How much does a garden designer cost?

What should you pay for good design?

Table of Contents

All Our Quotations are Individually Priced

Garden Designer Cost - Round sofa and fire table on a garden patio

Every garden we design is unique

Garden design is a bespoke service industry where the product we create is unique by default. 

No two gardens are the same, therefore no two designs are the same and thus no two sets of garden designer costs are the same, too.

You can think of pricing a garden in the same way you would price a new kitchen. There are many different potential components manufacturers and suppliers, but only one kitchen that is unique to you.

Factors affecting design prices

There are many factors that can affect how much a design will cost, some of these are:

The size of the garden

The bigger the garden, the longer it takes to draw.

However, a smaller garden will usually cost more per square metre than a larger garden. This is because there will be a larger number of big-ticket items in a smaller space.

The complexity of the design

The more bespoke features added to a garden, patios, pergolas, pools, and planting, the more construction and layout drawings are needed – adding to the price.

Chat to us about your dream garden project

Style and Materials

The style of your garden can have an effect on the overall garden designer cost. 

For example a modern style of garden with stepping stone plinths in across a pool will need bespoke design drawings.

On the other hand, a garden with larger borders and less paving will not require so much design detailing but will need comprehensive planting plans. Each of which has their own cost implication.

Site features

The nature of your site will also play a part in the design costs. 

Steeper sites will require steps and retaining walls, sloping sites will require drainage, and therefore need additional drawings.

Adding outdoor lighting means creating lighting and electrical diagrams which, in turn, has an effect on the overall cost. 

Plan view of a courtyard back garden with a circular patio and fountain

How we calculate garden designer costs

Top plan of a garden

Different charging systems

Garden designers usually have three ways that they charge for your services:

  • Percentage of final build
  • Fixed cost
  • Hourly or Daily Rate

Let us explain how each of these services work before explaining our own method of charging.

Percentage of final build

This is possibly the most popular charging method. It uses a simple sliding scale to charge a percentage of your budget as the design fee.

However the fee scale used is now out of date, with the last update to this scale created in 2004.

Also the overall cost of materials has dramatically increased recently which means a designer using this scale will receive a proportionally higher fee value for the work they’ve completed, which we think is unfair.

Fixed cost

A fixed cost system will charge a specific value for a garden size.

  • For example, £3,500 for a garden up to 80m2, £5,000 for a garden between 80m2 and 120m2.
  • The issue with this system is that it penalises a client with a smaller garden.
Hourly or Daily Rate

This is probably the fairest method of charging for a garden designer cost, as it presents an accurate picture of the work done to create your design.

  • This is the method we use for our fees.
  • Our hourly rate is £60/hour.

Costing your design

Here at Jon Norman Garden Design we like to use project management software to schedule and keep track of your garden designer cost and the subsequent build.

We use this to give you an estimate of the total cost of the design along with an actual value for the work completed.

Gantt Chart
A project Gantt chart for a typical garden design

Services utilised

The final aspect that affects the cost of the design are the services you use.

Just as every garden is different the use of our services is bespoke too.

For example, we would always recommend creating a planting plan in every design. But if we created a hard landscaping design for a keen gardener we might dispense creating a planting plan for that project.

Service packages

We have a number of different service items. Each of these become the tasks within the overall design project.

  • Some are considered necessary for the design to be completed correctly, others are extras which are nice to have but may not be essential to the completed build.
  • We have grouped these into three service packages as shown in the table below, however these are not set in stone.
  • It also acts as a glossary to our services, click on each service name to find out more information about it.
Essential package

The essential package is the bare minimum of garden designer costs needed to complete a design.

  • However, 3D views, which are necessary to visualise the final garden, are not included.
  • You will also need to contact your own landscaper
  • We will not do site visits to check that the build is being constructed correctly
Included Services
Recommended package

We consider these services to be those essential to create both the perfect design and to have it built correctly.

  • We remain hands on throughout the whole design process to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Included Services
"Nice to Have" package

This package contains the full range of our services.

 

Included Services

Everything from the Recommended package along with:

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Aftercare Advice

We will visit your garden twice yearly for the first 3 years of your design. 

We will provide maintenance advice and to make sure the garden is establishing well and maturing as expected. 

Master Plan

The master plan is the completed design of your garden.

It is presented to the contractor to allow them to build your design.

Detail plan view of a two acre triangular country estate

Tendering Documentation

Tendering is the process of inviting landscapers to give bids on your garden construction work.

The tender documentation includes all the details of the work to be done, the materials needed, and the quantities required.

Initial Meeting

We will arrange to meet you at your site to discuss your ideas for your garden and your budget.

This is an informal meeting where we ask you to guide us around your garden and share your ideas and aspirations for the space.

We also ask a series of questions to ensure we create the perfect garden for you.

Handshake

Site Analysis

A site analysis is a series of practical steps that helps the designer understand and define the outdoor space that will eventually become your dream garden.

Garden design site analysis diagram

Site Analysis

A site survey creates a map of your site that shows your house, changes in level, existing trees, and underground services.

Theodolite

Planting Mood Boards

A planting mood board is a series of images which convey how your new planting scheme will look when it reaches maturity.

Plant Mood Board

Garden Mood Boards

A garden mood-board is a series of images which convey the look and feel of your garden will look once it’s completed.

Garden design mood board

Sketch Plan

The sketch plan is our initial design idea for your garden.

This design can be revised until the best solution to your perfect garden is found.

Sketch Plan

Garden 3D View

A garden 3D view is an image created with our CAD software.

It allows you to see how your garden will look when complete.

Frequently Asked Questions

Mobile App with AR Views

To help you visualise your garden you can download a mobile app that will display your design as a 3D ModelYou can rotate this model and see what your garden will look like from every angle.

The app also has an Alternate Reality (AR) mode. This allows you to project your new design onto your existing garden space.  Your phone will show you what your new garden will look like as you walk around your space.

Maintenance Documentation

We provide plant maintenance documentation with instructions on how to care for each specimen within your new scheme.

Plant Maintenance Schedulae

3D Fly Through

To help you truly visualise a design, we can create fly-through movies of your garden.

Planting Plans

A planting plan displays the layout of the planting scheme in your garden.

Planting 3D Views

A planting 3D view will display the 2D plant plan as a 3D image with representations of the plants shown so you can get a good idea of how your border will look once established.

Plant Plans

Construction Drawings

Construction drawings are integral to the garden design process.

They show a contractor what should be built, how it should be constructed and what materials are used to make it.

Pergola Construction drawing - Construction detail

Setting Out Drawings

Setting Out (or Cascade) Drawings help the contractor build your garden by adding important measurements and annotations to the garden plan. 

This ensures everything is laid out correctly.

Garden design cascade drawing showing a grid and dimensions

Setting Out Drawings

A garden design specification is a set of information about the types of materials used in your garden and how these materials are constructed. It also sets out the expected timescales of the project, and the best practices for health and safety and ensures a good standard of work on site.

 

Specification

Site Visits

We arrange a series of project monitoring site visits during the build phase of your garden project.

Site Visits

Setting Out Planting

Setting out of plants is where we will personally come to your garden after the landscaping is finished and place the plants according to our plans.

Plant Care

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