What and how I charge. 
How much does a garden design cost? 
It’s difficult to answer this with any real accuracy as is depends on a number of factors. First of all though, I wish to be transparent about my charges and then I can explain how these stack up to a fee for your garden design. Essentially I charge by the hour - £60 for design work and £75 minimum for site visits and consultations.  
As laid out on my design page I start with an initial site visit and consultation with you in your garden – in my case this is free. Other designers may charge for this. Any additional consultations are charged by the hour and I will also charge £30 for my travel expenses if I have to travel for over an hour. 
Brief and survey 
After my initial visit, should you wish, I will write a detailed brief summarising our discussion which outlines the points and features you require, as well as any suggestions I might add. This is a useful reference document and I charge £150 for this. I always write a brief once a design is commissioned as this forms part of my proposal to the client. I will then make a return visit to conduct a survey of the garden which may take half a day with an assistant – charges for this range from £200 - £300, depending on the size and elevations on site. If the site is very complex I may ask you to commision a professional surveyor to provide a full topographical survey. These average between £500 - £750. 
Then down to the nitty gritty of producing a plan; this is a time consuming process taking many hours. All my drawings are by done by hand and are fully detailed. I also use Sketchup as a planning tool and can provide simple 3D interpretations of the design which clients find very helpful in visulising the plan. 
There are many factors affecting the amount of time I will spend designing your garden. Size – the bigger the garden the more expensive the design, surely? Well, not necessarily. Yes, it will take me longer to survey but the scope of the design may be relatively simple. 
A small garden on the other hand can be more complicated to design successfully as you may be demanding a great deal of a small site – the design could take longer relative to its size. Levels and features – changes in level and designing steps to accommodate this can add to the time for the design - very much the norm in hilly Devon. Complex features like pergolas and water features for example, can also extend the design process as they will require additional construction drawings. The more detail in the design the longer it will take. 
Construction details 
Details such as ponds, pergolas and steps often require construction drawings or side elevations to show the landscapers exactly how they are to be built; the landscapers will also find these useful for costing them accurately, not to say essential for building them. 
Plants and planting plans 
On my design plans I always indicate the main trees and shrubs as part of the overall design. For detailed planting plans which will be used to set out and position plants on site prior to planting, a separate plan is produced and charges start at £400. 
Project inspection 
Once the design is complete and you have appointed a landscaper to start the construction, you may want to have me manage the design aspects of the project. We can arrange for me to visit the site every week or when necessary, or to source garden artefacts and plants. This would be at my hourly rate plus expenses for travelling. Having your designer make regular site visits is recommended to resolve any issues regarding the design and ensure the build lives up to the plan. 
To be frank, a full garden design, for a small to medium sized project, takes about 20 -30 hours at the drawing board so £1500 is a starting point for a design; additional costs come through consultations, travel time (Devon is Big!) revisions to the plan and consulting and finding suitable landscapers. You may of course just want a small area of your garden redesigned, and a more detailed schedule of costs can be determined once I have visited the site and we have agreed what you require me to do for you. 
Be realistic about your budget 
Your designer will be producing a bespoke design for your site so be clear about what you can afford. Pricing a garden build is the most difficult part of the designer’s job but they should be able to give a rough indication. A landscaper will be able to price the project more accurately from the plan. 
As far as the design is concerned charges and payment schedules vary from designer to designer, so it’s important to have that conversation early in your discussions. A good designer should provide a written estimate of the total costs and explain what the project and payment stages are. Most designers ask for a percentage of the payment once the design is commisioned. 
For a free initial consultation call me on 01805 804 322 or 07772 147 518 – I’ll be happy to help. 
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Garden Designer Devon, Landscaper Devon, Horticultural Consultant North Devon, North Devon Garden Designer. 
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