Garden Design FAQs

Here are questions I am often asked – please get in touch with other questions.

Why do I need a designer?

TV makeover programmes make it look easy, but a lot happens behind the scenes. A designer helps you look at your property in a holistic way, to create a more integrated garden using the right materials.

A garden design is an accurate map complete with instructions. You can hand the design to any competent contractor so they can give you a price and build you the scheme.

I just want a new terrace, do I need a new design?

It depends on the scale, complexity and ability of the builder. If it’s a straight replacement, the ground is flat and you know the materials, then you should be able to get quotes. If there are any doubts then a design will give you the protection from things going wrong.

What should I look for in a designer?

Try to find a designer with:

  • flair to get you excited about your garden and how it could change.
  • experience and understanding to know how gardens are built.
  • good knowledge of plants.
  • good problem-solving skills to find appropriate solutions.
  • good coordination to fit your ideas to the site and budget.
  • good listening skills to ensure they understand your needs.

Above all, you want a designer who communicates well, to explain the process, issues, technology and solutions both to you and the contractor.

Why should I choose Veitch Garden Design?

My 38 year’s experience as senior designer with Notcutts and 10 years as a freelance garden designer have given me a range of skills, to blend the innovative with functional design. I have worked with a range of clients on schemes from an Elizabethan Manor to a small city plot.

How do I know I will like the Design?

You can get the best results by going through the process with a designer who listens to your concerns from the beginning and gives you feedback.

How will I know a design will fit my garden?

A successful scheme needs accurate site measurements; part of the cost of carrying out a scheme is the process of drawing up a map. Missing this stage can lead to disappointment, delays and possibly extra costs.

How long will it take?

Depending on the complexity it can take anything from a few weeks to several months. I will advise you on how long a job is likely to take at the start and will try to fit in with your timescales.

Can I short-circuit some of the steps in the process?

Yes, if you want to pass the whole process over to me and only need to be involved when signing contracts and other major stages. However, if you want to be more involved the process can be more of a partnership.

I plan with you how many of the steps we need. We can change the way we work as the process moves forward.

What insurances should a garden designer have?

As a basic minimum you should look for Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurances. In addition to these I work to the Terms and Conditions of the Society of Garden Designers, the professional organisation for the Garden Designers, and those covering the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Horticulture.

What area does Veitch Garden Design cover?

I normally work within 50 miles of the Solihull area. Work outside this area will normally incur additional travel costs.

Do you build gardens as well as designing them?

Not directly – I work like an architect does for those wanting to extend or build a new house. My talents are designing, organising and monitoring the work. I work with contractors who will carry out the work for you. You pay them for the construction and me for the design and monitoring. This means you can still get an independent assessment once the construction work is complete.

Can you give planting plans and / or supply me with the plants?

Yes, I can give you a planting plan to bring out the best in your garden, assuming you are already happy with the general layout. I can also give a competitive quote to supply the plants from a reputable nursery.

Can I afford to have my garden designed?

Appropriate attention to the design stage of the process can ensure that expensive mistakes aren’t made later on. A good design will help you get the right costs from a contractor. With my approach you can even save money by constructing the  garden yourself.

I want to give you a design which works for you at a fair cost. Rather than using a scale based on contract value or garden size, I charge only for the work that you need doing. Prices for a full design service start from as little as £650.

How much should I spend on my garden?

Gauging how much to spend is a personal matter. It can be as false an economy to spend too little as it can be to spend too much. You can treat it in the same way as the rest of your property, allocating a percentage of the value for any improvements. You can decide on your budget and I can advise on what is achievable within that budget.

When you want best value you need to compare like for like, and a good designer will help you get comparable quotes.

How do we keep within our budget?

I can help you prepare the documents you need to get a competitive price for the construction work. If you know your budget at the start we can get a ball-park figure for the garden, based on what is essential.

Once you have agreed the scheme it is important to keep to the brief. Changes at this stage can incur variation charges from the contractor. However, if you are prepared to be flexible about materials and methods of construction this may help keep costs down.

It may seem better to have different contractors to do different parts of the scheme, but failure to control the work may cost you more in the end. A proper plan and specification will help you get a fixed price quotation that includes all costs.

I only want advice. Can someone just visit my garden?

Yes, an advisory visit from Veitch Garden Design will cost from £75 and I offer competitive rates for reports, plant lists, sketches and plans.

Please contact me to find out how I can help you get the best for your garden.