How To Choose A Garden Designer

How To Choose A Garden Designer

We've asked garden designer, Sean Keighran from Creative Garden Design to talk to us about garden design. First of all, why is a design useful? Next - how to choose a garden designer. What are the right questions to ask a prospective designer? How much do garden designs cost? What questions will the designer ask? What information should the homeowner provide? What happens after the design process? What are Sean's personal design likes and dislikes And finally, Sean's top garden design tips

Why Is A Design Useful?

Is a garden design really necessary? What are the benefits?

"The number one benefit of a set of plans is that they reduce ambiguity. The customer knows exactly how his or her finished garden will look. And the landscaper has a clear plan to follow."

"Secondly, a good plan can be phased in over time. If you can't afford to do all the work in one go, stage the work over time."

How To Choose A Designer?

Can you give any advice about choosing a garden designer?

"There's no hard and fast rules, but there's certain skills that a garden designer should have.

  • Versatility
    Get an idea of the garden designer's style. Ask to see photos or sketches of their work. Make sure that their portfolio show a variety of designs and ideas."
  • Horticultural Background
    "Ask whether the garden designer has a horticultural background - especially a knowledge of plants and materials. Practical experience of planting and materials means that they will have the ability to put together the planned garden within budget."
  • Presentation Skills

    "Look at the level of detail in their design portfolio. Can the garden designer measure and draw space accurately?
    In order to communicate their ideas to you, garden designers must have good presentation skills. Most professional garden designers are using AutoCad now. But they should also be able to provide 3D sketches to illustrate concepts."
  • Special Features
    "Some people require very specialised garden features. In this case, the garden designers needs to have expertise to assess if these are feasible"

How Much Do Designs Cost?

How much does a garden design cost?

"The cost of the design really depends on the level of communication needed. Garden Designs cost from €300 upwards. That would include a 2D layout drawing and rough 3D concept sheets.

I will work with the client until he or she is happy with the design. I don't want payment until that has been achieved.

Alternatively, clients can arrange a once-off consultation with a garden designer. That will give you ideas for the potential of your space. Typically, they cost from €80 upwards."

What Should Designer Ask?

What questions will the garden designer ask? What information should the homeowner provide?

"The garden designer will want to find out the following. How do you use your home now? What way would you like to use your home? What lifestyle do you want?"

A garden designer should consider how the house and garden relate to each other i.e. the internal/external relationship. Is it necessary to introduce elements like patio doors or external lighting to make that relationship work.

As well as the functional aspects, the aesthetic aspect of the house will dictate the style of garden.

An indication of the complete budget is also helpful."

What Follows Design Process?

What happens after the design process is completed?

"There's a couple of options here. One option is to retain the garden designer to organise a landscaping contractor and supervise the project.

Alternatively, if clients wants to DIY the project, we can put together a self management project. That's becoming popular in Dublin now. Essentially, the home-owner either builds the garden themselves or directly contracts a landscaping contractor. For a set fee, I will advise the homeowner on a regular basis."

Sean's Design Likes and Dislikes

Do you have any design likes or dislikes?

"I don't like oversized decks which run the entire length of a house. Ideally, the back door of a house should lead to a stone surface for safety reasons, especially for those damp Dublin days.

I like a good balance between architectural plants and soft foliage plants because it's pleasing to the eye."

Sean's Top Garden Design Tips

What are your top garden design tips?

"The garden designer should provide samples of the materials which are going to be used in the garden. Remember that natural stone products have variations, so the actual material delivered may differ from the samples.

Mature plants make a big difference to a garden and it's worth having a budget for them.

If you're renovating your house, it's important to call in a garden designer. 90% of architects will overlook the garden."

pickapro.ie would like to thank Creative Garden Design, for their helpful advice and tips for this article.

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