garden design faqs image 1At North Leeds Garden Design we understand that you will have lots of questions about having your garden designed.

We have listed below the ones we’re asked most often. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Our Garden Design FAQs

  • Q1. Why do I need a garden designer? +

    The role of a garden designer has many similarities to an architect: we are there to develop plans which are both practical and aesthetically pleasing to the client.

    A good garden designer will transform your garden space into something which suits your needs and meets your budget. They will:

    1. 1)   Offer you ideas that you've not considered for yourself, and give you creative input based on years of training and experience

    2. 2)   Resolve problems in the garden: such as deciding on the best place for a new patio; selecting plants which will thrive in your soil; overcoming issues such as slopes, drainage or being overlooked by a neighbouring house

    3. 3)   Maximise the sense of space in the garden, and ensure the right balance between hard landscaping and planting; balancing form, colour and texture within a cohesive design

    4. 4)   Develop beautiful planting schemes which enhance your property, offer year-round interest and are straightforward to maintain.

  • Q2. What are the benefits of having my garden professionally designed? +

    Having a well-designed garden has many benefits:

    1. 1)  Your new garden will be developed to meet your specific needs - whether you need a space for tranquil relaxation, a man shed, somewhere safe for the children to play - or something completely different! - you choose!

    2. 2)  A design will ensure you are making the best use of the space available. Part of it can even become an additional living area if you wish.

    3. 3)  You will have a garden which meets your needs and doesn’t need to be constantly tinkered with. So you will feel relaxed and at ease when you are in it, and able to enjoy it.

    4. 4)  You can be confident that your new plants will thrive all year round with minimum attention. This is because they have been chosen to suit the conditions as well as to meet your wishes.

    5. 5)  Being involved in the development of your plans enables you to have plenty of time to consider exactly what you want from your garden space. Once completed, the plan enables a variety of technicians (landscapers, electricians, horticulturalists, etc) to work successfully together to build your garden.

    6. 6)  And not least it can increase the value of your property – especially if you’re expecting to move again in the future. “If a garden is well kept and designed, it's a real plus," says Jan Hytch, president of the National Association of Estate Agents. "It makes the property stand out and people would probably pay more for a really well-designed garden. It might add from 5 to 10% on the price of a house.”

  • Q3. Why choose North Leeds Garden Design? +

    North Leeds Garden Design (NLGD) is an experienced duo of trained garden designers. Sarah Johnson established the business in 2007 having achieved a RHS level 2 in Horticulture and trained in Garden Art and Design at Leeds Metropolitan University. Sarah has been joined by Annabel Bridge who has a BA Garden Art and Design from Leeds Metropolitan University.

    We are both members of the Society of Garden Designers and regularly receive continuing professional development through them. SGD is the only professional association for garden designers in the UK and is dedicated to supporting, promoting and maintaining the highest quality of standards within garden design.

    We have been designing lovely gardens and borders in North Leeds and beyond for many years and our in-depth understanding of the local environment - such as the notorious north Leeds clay soil - enables us to be really confident about the advice we offer and the planting choices we make for you. You can see some of our more recent projects here.

    NLGD is different from other garden designers as we focus so strongly on understanding and meeting your requirements. This is why we have developed our unique Garden Questionnaire, which helps clients clarify what they are looking for from their new garden. We like to work very interactively with our clients through the development process, building on our understanding at each stage, so that you receive a design that really meets your needs. As a small company, we are always keen to ensure our communications are clear and that we help you to be comfortable with the design process.

  • Q4. What are North Leeds Garden Design gardens like? +

    Our gardens respond to the aesthetic of the house and surrounding neighbourhood. We focus on providing a strong, practical but restrained structure to our gardens through the sympathetic use of hard landscaping.

    Our planting is joyful, vibrant and has a strong connection to the natural world. We particularly enjoy including edibles in the garden. We love adding a richness of planting to overlooked areas - especially fences, walls and trees. And we have made it our mission to ensure that our borders include something for every season!

  • Q5. What does the design process involve? +

    Briefing Meeting

    This first meeting is to establish your ideas, needs and budget and will involve a walk around your garden to discuss any problem areas, the potential of the garden and any ideas you have on how you would like the garden developed. At the meeting it’s also useful if you can share with us any photos, pictures or Houzz or Pinterest mood boards of gardens you like, and to have considered materials, plants and garden styles that you like or dislike. Clients find it helpful to complete our Garden Questionnaire before the meeting, as this will help you clarify what you are looking for and your priorities for the garden. We make a nominal charge of £75 for this initial meeting, but this is refundable against the cost of your Masterplan

    Following the meeting we will develop all the information from our discussion into your Proposal and send it to you for your approval, along with our fee quotation and Terms and Conditions of the contract. We are then ready to begin the development of your design.

    Site Survey and Photographs

    When you are happy with the Proposal we will visit your garden to take detailed measurements of the garden boundaries and features and spot heights to produce a scaled plan of your existing garden as a basis for the design plans. The designer will also make a detailed photographic record of your garden and examine the character and setting of the garden; views – good and bad – and screening requirements; the aspect and microclimate; soil type and drainage.

    Concept Diagram

    We will develop our initial ideas in response to your Proposal brief and the site survey and analysis, and then present and discuss these with you at the concept meeting. The concept itself will be shown as a draft hand drawn diagram and explores the layout of the garden without going into great detail. Typically it will identify the key areas of your garden by function and target: hard landscaping, planting, garden fittings. We will normally also show you a mood board to illustrate the kinds of features, plants and structures we are considering for your garden.

    Masterplan

    We will prepare a final drawing developed from the concept diagram and the shared discussion. The plan will be drawn to scale in ink and show the detail of the proposals such as positions of proposed paths and paving, walls and fencing and the extent and character of the planting (not individual species at this stage). It will be accompanied by notes to explain the plan further and provide technical detail on materials and structures. Our plans are hand-drawn to scale; we do not use computer-aided design.

    Detailed Design and Specification

    In some cases it may be necessary to prepare construction details for features such as ponds, pergolas and steps. We can also provide a detailed build Specification of Works if you are considering going out to tender for your garden build.

    Planting Plan

    We will develop a detailed plan of all the new planting in the garden once the Masterplan has been agreed with you. This is a scale drawing showing which plants will be set out where, showing the position by individual plant species. All plants will be appropriate for your soil conditions and aspect. North Leeds Garden Design are experienced horticulturalists and so we will also provide you with a quote for providing plants, planting and mulching.

    Pricing and Implementation

    We have a preferred landscaping company who are adept at appraising our plans and who understands the high quality of implementation we expect. They deliver high quality work for a competitive price and are especially well-regarded for their beautifully-finished paving. They will provide you with a fixed-price quote for installing your new garden based on the agreed Masterplan.

    Project Management

    We will conduct project inspection visits at appropriate intervals so that you are informed of how things are progressing with your contractor(s) during key points of implementation, and to check that your garden is being built according to the design.

    The exact number and timing of these inspections is based on the complexity of the garden being built, and therefore we will be able to give you the fee for these once we have an agreed Masterplan.

    If you wish we can also carry out project liaison, which enables more frequent and detailed communication, helps resolve any design implementation issues which may arise with your contractor, and helps projects run more smoothly.

  • Q5a. What does a new garden cost? +

    Unlike a new car or house purchase, few of us have a clear idea of costs for a new garden. So we suggest to clients as a very rough guide that the total design and build cost may be in the same region as the cost for a new kitchen.

    Many people view the cost for a well-designed garden as an investment in the value of your home – but with the added bonus that it is something which will also give you pleasure over many years.

    Not everyone needs a full design, so we will discuss what you need with you and give you a specific quote for your design as part of the proposal, we will send to you following our initial meeting with you.

  • Q5b. How much will it cost to design my garden? +

    FAQ 5 explains the detailed process required to develop our bespoke garden designs – from conducting and drawing up the initial survey to concept drawings, then a detailed scale Masterplan with notes, and finally separate border planting plans. It usually takes several months, and at least 30-50 hours work, to develop and finalise a design, although this does depend on the size of the space and complexity of the requirement.

    Our fees for developing a new design, whilst considerably lower than similar professions such as architects, are commensurate with the levels of skill and knowledge required. The cost for a complete garden design will vary according to size, complexity (for example varying levels or complex drainage) and the kind of effect you are looking for. It will cost upwards of £2,900 for a survey, concept and Masterplan.

  • Q5c. How much will it cost to build my garden? +

    As part of the design stage we will look carefully at how best to match your budget with your aspirations for your garden, so that we can develop a shared understanding of your key requirements and priorities.

    Building your new garden will normally fall into two parts; hard landscaping and soft landscaping.

    If we are developing a Border Design for you rather than a complete Garden Design, you will just be looking at costs for soft landscaping. As well as the costs of the plants themselves this will usually include other materials such as compost, soil improver and mulch, and perhaps other items such as tensioned wiring. And of course the associated labour costs. Once your Border Design plan has been agreed with you we will provide you with a quote covering all these elements.

    Where your new garden also includes hard landscaping you will receive a Masterplan showing in detail, and to scale, the new garden. It will be accompanied by explanatory notes and, if appropriate, technical drawings so that an experienced landscaper has all the information required to build your garden. Once your Masterplan has been agreed with you, you will be able to obtain a fixed-price quote for the cost of installing your new garden. We can guide you through this tender process; or you may like to use our trusted landscaper Amara Landscaping.

    The cost of installing your new garden will vary depending on thing like:

    1. 1)  The size of your garden, and whether it’s flat or sloping, has good or poor drainage, obstructions such as drains or cables, easy or awkward access;

    2. 2)  The size and extent of the landforming required – for example terracing slopes, installing ponds, plus the resulting waste to be removed from site;

    3. 3)  The size, extent and choice of the new installations to be included in the new design – for example stone or brick patios, paths, steps or walls; wooden fencing, decking, pergolas; outdoor rooms or conservatories;

    4. 4) The amount, style and type of planting required by the new design – trees and hedges, shrubs and flower beds, pond plants and bulbs;

    5. 5)  The decorative items you would like included in the new garden; for example seating, planters and pots, artwork and sculpture.

    Some examples at 2015 prices

    1. 1) A sandstone patio installed would cost around £110 per square metre upwards, depending on the choice of materials and setting;

    2. 2)  A wooden deck installed would cost around £80 per square metre upwards, depending on the choice of materials and setting;

    3. 3) A plant border installed could cost around £70 upwards per square metre.

  • Q6. I just need a border refreshing? +

    We offer a planting design- only service which is less expensive than our full garden design service. This is because we would not be looking at the whole layout of the garden but instead retaining the current outline of the borders. We will then develop a planting design for those borders you would like re-designed. We have a simple fee scale for the design based on the size of the border. As an example, a design for a straightforward 50m square border would cost £1225.

    We like to source the plants ourselves and to install them. So, once you are happy with the design, we will provide you with a quote for installation. This will include soil preparation, plants and labour, and materials such as mulch, tensioned wiring and planters as required by the design.

  • Q7. I think I only need some advice at this stage? +

    We are very happy to visit you to spend some time looking round the space and giving you advice or ideas on any aspect of your garden. For example we regularly advise people about how to overcome problems such: as poor soil; drainage issues; increasing privacy in the garden; making better use of your space; how to get your plants to thrive; and so on.

    We charge for this service at our hourly rate of £65 per hour + travel time £30/hr if over an hour, so you are completely in control of the budget.

  • Q8. Can you include other elements such as lighting, garden art and sculpture, play equipment, bespoke pergolas, etc? +

    Yes, we can help source these and have a network of useful contacts for these additional elements. For anything further we would charge for research at our usual rate of £65 per hour. NB We will usually ask you to contract with the supplier yourself. Fill in our Garden Questionnaire to help you think through what additional items you would like us to consider.

  • Q9. What locations do you cover? +

    We regularly cover locations in north Leeds and Harrogate, and are happy to work across Yorkshire.

  • Q10. How do I get my new garden design built? +

    We have a preferred landscaping company who are adept at appraising our plans and who understands the high quality of implementation we expect. They deliver high quality work for a competitive price and are especially well-regarded for their beautifully-finished paving. They will provide you with a fixed-price quote for installing your new garden based on the agreed Masterplan.

    If you would prefer to go out to tender for your garden build we are happy to guide you through this process. We will develop a detailed build Specification of Works to issue to potential contractors and help you with criteria so that you can select the best contractor for you.

    Once the contract has been awarded we will meet with the landscaping contractor for an initial briefing on site to talk through the plan and give the contractor opportunity to ask questions. Once work has started we may undertake 1-2 further site visits to view progress. Visits after the initial briefing will be charged at our usual fee of £65.

    The exact number and timing of these inspections is based on the complexity of the garden being built, and therefore we will be able to give you the fee for these once we have an agreed Masterplan.

  • Q11. What’s my first step? +

    Just click here to complete our Garden e-Questionnaire. This will take you through the key questions we need to start with, and help you to decide what your priorities are for the garden.

    Once we receive your Garden Questionnaire we will be in touch to arrange your initial briefing meeting with us. We make a nominal charge of £75 for this initial meeting, but this is refundable against the cost of your Masterplan.

    This first meeting is to establish your ideas, needs and budget and will involve a walk around your garden to discuss any problem areas, the potential of the garden and any ideas you have on how you would like the garden developed. At the meeting it’s also useful if you can share with us any photos, pictures or Pinterest boards of gardens you like, and to have considered materials, plants and garden styles that you like or dislike.

    Following the meeting we will develop all the information from our discussion into your Proposal and send it to you for your approval, along with our fee quotation and Terms and Conditions of the contract. We are then ready to begin the development of your design.

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