the design process

The design process is a conversation between designer and client. The process goes through several key stages and can take several months to complete:

  • Initial visit and subsequent quote for design. This is a free, no obligation visit to meet you and chat about your garden. We will send you, usually by email, a quote and design brief for the design work as well as our terms and conditions. Our fee will quote for the work below:

  • Survey and site analysis. This is essentially an audit of what already exists in your garden and provides invaluable information on existing planting, materials and topography

  • Concepts. These are proposed layouts that generalise the overall layout of the proposed garden design. Moodboards often accompany concepts to help visualise the atmosphere/style/'feel' of the proposed design. We can provide outline costings for the build and planting at this stage if necessary.

  • Presentation Plans. These are final drawings of the garden design. They are sufficiently detailed to enable landscapers to quote for the work. They are presented alongside:

    • full specifications - these specify general principles of work such as good management, quality workmanship and safety issues, and site cleanliness as well as the more specific application of all materials (e.g. paving, walling) by sizes, supplier and construction method. Soil preparation and planting methods are also included. We can also provide a lighting specification and layout if required.

    • construction drawings - these show visual details of how materials will be used. These are invaluable for bespoke and/or complex features such as a water feature or a feature wall.

    • design intent - this explains, usually visually, how particular details such as how setts in a particular area should be laid out. It is an 'extra' service which most good designers should be prepared to provide to ensure that you and the landscaper are clear about the final look.

    • cross sections which illustrate how soil levels, soil regrading and level changes will take shape. For example, they will often show how steps will tackle soil level changes.

    • Planting layout and plant lists - this shows exactly what plants (by Botanical name) will be planted where.

  • Project monitoring - we will quote for regular visits during the build to ensure that the build is progressing well, meets the specifications of the design and ensures that any contingency can be dealt with efficiently. We strongly recommend that you include this aspect of the design service into your overall costings to ensure the smooth running of your build. We also carry out follow up visits once the project has been completed.

  • Planting up - we will quote to supply and plant up your garden using a team of qualified horticulturalists.


Survey drawing

An essential tool for both designer and landscaper to assess and design your garden for you. It provides all relevant information from topography, boundaries, drains and manhole covers, existing hard and soft landscaping, soil type and existing features.

presentation plan

A scale drawing that presents the design in two dimension. The Plan will include existing and proposed soil level changes and record any dimensional details of new features such as steps, walls and pergolas. The Plan is accompanied by construction drawings, detail drawings and cross sections as well as a full specification for the build and planting which enables tendering for the work to take place, where necessary.

construction drawing

Visual detailing of how a feature will be constructed including materials to be used, relevant dimensions, depth of excavations and sub-bases. 

planting plan

This is a scale drawing that shows the positions of existing and new planting for your garden. It lists plants by their full Botanical name. The planting plan is accompanied by a Plant Schedule which provides quantities, size and planting specifications, supplier details and prices for your new plants.

cross section & design intent

Cross Sections show how the garden will work with the existing or proposed lay of the land. They also illustrate how different heights will work together. They are useful for communicating how steps or features such as pleached trees will look from a side elevation. Design Intent drawings set out clearly in a visual manner how materials should be laid out, for example, how setts should meet at crossover points.


We create moodboards and Pinterest boards to help convey our ideas to you. These really do help to bring the ideas to life. We encourage clients to create their own image boards either on paper or electronically to facilitate discussions. Design is very much a communication of ideas between the designer and the client and visuals are always invaluable.


Plant Maintenance Guide

Once your garden is planted we provide you with your plant maintenance guide. This guide lists and illustrates all your new plants and explains clearly how to care for them through the seasons.

We can also provide hands-on help in establishing your garden through our sister company ‘The Garden Manager Ltd.’ Fully qualified gardeners can provide regular care for your garden to get it established and, over the longer term, to oversee your garden as it matures and evolves. Please contact us via the Contacts Page for further information.