leindesign.ca
a brief lesson in the design process...

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Stage 1 - The Initial Garden Design Consultation

The initial garden consultation stage of your professional garden design involves assessing the garden from a design perspective and consulting with you about any landscaping ideas and design suggestions that you might already have for your garden. This involves paying you an initial visit which enables me to consult with you and discuss the matter in person. Visiting the garden itself is also extremely important as it allows me to ensure that any design we eventually agree on is going to be practical and logistically feasible.

During this garden consultation I will discuss the various design options available to you based on my initial viewing of your garden. My gardens design ideas are infinitely flexible and can therefore be tweaked, adjusted and tailored to suit the land available and your own tastes and preferences. I design gardens of all types, so regardless of whether you want a simple minimalist design or a plan that is far larger and more complex, I will be able to accommodate you without difficulty.
When we have discussed and defined how you would ideally like your garden to be designed (including any particular plants that you want to incorporate) I can then calculate the likely costs involved and provide you with an estimate for the design services required. On smaller projects I am also happy to simply design, overhaul and replant, or even just provide an hourly or daily consultation rate, as you prefer.

As any garden designer will tell you, foundations are vital to the success of any project, and the same principle applies in the world of professional garden design. By the time we have completed the initial garden consultation , we will have laid vital creative foundations which will enable us to proceed confidently to the next stage...

Stage 2 - Professional Garden Design Survey

The professional garden design survey takes place after the initial garden consultation where we discussed how you envisage your new garden. The professional garden design survey allows me to take the information from the previous consultation and work on the details.

First, I will need to measure up the site so that I have an accurate and detailed record of the dimensions of your garden. Professional garden designers work in a similar way to architects, drawing up plans to scale and as precisely as possible. In most gardens I will carry out the survey myself. However, if the site is large or complex I will recommend the use of a chartered land surveyor.

Measuring your garden helps to ensure that all aspects of the design will look exactly as they should when the design I create is made real. I will also take a detailed inventory of all the items that are already in your garden, noting what features you would like to remain and be incorporated into the new design.

At this point a further consultation will take place. It is extremely important that you feel free to communicate openly with me during the whole process. My aim is to design a garden that you will be absolutely delighted with, so please do enter into the process as fully as you can as this will assist me in creating a design that suits you perfectly. Any elaborations that you care to make can be accommodated at this stage.
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Stage 3 - Garden Concept Plan

With the information gathered and agreed on during the consultation and garden survey stage, the next step of the garden design process is for me to draw up an outline design. This is a basic design, which incorporates the main elements we have identified as being important, and provides us both with a good idea of how your professional garden design will fit the garden space.

Once again, we discuss the concept plan as fully as necessary to ensure that you are completely happy with the direction we have adopted, and we then proceed to the fourth stage of the garden design process.

Stage 4 - Detailed Layout Garden Plan

Whereas the concept plan was a basic outline design of your new garden landscape, the detailed garden layout plan is, as the name suggests, a highly detailed plan which illustrates exactly how the new garden is to be laid out and built.
Every structural aspect of the design is included and drawn to scale (the detailed design plan will show key plants and structural planting, but not itemized plants - these come in the next stage), so the detailed garden layout plan is primarily a technical document. However, by talking you through this visual representation of your new garden I will be able to help you understand it with ease. This turns the technical layout plan into a springboard you can use to imagine every detail of the completed garden in advance.

Because the detailed garden layout plan is so exact and precise, it provides contractors and others with the relevant information they need to give you accurate and competitive quotes without any guesswork. I provide all of my clients with basic construction notes so that they can arrange for suitable contractors to carry out the work required. If requested I can also provide a list of recommended contractors that have proven to be reliable for my clients in the past. I can even supervise the actualization of the layout plan should this be required. And of course, if you wish to carry out the work yourself this is also a possibility.

With the detailed garden layout plan completed, I can - if required - provide a computer generated 3D walkthrough of your new garden before it is actually built. This gives you the most immersive presentation possible of your new garden design.
When the layout plan is complete, we are now ready to proceed to the next stage and create a planting plan and schedule.
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Stage 5 - Detailed Layout Garden Plan

Although the detailed garden layout plan will show key plants and structural planting, no garden design is ever complete until all of the required plants have been itemized and located on a planting plan. This is a separate blueprint-type document which shows exactly where each plant will be positioned. The planting plan is accompanied by a plant schedule which provides all of the textual information required, including the botanical names and quantities of plants required.

There is a lot to consider when creating a planting plan. I will go through all of this with you in some detail in person, but the main areas of consideration are as follows:

Colour - The colours of the plants we include in your garden design will set the tone of the garden as a whole. Imagine the difference between a garden bursting with reds, oranges and yellows and one populated by blues, greens and lilacs. All sorts of colour schemes can work well, so we need to consider the possibilities carefully.

Texture - The textures of the plants in your garden are also important. Textures can be smooth, rough, prickly, velvety and more, and the way these textures are combined can have a big impact on the way your garden looks as well as feels.

Form - When we consider form we are considering the three dimensional impact of shape and volume on the garden. Our aim to is to find an attractive and satisfying balance between the way a garden looks from afar and the way it is experienced up close when sitting in or walking through it.

Scent - The olfactory senses are extremely sensitive, and we can choose plants to create rich tapestries of scent that perfectly compliment the visual and textural design of the garden.

Seasonality - Our final main area of consideration concerns the seasonality of the plants we use. The aim here is to ensure that the garden is attractive and pleasing all year round, whilst incorporating seasonal plants that provide variety with the natural cycle of growth and bloom.

When we have created a planting plan and plant schedule, we can progress to the sixth and final stage of the garden design process.

Stage 6 - Garden Landscaping Sustainability

The design for your garden is now completed, and it is time to start the garden landscaping process itself and make the garden design a reality. I will of course recommend preferred contractors to carry out the garden landscaping work required, though you may wish to appoint your own or even build the garden yourself at your own pace. Whichever choice you make there are a number of additional services that may be required.

Landscaping Details
Certain bespoke details on the garden design, such as water features or Pergolas, will need to be drawn up separately and accurately to a larger scale in order that these particular garden features are built exactly as you and I would like.

Landscape Specification Documents
A detailed Landscape Specification Document lists every detail of the garden landscaping requirements, such as full specification of hard landscaping materials, construction methods and details. It allows different contractors to quote exactly for the job in the knowledge that they are working to the same specification.

Project Management
However you decide to carry out the garden landscaping, I can if required supervise and oversee the entire process. This would allow you to sit back and relax, confident in the knowledge that any queries on the garden design or implementation will be quickly resolved and that all of your expectations will be met.
Should you require garden lighting and irrigation , I work with qualified contractors who can advise on and carry out the work.

Maintenance
As your garden grows and develops, I can provide a garden maintenance schedule and seasonal advice. If you would like a more regular gardener I can supply or recommend the right person for the job.
As you can see, whilst many other garden designers simply create a design and then leave you to your own devices, I am able and willing to take you right through from start to finish, ensuring your total satisfaction with the completed project. At this stage your garden will be one you can be proud of and enjoy for many years to come.
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One of the best landscape designers in the business!
Molly Spencer