By Sally Gregson.
At this season, and especially last year, we have looked at our gardens struggling through the long drought, now under snow and ice, and perhaps thought of at least one or two modifications, or downright changes, we could make.
Full of plans and promises, we vow to improve the garden this winter. But, of course, it rains at last – the ice melts and the frost evaporates, along with our good intentions, and another year passes.
It could be time to employ the services of a garden designer.
A good designer will soon save you money spent on inappropriate plants and expensive constructions, and will sit down and talk with you about your concerns and planting tastes. He, or she, will analyse the soil; the aspect of the garden; and how much sun there is through the year. They will consider the proximity of neighbours, roads and eyesores.
And then they will go away and think of solutions to any perceived problems and run them past you before putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboards.
Once the designer has drawn up a draft plan, including the location of any existing garden buildings – sheds, greenhouses, a detached garage – and located any planned additions, you, and he or she, will be ready for the pretty bits.
It’s here that their knowledge and expertise can also save time and money. They will make lists of favourite and suitable plants, including trees, shrubs and perennials that will make the garden your own.
Quite often a local garden designer has a favourite nursery where they will buy on a regular basis and can charge you less than the usual price. Buying multiple plants often carries a discount for quantity. A knowledgeable designer can recommend a suitable nursery or nurseries that can supply the majority of necessary plants.
The ’dead’ days of January are just the time to enlist an expert’s help. They are less busy – everyone thinks about their gardens in spring when there is already too much to think about and do. So, decide just how much you want to spend and get an estimate of costs. And set the ball rolling. It will soon be spring!