The design process

What to expect...

Most people will never have engaged a garden designer before and are uncertain as to what to expect or how the process works. So, here’s an introduction to how I work with my clients to help them get the outdoor space they’ll love. Below is the usual process, but sometimes we skip steps / sometimes we add. Depends on your needs!
If you decide you would like to speak with someone about your outdoor space. Contact me by phone or e-mail (07862 268602 or

The Process

On our initial call, we’ll set a time for us to meet, and I will send you a questionnaire to help set the scene for our initial meeting and get your thought process going. The we’ll arrange a time for our first meeting at your property.
First visit
This is likely to be quite a long meeting, usually around an hour, but can be longer depending on the site / discussion. There is a nominal charge of £75 for this meeting, this cost is deducted from the design cost should you choose to proceed. 
During this visit we will discuss your answers to the questionnaire and, walk round the site and talk about how you will use the space e.g. entertaining, sports, exercise, relaxing, rabbit / pet housing, work…. I will take photographs – with your permission of course. We will discuss likes and dislikes, identify the plants and features that you love, or hate and get to know your favourite styles, colours, plants – and least favourite. We will talk about the time you have to garden, and your approximate budget. This allows me to provide more accurate advice on finishes / plant sizes, etc.
From this visit... 
You receive an e-mail with documentation confirming the requirements, and a quote with Terms and Conditions for the contract. On receipt of the signed contract, I’ll arrange my next visit.
Second visit
Measure site and soil tests (NB You do not need to be present for this, but happy if you are!). This usually takes 2-3 hours.
From this visit...
I create a Base Plan – basically what’s there now / general size and shape of the garden and the location of significant plants to keep or remove and determine potential uses / spaces within the garden. Based on our discussions at Meeting One and your questionnaire, I research plants and hard landscaping materials / features and additional requirements (e.g. outdoor kitchens, sunken firepit areas, or play equipment). I then go on to the development of scaled Concept Drawing and detailed Mood Board (this takes 1-3 weeks, depending on garden size).
Third visit
Presentation of plan; agree and accept, or agree to update
Final hand over
At the final handover you receive a hand-drawn, Concept Drawing for your new garden. This is an annotated, bird’s eye view plan, including plant, paving and feature proposals, you also receive a Mood Board, which will include some suggested planting and landscaping finishes.
On receipt of your concept plan, payment for the design will be due.
Please note: the design remains the property of Special Spaces Ltd until payment has been received and you are not permitted to share the design with contractors at this stage.
I hope this was useful, if you have any questions please get in touch!!

Costs and additional services

Please note, prices displayed here are for small to medium sized domestic gardens. I am more than happy to discuss larger gardens, sponsored show gardens, wellbeing or commercial spaces on an ad hoc basis. 

The engagement and design process above starts at £1250, travel time over 15 miles from SO24 is charged at £40ph.

I no longer provide additional services and am no longer able to make recommendations for contractors.

* Please note: for a lighting scheme, a qualified electrician must be consulted to finalise the details of the installation and provide certification of the install

What’s the difference between a landscaper and a garden designer?

I get asked this question all the time and so thought it might help to summarise. There are always exceptions to any rule but as a starting point, the common differences are as follows.
Garden Designers:
  • A garden designer is usually the creative force behind imagining and then drawing to scale your dream garden. They should (but not always) have an understanding of horticulture and hard landscaping design. 
  • A garden designer is more plant-focused with a solid grasp of plant species, cultivars, suitability and requirements for your site and can provide a more detailed planting arrangement - planting suggestions often come with the initial design, a detailed planting scheme will be an additional cost.
  • A garden designer sometimes partners with landscapers or builders who undertake the hard landscaping aspects of the garden.

  • A landscaper is usually the building force behind your new dream garden. They are mostly from a construction background and focus more on hard landscaping with design maybe being their secondary skill.
  • A landscaper is sometimes less horticultural and designs may feature more general easy-care planting groups with more landscaping features e.g. terrace, patio, walls etc.
  • Landscapers may work closely with garden designers to design the gardens they install.