FAQ

What style of gardens do you design?

We work across a broad range of sites, such as courtyards, small urban courtyards, large country gardens, contemporary-minimalist spaces, classic country cottages and traditional suburban lawn-based gardens.

Is there a minimum or a maximum size garden you will design?

No. We design spaces ranging from the smallest front garden to the largest country estate.

When is the best time to get your garden designed?

We can design a garden in any season, and work throughout the year on different projects. Depending on the time of year you contact, we will advise on the best programme of works right from design inception, through to build completion.

What does a garden design include?

Much depends on which stages you are having carried out. Generally, the first level of the garden design (the Outline Plan) will provide you with a scaled complete layout of all the areas agreed , showing location of all hard and soft landscape surfaces, making suggestions to materials and features. The plan may also include locations of key plants such as trees, hedges and topiary, and comes with a set of written notes which itemise each item and give a description of what that item is or could be. From here, the next stage is the detailed garden design, which provides a full package of drawings from which to quote for the build of the garden.

I’m thinking of having an extension built or am renovating my house and then want to have my garden designed. When should I contact a garden designer?

Ideally, as soon as possible. The earlier we can get on board the better, that way we can prepare the landscape design documentation concurrently with the building works on the house. Once both have finished, the landscaping work can commence, minimising the amount of time between getting your interior finished and finishing the exterior. Often people wait until the house works have been completed before contacting us, and don’t account for the duration of the design and build process.

Can garden designers just come to our property and give us some ideas?

Yes. If you do not wish to commit to any physical design work, we offer a consultation/ advice service where we visit you at the property and discuss the site, giving ideas and inspiration for you to take forward in your own direction. We do charge for this work, on a time/fee basis.

What areas do you cover?

We cover Buckingham- Milton Keynes and sorrounding areas.

How do I appoint a garden designer?

To get the process started, we offer an initial garden design consultation service, whereby we visit you at the property in question and spend some time together talking through ideas and understanding the space and advising on potential solutions. These garden design consultations typically last an hour. We will then return to the office and prepare a preliminary design brief based on the meeting, along with a quote for the first stages of the design process; Site Survey and Outline Plan. This provides you with all the information necessary to start the design process.

What information do I need to provide to a garden designer?

When we first get in contact with you, we will ask for some brief details of the garden and property itself (including a few photos), and what you are intending to achieve. Don’t worry if you haven’t got accurate details of the size – we will be able to calculate that when we visit site.

How many times do you visit the garden?

We may visit site several times over the course of the process. This includes the first garden Design Consultation visit, the Site Survey and any other visits required to produce the optimum solution for that site. We also monitor the garden when construction works are being carried out, to ensure the garden is built exactly as intended.

How long will it take for my garden to be designed?

Much depends on the scale and complexity of your garden design and its requirements. As a rough guide, the initial garden design will be completed in 2-4 weeks. The following stages of the process may take another 2-6 weeks to complete, before a quotation can be produced for building works.

What is the difference between an outline plan and presentation plan?

An outline plan provides you with the general garden layout and feel of the garden. It focuses on spatial feeling and aesthetic intent, but has no detail from which to build from. The presentation plan is the evolution of this, and provides exact details, measurements and specifications of all hard landscaping surfaces, interfaces and features. This plan, along with construction details, can be given to any professionally approved garden Contractor and will allow them to construct your garden successfully.

Why do I need to have garden construction details?

Construction details are an integral part of the detailed garden design package, and specify exactly how to build the elements within a garden. Without the construction details, the design is open to interpretation by the Contractor, and may not end up being built quite as either you or we intended.

Do garden designers make 3D models of the garden?

We can make scaled computer models of your garden design which allow you to see any angle or viewpoint of the design to aid you in getting a clear understanding of the space. This is offered as an additional service.

How much will my garden cost to design?

We take a variety of factors into consideration when quoting for a garden design. These may include the size and complexity of the site, (such as level changes, boundary detail, and existing features) as well as the requirements and aspirations you have for the new garden design. We like to be open and transparent, and our overall aim is to make the process work for you.

Build Cost

How much should I spend on my garden (& garden design)?

Collectively, the three governing bodies of the industry (BALI, SGD and APL) recommend homeowners spend a guideline budget of between 4 and 10% of the current value of the property. This could be higher or lower depending on the property itself and your requirements, and the relative size of the garden to the property.

Construction/ Build

Do garden designers do the build work too?

Yes. We can see the entire design and build process through from inception to completion – that makes the process simple and efficient for you. We may sub-contract some of the build work out to specialists where necessary, but this will be managed by us, so you only deal with our company.

Do garden designers do the planting work too?

Yes. We can handle the plant sourcing, purchasing and installation for you, so you don’t have to.

How long does it take to build a garden?

That will depend greatly on the size, complexity and materiality of each individual project, not to mention the effects of adverse weather conditions. Typically, from start to finish the minimum garden build timeframe is around 4 weeks, ranging up to months and even years, relative to the project.

How big will the plants be when they are planted?

Trees and specimen shrubs are generally planted as semi-mature stock (meaning they will look like trees, not like seedlings). Shrubs and perennials however are generally supplied at small sizes, but take much less time to establish and mature. Hedges have the biggest variation and can be supplied anywhere from seedling to instant.

How long will it be before the planting in my garden starts to mature?

We may offer you a number of options at the build quotation stage for how mature the plants will be at soft landscaping installation stage. This relates particularly to trees, shrubs and hedges where there is a wide range of maturities and associated costs available – so you will have some contribution to choosing how long the maturing process takes. Commonly, gardens  take between 2-5 years to mature, some much longer, some are instant.

Garden Maintenance

How much garden maintenance is involved in a designed garden?

This varies greatly depending on the size of the garden, with particular regard to its planting areas. As a part of the Design Brief, we will ask you roughly how much time you are able to dedicate to garden maintenance; whether it is yourself or a gardener who will be carrying out the work, and we will design the garden and planting scheme accordingly.

Garden Miscellaneous

What is the difference between a garden designer and a landscape architect?

There are many similarities that garden designers and landscape architects share in terms of the principles and design abilities which are employed in day to day work. The main differences are in their training and accreditation, as well as the types of spaces and places which they are involved with. A garden designer might typically work on private gardens, whereas a landscape architect might work on commercial sites. Having said this Aralia have a multi-disciplinary team of fully trained garden designers, and accredited landscape architects, and we work across the full spectrum.

Top tips for designing your garden

There are lots to think about and if you are struggling or want the eye of a garden expert cast over your outdoor space a garden designer can lead you through the jungle! Here are some top tips.

  • Do a Pintrest board to pull together ideas of gardens that you have seen that you like
  • Discover what it is that you want to use your garden for. Is it for entertaining, relaxing, or for kids to play in?
  • Be realistic about what will fit into your garden.
  • If you’ve got a hectic lifestyle keep it simple. Simplicity is the key!
  • Get rid of clutter. Stick with a couple of good natural materials – Old York stone works well in traditional gardens, while contemporary styles could make use of natural hardwood.
  • If in doubt throw it out
  • Strike the right balance – ignoring the natural elements can leave some gardens looking cold and lifeless.
  • Don’t just pick a design that looks good in a brochure – it may not work for you, as every garden is individual.

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