soften the appearance of hard edges.
Our in-house garden design team knows our landscaping team inside-out, but even if you aren’t in Essex and are thinking of using an independent garden designer, you’ll find they have connections with other companies they like to work with. This often means you get better results, faster results, and a seamless experience. The more you can have the “in-house” experience, the better.
Unless you’re willing to invest in expensive software, the designs you draw up for your own garden will likely be rough sketches on a spare bit of paper that doesn’t give you much of an idea of what your finished design will look like. As you’ll know from moving furniture around in your home, what something looks like in your head often looks completely different in real life. It’s far easier to move a sofa or desk back to where it was than trying to remove a patio or wall!
When you work with a garden designer you not only get the benefit of their expertise so this doesn’t happen, but you’ll usually get extensive sketches and mock-ups so you have a much more realistic idea of what results you will actually achieve.
The best thing to do is to look at portfolios of designers and landscaping companies in your area and find those that are producing work that looks like something you’d want in your own back garden. If you find a landscaping company you want to work with and they don’t have an in-house garden designer, ask them about garden designers they’ve worked with in the past and if they have any recommendations.
If you’re in Essex, you can work with our in-house garden design team to bring your vision to life or create the ideal design for you if you aren’t yet sure what you want. To find out more about how to work with us, click here.