- What’s the difference between a garden or landscape designer, and landscape architect? A garden designer designs gardens, that is, mostly plants and lawns, which is often called soft construction. A landscape designer will include hard construction such as decks, pathways and fences as well as soft construction in their design. A landscape architect tends to work on larger civic projects, having spent more time at university studying these areas. Both landscape and garden designers are more likely to have had more hands- on experience than landscape architects.
- What can a landscape or garden designer do for you? Firstly, they should listen, then listen and then listen! If there is a couple, both need to express their point of view. Some of my clients who are couples have come to me at their wit’s end when trying to decide among themselves what to do with their landscape garden. A fresh pair of eyes and good solid design principles can help immensely.
- Client wish list: a designer needs to work out the clients wish list which can include things such as wanting a vegetable garden, a courtyard area for entertaining, preferring native plants and so on.
- Three factors to consider in landscape design : there are three factors to consider when designing, that is, function, aesthetics and budget. Function means the plan has to work. Aesthetics means it looks nice, while we all know what budget means
- Budget- many clients don’t have any idea of what a job will cost. Their wish list may need drastic pruning as a result!
- Site factors- the size of the section, whether it is flat or sloping, and existing features like services and trees all need to be taken into account.
- Climatic and soil factors – you need to consider the prevailing wind, amount of light, whether there are frosts, and what type of soil you have. For example, is it a free-draining sandy soil, or a heavy clay soil that gets very wet in winter?
- Solutions: once these factors are taken into account, you can start looking at solutions. For example, if a flat area for entertaining is wanted, but the section is on a steep slope, a solution could be a deck.
What’s the advantage of a landscape plan?
A landscape or garden designer should provide you with a plan drawn to scale. This means measurements and quotes can be worked out from the plan. A concept plan will show you what the garden layout will be like, including hard surfaces such as paths, and soft features such as plants and lawns. A planting plan will show which plants go where. Construction details show how structures like walls and decks are built, and may involve engineers plans.
The good thing about a plan that has been completed with your input is that it can be implemented over time, as the budget allows. The important thing is that the whole garden has been considered, rather than taking a piecemeal approach.