How much does a garden design cost?
If you are looking to transform your garden into a beautiful and functional outdoor space, you may be wondering about hiring a garden designer. Naturally you’ll be wondering how much this will cost?
In this blog post we’ll explore some key considerations. First we will discuss how much will it cost to build and plant a new garden as this will be where most of your investment will go. We will then discuss garden design fees.
How much are you expecting to invest?
This will depend on many factors and you may have an absolute investment figure in mind.
If this is your first time at planning a new garden there’s a few things to take into account in terms of the value of a garden transformation:
- the added value to your property that a new garden will bring
- being realistic with how much garden construction costs
- is the added value to your day-to-day wellbeing and lifestyle significant?
- are you looking to boost the biodiversity in a new garden which will enhance your enjoyment?
Adding value to your property
Probably the most significant for many homeowners is how much will the overall garden investment add to the value of your home. A widely held view within the industry is that a well designed garden could add anywhere between 5-15% onto the value of your property. Think of your garden as an asset to your property.
If you were only thinking about the financial added value (and not the other reasons above) it would be reasonable to invest up to 10% of the property value on your outdoor space, depending on what you want.
The other thing to bear in mind is how quickly your property would sell if on the market. A well designed garden is likely to help you sell your house much quicker, especially if there’s attractive kerb appeal at the front.
Building and planting a garden is a financial investment and should be considered similar in value as building an extension to your house or installing a new kitchen.
If you were only looking for the financial return, it would make sense to plan the garden for this purpose.
First, let’s think about the things that affect the contractor’s costs (build and planting). These are separate from a garden designer’s fees. The largest part of your investment will be spent on the garden build and planting. A landscape contractor will be paid for this which includes labour, materials, tools and machinery for the necessary excavations and build. If you’re not sure what to expect, read on.
Poor drainage and buried materials need to be dealt with.
Overall smaller gardens will cost less than larger gardens.
However the cost/m2 usually goes up for smaller gardens.
Hard landscaping (paving, walling, steps, paths etc.) vs soft landscaping (borders, plants, lawn)?
Location / Restricted access?
Easy access speeds up the build for parking, deliveries and removing waste.
Gardens that are difficult to access will inevitably cost more as additional labour or specific equipment will be required.
Busy urban areas may require more time to plan logistics of materials coming and going.
Introducing terracing and retaining walls
How many features would you like?
- summerhouse / garden room
- ponds &/or water features
- specimen trees
- outdoor cooking area
With custom-built structures like pergolas or gazebos, the garden build may cost more than buying prefabricated structures off the internet.
Sometimes prefabricated structures are cost effective and can be worked into the designs. Alternatively bespoke features if built well with quality materials are likely to last longer.
diy vs. professional build
While some homeowners opt to build their garden themselves, others prefer to hire a professional landscape contractor.
Keep in mind that DIY projects are likely:
- to have lower labour costs
- take longer to complete
- to lead to additional costs compared to initial expectations
- to not wear well over time due to lack of build experience
Now let’s think about the how to add value to the garden build.
A garden designer will help you work out the best layout and spatial design of the site, as well as helping you to choose how the garden will look in terms of choice of materials and plants.
A garden designers fees might be 10-17% of the build cost. This is a bespoke service and can be considered as an added value to the overall build and planting.
Experienced designers with a proven track record may charge higher fees for their expertise. However the value they add to the final garden is worth considering as they can provide valuable insights and knowledge to create a garden that meets your specific needs.
A professional garden designer can guide you on how you prioritise your investment along the way.
Materials and plants
The choice of materials for hardscaping, such as paving, decking, or fencing, can vary greatly in price. Similarly, the types and quantities of plants you select will impact the cost of plants and planting. More mature, impactful plants will be more expensive than common varieties.
A garden designer will spend the time to explore options and discuss these with you before finalising plans.
Consider the long-term maintenance requirements of your garden design. A low-maintenance garden may have a higher upfront build cost due to the quality and longevity of the products, but can save you time and money on maintenance in the future.
During the design process, we will discuss the management of your investment, particularly regarding the planting. We can offer various options, from periodic coaching sessions for the first couple of years to hiring an aftercare team.
Designing for longevity and quality
Material selection and the preparation of design details and specifications ensures the contractor has the right information to build the garden to weather the demands of the outdoor environment and the long term use it will be exposed to.
If your garden has significant grading (slopes), drainage issues, or soil problems these need to be addressed.
Features & preferences
The number of features and spaces within your garden should piece together harmoniously. For example, features you may love to have, and may need in your garden, include areas for patios, pergolas, water features, steps, paths and raised beds.
Size and complexity
The size and complexity of your garden are significant factors which impact the cost of a new garden. Larger gardens with numerous features like ponds, waterfeatures, hard landscaping, or lighting may require more planning and design work.
Very small gardens need to function really well, with more features per unit area to fit in; this takes time to fine tune and optimise the space.
Equally, sloping or terraced gardens have level changes which require significant design time to figure out how the best way to transition across the site.
Sometimes, it’s necessary to go through design iterations to achieve the desired outcome. Each iteration may come with additional costs. Experienced designers will seek to ensure that the client brief is detailed thoroughly at the start, to minimise the need for these.
As you will appreciate every garden and its owner are different so it’s impossible to give a definitive cost for a design without seeing the garden and meeting the homeowner. Remember that each design is bespoke.