You’ve decided that you need the help of a garden designer. However, you have no idea what the process entails. You’re afraid that you won’t find quality help, that you’ll pick the wrong person, that the project won’t go as expected, or that their vision won’t fit your budget. Yet you can eliminate all of these concerns by asking the right questions up front. Here are 4 things you should know before you work with a garden designer.
That This Is a Mutual Interview
When you meet for the first time, this is an opportunity for you to get to know the designer. This is also the time for you to share your likes, dislikes and desires for the project. Make sure they know what you want so that they come up with a project that matches your expectations, not their aesthetics. A good garden designer should be able to cater to all styles and not push a client past their comfort zone.
Take the time to go through the designer’s portfolio. These sessions may take hours, but someone who rushes through it isn’t right for the job. Know that the designer may charge for their time, though this isn’t a hard rule. If you feel like the designer isn’t a match, you can go on to the next designer on your list. If they won’t provide references and information on prior projects, reject them as you would any other contractor.
The Importance of Seeing the Garden
Designers may get initial information from you over the phone. However, the garden designer needs to see the existing garden. This allows them to learn about any constraints like the lay of the land, neighbouring buildings that block the light, or views you want to preserve. This is aside from obvious constraints like the size of the lot and your budget. Factors like soil disturbance due to recent construction or erosion might affect the project.
The Importance of Local Expertise
A garden designer should be familiar with the type of garden you want to have installed, whether it is a Zen garden or traditional English garden. However, you should also value local expertise.
If you live in Birmingham or the Midlands, you should prefer a local designer. For example, a garden designer Birmingham will have a better idea as to what plants will grow well in your soil than someone from the other side of the country. This is especially true if you want a low-maintenance garden. A side benefit of a local designer is that they’ll be available to oversee the design project, and they’re available for questions if your plants are in trouble.
Your Overall Goals
Hiring a garden designer may be part of the process of reclaiming the yard once your children grow up and move out. The trampolines and toys are gone, and you want to turn the garden into a beautiful relaxing oasis or a large entertaining area.
Be upfront with your goals for the outdoor area, since this affects the garden design. If you’re renovating the home, consider bringing in the garden designer at the start so that they can work with the other contractors. On the flip side, don’t pay for a massive garden and then add a new structure or work on the utilities. Talk to the garden designer about long-term plans, since it may be best to phase the construction of the garden.
Garden designers and landscape experts are professionals, but they should be interviewed and researched like any other. Know what factors can affect the overall project so that you end up with the garden of your dreams, no matter what that dream may be.