sustainable landscape design
for people, nature and climate


A landscape of any size can fulfill multiple functions. It can be a social space, a working space, a play space and a wildlife friendly natural space that works to mitigate the impact of climate change. But is might be daunting to work out how to make it happen, which is where a Landscape Designer can help.

The process of having outside space designed varies from client to client depending on the size of the space and it’s required uses and budget.  Elaine can make a free, no obligation, initial site visit of about an hour to have a look at the space and discuss with a client what their options are and a guide to what cost implications might be based on what they would like to achieve.  She would then prepare a no obligation fee proposal / scoping brief,  which lays out what work is involved for the project and how much that is likely to cost.  The project might be to design a whole integrated space or some potion of it such as a planting area.

If a client then decides to proceed the process is likely to be as follows:-

Site Survey – If a site is a fairly straightforward shape and without too many complex level changes, Elaine would visit again to do a survey.  She will take measurements and lots of photographs and check existing features and other impacts such as drainage and aspect, neighbourhood context and views.  These measurements are drawn up into a scaled digital drawing to have a base plan of the garden to design with.   Depending on the complexity / size of the garden it is sometimes worth trying to source ordinance survey maps for greater accuracy. It is essential that a digital topographical and underground services survey is supplied for larger, more complex and public sites.

Private gardens generally do not need a survey drawing as such as Elaine can use the information she gathers towards this smaller scale of design. Community sites and public areas will generally benefit from a Site Survey Drawing to explain the context, constraints and opportunities of a design. Larger sites with multiple levels will need professional surveying services, which can be organised

Site survey drawing for a large site
Site survey drawing for a community garden

Design – A scaled strategic design is drawn using a combination of hand and digital drawing techniques. This drawing clearly lays out the various areas proposed for the space as well as the proportions of hard materials (such as paving and decking) to soft materials (planted areas such as lawn, meadow and planted beds).  It would indicate type of materials (sandstone, evergreen planting, sensory planting) but not exact species or suppliers.  It would be designed with a provisional budget in mind.  It may include precedent images or 3D sketches if it will help to explain the spatial relationships of the features within the proposed design.

A private garden design
A private garden design
A public area design
A public area design

If required other explanatory drawings can be prepared, which explain the site in 3D. These may include interpretive sketches, sectional views or photomontages,

3D Sketches

The landscape contractor will probably require a scaled construction drawing, which is the design in plan view with materials, measurements and areas marked up to form the basis of the construction estimate.   They may also require some detailed construction drawings of more complex features, which can all be prepared once a design has been agreed.

A construction strategy plan

Contractor Quote and Construction – Elaine does not usually organise the physical landscaping work but is happy to supervise a landscaper, which usually involves a site briefing to assist towards a quote and regular site visits during construction.  She has some skilled landscaping teams who she recommends.

Planting Plan –   This is a drawing that indicates which plants should be planted where. The purchase and delivery of the plants as well as their planting can be organised. 

A plant plan for three raised beds
A large scale plant plan

Maintenance and follow up – Elaine likes to visit completed gardens at regular (broadly seasonal) intervals during their first year to see how well they are doing and discuss any questions that a client may have.  She also likes to visit gardens beyond their first year to watch them develop and evolve.

Elaine does not personally maintain gardens but can help a client to find a gardener and to spend some time with them in the garden to discuss maintenance issues.  She can also prepare a seasonal maintenance plan, which lays out what to do and when in the new garden.

Cost – The $1million question!  Without seeing your space and discussing your aspirations it is very hard to say how much it would cost to build.  The best idea is to Contact Elaine for a chat or to arrange a free, no obligation visit to discuss your project.