Linsey Evans Garden Design FAQs
How much does it cost to build a garden?
Building a garden is much more expensive than most people imagine. It is a piece of construction and you should expect to pay as much as you would for a single storey extension to your house or a good quality kitchen.
A minimum budget for even a small garden will be around £30,000. This figure is for the construction of the hard landscaping only, and could include one or more paved seating areas, a pergola, some raised beds, a lawn with a hard edging, some built-in seating and planted borders. The larger and more complex the garden the higher the budget. If the garden is on a sloping site and retaining walls are required to create flat areas, the budget will be more as the construction of walls is a major cost element.
What is a typical garden design fee?
There is no typical garden design fee. Each project is priced on how long the designer believes the work will take to complete. However, expect to pay the same kind of fees you would pay an architect to design an extension to your house.
As a rough guide, the design fees for a smaller project will be around 10% of the total budget for the project, and this percentage goes down on a sliding scale as the budget increases. Expect to pay fees starting at £1500 + VAT for a small garden design.
Can a garden be built in stages?
Many gardens can be implemented in stages which allows for construction to take place when budget becomes available, but this approach depends on the access to the site.
Clients usually want to start with the piece around the house. However, staging of the build will not be possible if the rest of the garden can only be accessed via the completed part of the garden. Heavy machinery will damage the work already completed.
Do you do the construction as well as the design?
I do not employ my own landscaping team. However, I have relationships with independent landscape contractors who I have worked with over many years and know their work is great quality.
I will put forward one or more of these contractors to quote for the landscaping and clients will then employ them directly. I then work alongside the contractors as part of the landscaping team to make sure the garden is built correctly and any errors are spotted and corrected as the build progresses.
Why do we need all the plans?
Garden design is a process that starts with the visual/conceptual aspect which identifies how the garden should look.
The technical plans – construction plan, setting out plan, written specification – refine that design into a set of detailed drawings that tell contractors exactly how the designer expects the garden to be constructed. This removes the margin for error and ensures the clients get a garden of the highest quality that will last for many years.
Where do you work?
I work in a wide area around my home in Berkshire, including Surrey, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, and London.
I have completed projects as far away as Swindon in Wiltshire, and St Albans in Hertfordshire. I am currently undertaking a project in Hastings, Sussex and looking at other projects in Cornwall, Essex and Devon. I am happy to travel anywhere in the UK or abroad for the right project. My CAD system allows me to work remotely, and exchange plans easily with clients and other project professionals like architects and planning consultants.
How long will it take from initial consultation to project completion?
Typically a project will take around a year from initial consultation until the garden is finished. This is why clients are advised to get the plans prepared well in advance of when they want the garden to be built.
A good designer will be in demand and is usually booked up for at least 2 months in advance, and will not be able to start work immediately. Likewise, good contractors will also be booked up for at least two months, more in the busy Summer months. The design process is usually iterative, with discussions taking place between clients and designer and can take up to a month to arrive at the final set of plans. Then there is time required to get quotations from contractors which can take up to two weeks. The build itself will take anything from 6 weeks to several months, or longer depending on the size and scope of the project.
Do you provide a project management service?
Some clients prefer to take the plans and oversee the work themselves, but a project is always more successful if the designer is involved at all stages. However carefully detailed the plans, mistakes and misinterpretations can happen and these are always expensive to put right. The designer can often pick up any mistakes before they happen.
I will oversee a project, carrying out regular site meetings with the client and contractor to discuss any issues, make changes to the plans and prepare additional details for garden elements if needed. This is a service that I charge for at an hourly rate including travel time as well as time spent on site. Clients can specify a maximum number of site visits before the build starts so they know how much the service will cost and don’t get a surprise when the final invoice is submitted.
Can the planting be low maintenance?
Any planting will require some maintenance, even a simple hedge requires regular cutting to keep it in good shape and maintain its size.
Carefully designed planting can be low-maintenance. Shrubs will need pruning once, or twice a year. Grasses can simply be cut back in the late Winter, and perennials (plants that die back each Winter, but grow again the next year) will need cutting back when they die off and occasionally dividing if they get overgrown. If borders are planted reasonably closely so that no earth is visible then the weeds will not have a chance to grow and weeding will only be necessary in the Spring and Autumn. A good layer of mulch will also help to keep weeds at bay. If you are investing in your garden, and do not have the time or inclination to maintain the plants yourself, find a good local gardener to work a day every couple of months. It’s a small price to pay to keep your lovely new garden looking great.
Can we use our own contractors?
I am happy to work with any contractors as long as they are capable of building a complex garden and working to a plan.
However, I would always advise clients to use dedicated landscape contractors rather than the house builders. Landscapers specialise in building gardens and their experience is invaluable in getting a project completed accurately, sourcing the correct quality of materials, and working to a budget.
What is the purpose of the 3-D model and visuals
It is very hard for most people to visualise a garden from a 2-D plan. The 3-D images show exactly how the garden will look when it’s completed. This allows clients to make sure the design meets their expectations before they part with a significant amount of money.
Although the preparation of these visuals is an extra expense I believe it’s well worth the investment to make sure you’re getting what you want, if you don’t like the garden when it’s finished it too late to change your mind.
Areas covered locally include
Ascot, Sunningdale, Sunninghill, Woking, Wokingham, Reading, Caversham, Peppard, Henley-on-Thames, Wallingford, Virginia Water, Weybridge, Cobham, Chobham, Bracknell, Windsor, Eton, Gerrards Cross, Chalfont St Giles, Penn, Esher, Egham, Finchampstead, Camberley, Crowthorne, Guildford, Farnham, Hindhead, Maidenhead, Sonning, Marlow, Amersham, Beaconsfield, Great Missenden, Chesham, Kingston upon Thames, Richmond upon Thames, Twickenham, Eversley.