Employing a garden or landscape designer to design your garden is expensive and it’s not right for everyone.

Do I need a garden designer and is the cost worth the designer difference?

The difference between garden spaces that have been intentionally designed and those spaces that just ‘happen’ can be seen in everything from the hard landscaping, spacial arrangement, balance, proportion and most obviously the plant placement and selection.

Experience reduces waste

Investing in an experienced garden design practice means you’ll avoid wasting money, time and energy on their learning and the complexity of designing, building, sourcing products and plants is frequently underestimated .

How much does design cost?

Expect to allocate around 10% of your build budget to design fees and about 17.5% if you want to include project implementation services as well.  It’s definitely money well spent and we’ve often saved clients a lot of money, providing better solutions which are either more economical or have an extended life expectancy.

We can also advise on other elements of the home and garden too. For example we recently saved a client thousands by selecting a different manufacturer for their greenhouse and even more when we suggested one client change their proposed stone barn for an oak framed building.

Whether or not you need a garden designer depends on several factors, including the complexity of your garden project, your own gardening knowledge and skills, your budget, and your vision for the space. Here are some key points to consider:

 Do I need a a Garden Designer?

1. Complexity and Size: If you have a large or complex garden project, a designer can help manage the many elements involved, such as hardscaping, plant selection, and layout.
2. Specific Vision: If you have a specific vision but aren’t sure how to execute it, a designer can bring your ideas to life while ensuring practicality and cohesion.
3. Expertise: Designers have extensive knowledge about plants, soil types, climate, and sustainable practices. They can suggest the best plants and layouts for your specific conditions.
4. Problem Solving: If your garden has challenging aspects like poor soil, drainage issues, or awkward shapes, a designer can offer solutions.
5. Time and Effort: If you lack the time or desire to plan and execute a garden design, a professional can save you significant time and effort.

Benefits of Employing a Garden Designer:

1. Professional Layout and Design: A designer can create a functional and aesthetically pleasing layout that maximises your space.
2. Plant Selection: They can select plants that will thrive in your environment and complement each other, ensuring year-round interest.
3. Increased Property Value: A well-designed garden can increase the curb appeal and value of your property, although it’s unlikely you’ll increase the value of your property by the same amount that you spent improving it … just like you wouldn’t expect to increase the value of your home by going on holiday!
4. Personalised Space: Designers can tailor the garden to your lifestyle, whether you want a space for entertaining, relaxation, or gardening.
5. Budget Management: They can help you plan and stick to a budget, avoiding costly mistakes.
6. Access to Resources: Designers often have access to higher quality materials and plants, and they can recommend reliable contractors for installation and some have their own in house build teams.

Quality Improvements:

  • Aesthetic Cohesion: A designer ensures that all elements of the garden work together harmoniously.
  • Functionality: A well-designed garden will meet your needs, whether for play, relaxation, or gardening.
  • Longevity: Professional design takes future growth and maintenance into account, leading to a garden that remains beautiful and functional over time.
  • Unique Features: Designers can incorporate unique features like water elements, garden art, and custom structures.

DIY vs. Professional Design:

If you have a clear vision of what you’d like to achieve, enjoy gardening, are happy to learn as you go, then a DIY approach is possibly a good option for you. However, if you struggle to envisage what the finished garden will look like, then a professionally designed space with less effort and potential for mistakes, hiring a garden designer can be a worthwhile investment.

Originally published June 2017 and revised and updated June 2024