What do I need for my initial consultation?

So you have decided to get professional help with your garden.  What do you need for that first meeting?

  1. Plans - A site plan and a house plan.  If you dont have one, you can usually get a copy from your local council.  Some charge a small fee for this process.
  2. Likes - Pictures of gardens that you have seen and liked.  Good places to find suitable pictures are books and  magazines, but there is also some great online sources as well.  Try Pinterest, Houzz and Homify.  You can often save your favourite pictures to a file and then share them with your designer via email.  
  3. Dislikes - Just as important as pictures of gardens you like, is a good idea of what you dont like.
  4. Budget - This is always a hard questions as most people dont know what it costs to build a garden or what they should spend on doing it.  A good rule of thumb, for a new house is 15-20% of the capital value of the home.  The cost of the garden will ultimately come down to the cost of finishes, the amount of space you have, the scale of the works that your are after and your access.  By providing your designer with a rough budget, they should be able to design the garden to create a suitable outcome for the space.  Alternatively, the designer can design the space with your wish list, then provide a costing that you can work through together, to remove and add items until you are happy with it. A designer can also tell you the best way to phase the works, so if budget doesnt allow, then get the best use of your money now and then add the extras down the track.
  5. Function - A good thing to think about before meeting your designer is 'How do I want to use my garden?'  Do you want to entertaining large groups of people regularly, large lawn areas for children to play, a lap pool for the swimmer in the family or just a small plunge pool for chillaxing in summer?  Do you need a shed, a clothesline, somewhere for the bins, veggie garden, trees.....the list goes on?  The best thing to do is to start writing a list and bring it to the consultation.