April 24, 2019
Whenever you pay for something, it’s important to know that you’re getting the best you can for the money you’re spending. But how can you tell if the garden designer you’re thinking of hiring is as good as they say they are?
Check their portfolio
There are plenty of ways to gauge whether or not a garden designer will do a good job, the first of which is to look at their portfolio. If you can’t see very easily what they’ve done, then you can’t get a sense of their style; that means you really have no idea what you’re going to get. The first port of call to find a garden designer’s portfolio will be their website, but if there’s nothing there then it might be worth having a look on their Facebook or other social media pages.
If a garden designer is really worth their salt, then their portfolio shouldn’t just include images of finished gardens, but also their designs, some details of the work and before and after shots. If a portfolio is lacking details of designs, then they might be a landscaper – which may be great – but to create a real impact, you should be looking for somebody who can take what’s there, and create 2D plans and 3D images so you can envisage the final piece, and then detail and specify exactly how that garden is to be built in order to make your ideal outdoor space.
Garden design disciplines
Garden designers will generally come from three different disciplines:
So, it’s important to understand what you want. Are you a plant person, do you enjoy getting out and spending time looking after the plants in your garden? Or would you rather spend your time in the garden using and enjoying the space?
One way to think about your garden and the type of garden designer you might prefer to hire, is to think about your living room; do you take enjoyment out of the structure of the living room, making the most of the space available with clear views to the TV and a nice quiet corner to sit, or do you prefer the cushions and the furnishing, taking enjoyment from the patterns of the cushions, the details of the mantelpiece and the colours of the rug?
Garden design qualifications to look out for
A garden designer who is really good at what they do will be a member of the Society of Garden Designers. These people have a track record of producing complete garden designs from planning and designing to costing and fulfilment. Members need to submit projects to gain approval, each project must meet the requirements, and be assessed by a panel of adjudicators. Eugene Hill the founder of Dewlands Garden Design is a pre-registered member of the Society of Garden Designers and is currently working towards his full membership.
“A garden designer should have some sort of formal qualification. There are so many aspects to garden design, it’s a multidisciplinary subject, covering horticulture, architecture, construction, plumbing and electrics,” comments Eugene. “Also, the detailing stage is incredibly important. There’s a big difference, say, between a 2m high retaining wall and a 1m high retaining wall structurally, similarly thinking through drainage to anticipate problems, and working through different ways of constructing the garden to get the right finish and to avoid problems during the build and in the longer term are all important parts of a designer’s skill set. Getting all these things right in the planning phase means we don’t have to make expensive changes during or after the construction phase of your garden. The right garden designer will be able to consider all of this and get it right in the drawings, so that the build runs on budget and on time.”
If you want your visions of a dream garden realised, then it’s important to recruit the best help you can. When looking for the right garden designer, make sure you choose someone with an excellent portfolio with a style that matches your vision, and make sure they know what they’re doing – a relevant qualification can mean a lot!