One of the questions I get asked a lot when people find out I’m a garden designer is what do I exactly do and how is that different from a landscape contractor or a firm that does design and build? That’s a really good question and I have to say that I would also have had to ask that question years ago. Let’s look at the differences so you can decide the right one for you and save yourself a lot of time.
Garden Designers tend to offer the following services. General advice on a consultancy basis about your garden, survey and full design of your garden, project inspection of the garden build, planting plans and supply of plants along with planting services. They make their money from their time giving advice, designing and inspecting your garden build, doing planting plans and supplying you with plants and planting them for you. They will work with several sets of good contractors who will do the actual garden build for you and will be able to get comparative quotes from them for you to choose from.
Landscape contractors tend to work in a different way. There are some who will simply build you a garden, laying lawns, building pergolas and walls, all the physical stuff! Some of these guys will ask you to get a design done by a designer before they undertake the garden build as they will work accurately to the plan and can give you a quote for the materials prior to the work commencing. They feel more comfortable sticking to what they do best which is building the garden, preferring to leave the design to someone else. They make their money from their labour and also from the mark-up on the materials they use.
Design and Build Companies
Finally, design and build companies of which there are quite a few. The ‘design and build’ companies will do a design for you and then build your garden. The standards of the design will vary as with every profession from very good to rather poor. They do not make their money on the design aspect of the job but on their labour and mark-up on materials the same as landscape contractors. The cost of the time spent doing the design is simply absorbed into the cost of the total project. These firms will often supply the plants and do the planting too.
In my blog next week, I’ll give you advice and tips on how to find the right garden designer, landscape contractor or design and build company for you and help you make the right choice.