We gradually stop noticing some of the physical qualities of the environment around us, but newly arrived visitors see significant details we have long overlooked. It is normal for us to become accustomed to our everyday surroundings. We gradually stop noticing some of the physical qualities of the environment around us, but newly arrived visitors see significant details we have long overlooked.
Engaging a garden designer offers you an even better understanding of your domestic outdoor environment. The objective eyes of a garden designer will take a fresh, informed look at your over-familiar garden, and offer an impartial assessment of its qualities and potential for improvement.
- – Is the garden’s full potentential being realised?
- – Which improvements could give better value?
- – Could the garden function better?
- – How well does the garden integrate with the house?
- – How might visitors’ first impressions be enhanced?
- – Could the garden be simpler to care for?
- – How could the garden be made safer for small children?
- – Is the garden interesting all year round?
- – How could the rear garden be made more private?
- – Are the garden’s plants appropriate for the available space, and for the character of the property?
- – How might the saleability of the property be increased?
Consulting a garden designer could help you avoid costly mistakes. If you are thinking of making changes to your garden, a designer could help you maximise value, and reduce your garden’s need for maintenance. If you are extending your house, a designer could help you see how the remaining space could be better used.
Garden surfaces, whether areas of paving, decking, gravel or planting are typically much larger than internal rooms with hardwood or laminate floors. Costed per square metre, a realistic budget is required to design, create and plant an outdoor setting which is worthy of your house. For example, if your property needs a complete new garden, you should allow a budget comparable to that for a complete new kitchen.
Sloping gardens with changes of level may require steps or retaining walls. The creation of a two-car driveway is a large project which needs careful forethought; changing the proportions of the driveway to produce a good visual relationship with your house is easily done at the design stage, but unthinkable after construction. Driveways, patios and paving need to be correctly constructed with an appropriate load-bearing sub-base. A garden designer can provide the necessary drawings and design specifications to ensure that whoever constructs your garden knows the standard of work required.
Then there is the question of aesthetics. It is undeniable that some gardens look better than others. Some look wonderful, while others are repellent. Most languish somewhere between these exteremes. Complex relationships occur in gardens, deriving from the interplay of elements within and surrounding the garden: the contours and orientation of the site; the style of the house and the garden’s boundaries; nearby trees and neighbouring buildings; pleasant or unsightly views; the scale of garden structures; the colour and texture of paving materials; the presence or absence of reflective water; the proportions of open and enclosed space; the convenience and flow of movement around the garden; the character and scale of planting; the arrangement of the garden’s functional parts. These are the physical elements from which gardens are composed.
Although the practicalities of cost and construction are vital, it is ultimately the aesthetic aspects of your garden that will reveal its designer’s talents. Your garden should be good for your spirit. The sensitivity, skill and inspiration of the garden’s designer will determine how good the garden feels to those who live there all year round and those who come to visit.
Douglas Dalgleish of www.creatingbetterplaces.co.uk