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  • Writer's pictureLynn Cordall

Planning a new garden? Here's the 5 things think of

Its that time of year again, when the daffodils start to show, and (hopefully) everyone starts to think about the patch of neglected green at the back of their house. The Spring rush has started...…..

So you've decided that enough is enough. Its time to utilise that space better. So what do you need to really work out before you contact your Garden Designer of choice (Obviously I think it should be me, I'm pretty good).

  1. Work out what you want from your space. Do you want to entertain? Eat and cook outside? Hide away and relax? Grow your own? Create the ultimate children outdoor space? Relax in a Japanese inspired zen space? Vague briefs and wish lists can be hard to work with. As is changing your mind on key elements half way through the process. This does often lead to more revisions, which does mean more time and more cost. So it really does pay to get the family together and all agree on what you want. I've had extensive written lists, even power point presentations etc... They help. We won't be offended

  2. Think in pictures too. I like to see a prospective clients home as it does give an insight to their style, but it doesn't tell us everything. Look at Pinterest. Create a board of inspirational visuals of what you like and share it with us. Pictures torn out of magazines work too. The more the better. The Designers job is creative thinking and providing solutions, but giving us a strong visual direction gives us a head start. But do let us Design. Be open to discussion. Images of a desert dry garden in Arizona, may be the dream, but hard to achieve in the rainy North West UK climate. I often send out 1or 2 early mood boards with my offer letters to develop even further insight discussions re: style. The boards below where for a high style, contemporary home in Lymm

3. Timely feedback - do engage with the process. We often present you with big chunks of information during the process. e.g. Design concept stage -a pack with suggested design visuals, materials, planting etc...and timely feedback allows us to keep to timescales first discussed for your project. We've found that a week (including a weekend) is usually enough time for our busy clients to get together, discuss and order their thoughts, before feeding back to us. We Garden Designers are a very organised breed. We are often juggling 10+ projects simultaneously , all at different stages of completion. Feedback delays will mean delays to your project.

4. Budget Clarity. A tricky one. I have a rule where I will not leave the first visit without talking about a budget number discussion. When I raise the budget question, the most frequent answer is that "we don't have a clue". What I can guarantee is that it isn't usually enough. There is an industry mantra that says spend 5% of the value of your home and put 10% on its value. Spend 10% and put 20% on the value of your home. That may sound scary, and possibly not always needed. Part of my job as a Garden designer is to help you work out what your budget should be to deliver your wish list. Think of what a new kitchen costs. Its an investment. So is a new garden space. Your garden is often your biggest "room". The right garden space really does add value to your life. Garden Designers like me are post graduate qualified professionals. Landscapers are craftsman. Invest with us and we will transform the way you live.

5. Be realistic on time scales. The best time to start your garden design process is actually Autumn or Winter, so you can get ahead of the Spring rush. However, Spring is here, so what does that mean. All good Garden Designers ( and Landscapers) will be busy. Don't expect them to be able to do you a design the following week, and get a Landscape to start a couple weeks later. We may do a first site visit quickly to discuss what you need, but there will be a lead time. Most of us work for ourselves. Think about where you work. Could that business cope with not knowing from one week to the next where its sales / income were coming from? Neither can we. Back to being organised. We manage busy schedules, that change on a daily / weekly basis, so there will be a lead time involved.

After all this, my final tip is to relax into the process and enjoy. We are here to help. Just look at some of the testimonials on my website and see how a new garden will transform the way you live. Take a look...….a quick before and after of the Lymm project from 2.

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