8 Reasons To Work With A Garden Designer

8 Reasons To Work With A Garden Designer

There are many benefits to having your garden designed professionally. Here are just eight reasons to work with a garden designer.

  1. Appointing a principal designer negates your responsibilities within the CDM (2015) Regulations. 
  2. Peace of mind that you are creating a safe addition to your home.
  3. A good garden designer will capture your vision and communicate it to your landscaper.
  4. Help you to navigate and comply with local planning regulations.
  5. Use their vision and experience to make the most of every square centimetre of the available space.
  6. Consider the details that most of us rarely think about, thus avoiding expensive construction mistakes.
  7. Create a design that can be practically built within budget in the space that you have.
  8. Garden designers affiliated with a trade body such as the APL or the SGD are subject to a code of practice and have professional indemnity insurance to protect you.

CDM (2015) Regulations – Your Responsibility As A Homeowner

If this is your first garden makeover, you may be unaware of your responsibilities under the CDM (2015) Regulations. CDM stands for Construction Design and Management. 

The regulations apply to all building work in the UK, including landscaping. Their purpose is to keep everybody safe on site. By everybody we mean, you, your family, visitors to your home, the neighbours, the postman, passers by – even people who are potentially up to no good.

As a homeowner you are legally responsible for health and safety on site during the construction phase. Unless, you appoint a principal designer in writing.

By appointing your garden designer as principal designer, you will pass responsibility to the CDM (2015) Regulations to that designer. Which, in turn, means that you can have complete peace of mind. 

The Principal Designer is responsible for ensuring that the garden is built using suitable materials and construction methods. That way there is minimal risk of injury to the landscapers building the garden and to anyone using the finished garden.

Later in the project, you can appoint your landscaper as Principal Contractor.

Read more on the Health and Safety Executive website.

landscapers at work with a garden designer

Head garden designer at Tapestry Design Studios, Katie Moyes (R) chatting to  landscapers about the outdoor kitchen they are building

Creating A Safe And Valuable Addition To Your Home

It’s no secret that a beautifully built garden can add value to a property and enhance the lifestyle of anyone living in it. But have you considered how a poorly built garden could affect almost every aspect of your life? Physical safety, mental health, and the financial implications of rectifying mistakes are all possible consequences of cutting corners with designers and contractors.

Garden design is more complex than sketching a layout onto a piece of paper and suggesting where to plant your petunias. A garden designer is akin to an architect in that their work encompasses engineering design as well as aesthetics.

When you work with a garden designer, they will consider such things as hydrological flows, drainage, planning restrictions, health and safety, build costs and ongoing maintenance. If that sounds overwhelming, then designing your own garden is not an option for you. You need to hire a professional.

Communicating Your Vision To A Landscaper

Not everybody knows how they want their garden to look. And that’s one reason to work with a garden designer. If you already have a clear vision of how you’d like your new garden to be laid out, you still need the services of a professional garden designer. And here’s why.

When you explain your idea to your landscaper, you need to be 100% certain that they fully understand how you want your garden to be built. And by ‘built’ I don’t just mean what goes where, I mean the technical stuff too. 

How can your landscaper give you an accurate quotation if they don’t fully understand the brief? As a novice garden designer, you may well have inadvertently missed important details such as how to circumnavigate the sewerage pipes, where rainwater is to be directed, the depth of foundations needed for retaining walls and so much more.

If, as is wise, you ask more than one landscaper to quote for the job, how do you know their quotes are like for like? Professionally drawn plans mean that any landscaper should have the same understanding of the brief as you do.

topographical survey of a garden

A topographical survey. This is an important tool for garden designers as it ensures that no detail goes unnoticed.

Local Planning Regulations

Ugh! Planning regulations and building control. Nobody likes bureaucracy but unfortunately it’s there to protect us all. Not just you but your neighbours too. 

A garden designer will have a thorough understanding of local planning regulations and can help you to navigate them. Whether that be tweaking the design so that you don’t need to apply for planning permission, or providing a comprehensive set of drawings to supply planners with the reassurance they need in order to pass your project. 

That garden design fee can save you a lot of headaches in the long run!

Work With A Garden Designer To Make The Most Of Your Garden Space

You’d be surprised at how many features can be fitted into a garden without making it feel cluttered. All it needs is the experience eye of a garden designer. Understanding proportions, perspective, layout and how to create a journey around a space allows designers to make the most of a space. 

This is a really good reason to work with a garden designer – they have a wealth of tips and tricks to make your outdoor space into a practical, beautiful and very usable place. One that you want to spend a lot of time in.

paved garden with stylish lighting

The owner of this tiny courtyard garden was amazed at how Katie, our garden designer managed to make the space look bigger and more inviting.
Read the case study here.

The Devil Is In The Detail

When you want your garden to look fantastic and last for a very long time, the devil really is in the detail. Little touches, like specifying a patio size which minimises the number of pavers that need to be trimmed; not only saves on build cost, it gives you a better looking patio.

Things that you may consider excessively fussy can make a huge difference to the way you maintain your garden. Lawn edging for example. It will define the shape of your garden and save you many hours of trimming edges.

What about the planting? Doubtless you could go to the garden centre and stock you garden with a selection of plants that look fabulous. But will they still look fabulous in eighteen months time? Garden designers are horticulturists too. They know which plants will enjoy the various microclimates in your garden. And they also know what size plants will grow to. Within a year or two, that innocent looking twig in a pot that you bought from the garden centre could easily grow into a monster that steals all the light from your living room. If you are not a plant expert, you will save yourself a lot of money and hassle by investing in a garden designer’s expertise.

Keeping To Your Budget

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your money was never ending and you could build your garden from the most luxurious materials and have every feature you ever dreamed of. Unfortunately, not many people are in a position to do that.

What a garden designer does, is help you find a balance between what you dream of and what you can afford to build.

Yes, you can price up pavers by measuring your proposed patio and looking up prices online. But what about the groundworks, the waste-away, the sub base, the grout and the labour? The price of slabs will be very different to the price of the finished feature.

The garden designers here at Tapestry Design Studios collaborate with landscapers to ensure that our designs can be built within your budget. If it can’t they’ll discuss changes to the layout or the materials that won’t spoil your enjoyment of your new garden.

Finally – The Importance Of Due Diligance When Hiring A Professional

You’ve doubtless heard stories where homeowners have been disappointed with their garden makeover and not been able to get compensation. There’s usually a rogue trader involved. One who has no insurance and not too may scruples either.

The landscape and garden design industries in the UK are not regulated. Anybody can call themselves a garden designer without complying with CDM (2015) Regulations or understanding any of the processes involved in bringing a design to life.

As a client, you need to make wise choices in order to protect your investment.  You need to be able to trust your garden designer and landscaper. Which is a good reason to hire a member of a recognised trade body. The Association of Professional Landscapers and The Society of Garden Designers go above and beyond to ensure that each of their members is capable of very high standards of workmanship. 

Business practice is vetted too. Things like contracts, insurances and complaints procedures may feel like unnecessary paperwork at first, but they exist to protect you. There’s been more than one instance where the client has regretted not having a paper trail in place. 

Thinking of buying a garden? This book, tells you all you need to know about legislation, working with a garden designer, hiring a landscaper, selecting materials and maintaining your new garden. Click here to order your copy of Buying A Garden by Alan Sargent

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