Garden Design FAQs

Here are some of the more frequently asked questions about using a landscape designer but do contact me if you have any other questions or would like help creating your dream garden.

Why should I work with a garden or landscape designer?
A professional garden or landscape designer will have trained in a number of disciplines, including design, garden architecture, horticulture and construction. They will be immersed in the subject, constantly updating their knowledge of products, materials and building requirements. They will develop a design using appropriate products and materials for your particular garden and budget, solving problems creatively. A garden or landscape designer will also add style and flair to the design.

A garden or landscape designer can provide anything from a single onsite consultation to full outline and planting plans. Designers vary in their experience but a qualified landscape designer will take the time to find out about you, your existing garden and your future requirements, and turn this information into a unique design solution that works for you and your family.

A design on paper will enable you to check all your requirements are met before work begins. Combined with a schedule of works, the design plans will ensure that competing contractors will be quoting on the same level of work and that there are no errors in interpreting the design. As a result, a garden or landscape designer can save you from making costly mistakes.

How should I choose a landscape designer?
All garden and landscape designers are individuals with different working methods and styles. You need to find one you feel comfortable communicating with and who will carefully consider what you are looking for in your outdoor space. Most garden and landscape designers will travel a considerable distance, including overseas. In some cases they may provide a remote  service. 

Check how long they have been in business and what qualifications they have. Look at examples of their work and ask if they have tackled any projects similar to your own. At the end of the day the key is trust and confidence – if a designer has little empathy with your ideas, talk to another designer.

Jane is a full member of the Society of Garden Designers and has many years of experience, both in New Zealand and overseas. She covers the lower North Island from Levin and Otaki, through Kapiti and down to Wellington. A  remote service is also provided for other areas.

What are the steps involved in the garden design process?
Please see the process page where you will find full information on the landscape design process. If you do not  find what you are looking for there please contact me.

I have never used a garden or landscape designer before

Many of my clients have been in this position so at our initial meeting I will explain the whole design process in detail.

I have a small garden – is it worth you coming out to see it?
Absolutely – small spaces can be tricky to get the most out of and a well-thought-out garden plan can maximise the space and make it appear bigger.

I only want to change part of my garden
That is not a problem – if you only need a terrace area planned or want to plant up a garden that already exists, I can tailor the work to suit your requirements.

Do you build the garden too?
As a designer my remit is to create plans, schedules of works, liaise with contractors and oversee the development of the design on the ground. I can recommend contractors for various elements that make up the garden design or can work with other professionals to complete the project.

What if I want to do the work myself?
Again – this is not a problem. The initial stages of the design process are the same. I can also recommend contractors to do any parts you do not want to undertake yourself. 

What if I need to build the garden in stages?
Sometimes time or budget constraints prevent the full creation of a garden in one go. The beauty of having a professional garden design is the ability to chip away at it, confident that at the end the garden will form one cohesive space that suits you. You will not have to worry about putting in features that may need to be removed at a later date as you tackle another area. 

What if I do not know anything about gardening?
Having a plan to work to can be a great opportunity to get into gardening and the design will take into account the level of maintenance you wish to undertake, however there is no such thing as a no-maintenance garden, particularly in the first year when plants need help to settle in. I recommend a visit after six months to check on development. 

Do you have a particular style of design?
I pride myself on being able to take your wishes and tastes and create a garden design to suit. My design philosophy is to keep solutions simple to maximise the wow factor. I will steer clear of gimmicky features, instead preferring to create features that fit with the style of the design.

I am trying to sell my house but I think the garden is putting people off. Is there anything that can be done?
I provide a range of services for garden staging. It is well known that the first impression is critical in selling a house and a single consultation can provide suggestions to make sure the front garden is welcoming and draws potential clients to the front door. I can also review other outdoor areas and make suggestions based on the level of work you want to consider.

How much will a design cost?
This can vary tremendously according to the size and complexity of the design. After our initial meeting I will be able to provide you with a written quotation for the design work required.

How long will it take to get a design done?
This will vary considerably depending on the size of the garden and the level of work to be done. If you are thinking about developing your garden, talk to me as soon as you can. Depending on workload, a professional garden or landscape designer can have weeks of existing work on the board. Once plans are developed and approved, quotations can be obtained from landscape contractors. Please remember a good contractor will also have plenty of work on his books and require a few weeks lead-in to start your project. 

Do you supervise the building project?
I am happy to oversee the development of the garden project. I can recommend landscape and specialist contractors or work with other professional landscape contractors you may know. This can ensure the design is developed according to the plan and any problems can be resolved without stressing the garden owner.

Do you only work in private gardens?
Not at all. Although the majority of my work is private gardens I also undertake design work for schools, restaurants, hotels and commercial spaces.

What about maintenance?
I recommend I visit after six months to check on development. I can also provide an after-care schedule to help you maintain the garden or recommend a garden maintenance team.  

How do I find a contractor to install my garden?
The best way by far is by recommendation. I work with a range of experienced landscape and specialist contractors and can recommend the appropriate ones for your project. You may have friends or family who have used someone too. Ask to see examples of their work.