Designer’s fees

After reading through the various stages of the design process you will understand that the level of detail required by the garden design can vary significantly between gardens.  The amount of design work that I undertake is dependent on such factors as: the size of the garden, the extent of design issues that need to be addressed, and the aspirations of the client for the design.  The types of drawings required: whether 2D or 3D, working or presentation will vary between projects also.  Consequently, the design costs for each garden may vary significantly and will be specific to your particular project.  However, in all cases, the cost of the consultation or design is calculated on the basis of time input by myself and/or my staff and the resources of my studio.

To give you a starting point, initial locally based one hour meetings with Tim are €70 (excluding any extra transport/time costs). Fees for drawing up concept garden plans usually start at around €4-500 or so for small, straight forward designs or simple planting plans with higher prices required for greater complexity, larger gardens or bespoke details.  After agreement on the concept, the fee for the detailed design plan showing hard landscape specifications, quantities, and plant list is usually calculated separately.  Alternatively, the fee for detailed design can be added to the concept design fee at the start and both are completed together. Either way, the detailed design drawing would be suitable for costing and implementing the project.

The fees are calculated on a time basis.  For many projects the input of the designer includes consultation, survey, design time, tendering and project management.  The resultant fees can end up somewhere in the order of 8-15% of the overall value of the constructed project in a similar vein to an architect’s fees.

To conclude: I price every garden design project individually in accordance with where it is and what my client would like me to do.

Costs for building the garden

Many people are reluctant to tell their designer what their budget for the garden is, sometimes because they simply have no idea but often because they think in some way that this will influence the designers fee.  I would like to dispel that myth right here, right now!  I have described above how the designer fees are charged. They are calculated on expected time and travel input in accordance with what the client has asked for. However, it would be really useful for the designer to know what your budget for the garden is as this will influence what design elements are included.  For example, there is no point in spending time/ money on getting a beautiful water feature designed if the construction budget is not there for it.

A good garden designer should be able to give you a rough idea of what spend you should be considering based on their initial discussion with you where you will have outlined your requirements.  And you should let the designer know if that is acceptable at the initial meeting.  However, remember this figure will be a guide only.  The final precise costs can only be calculated after the design plan has been fully completed.  At that stage, if the budget is outside your reach you should discuss with the designer what adjustments need to be made to bring it back on course. Note, in my experience the most expensive parts of any garden build are extensive areas of paving and complex water features.  Planting is not the expensive part.

Recent gardens that I have designed over the last year or two (2013, 2014) have varied in cost considerably.  Garden makeovers for existing small gardens including planting and some basic hard landscape often end up between €5k and €10k.  New garden builds are usually between €10 and €25k in value depending on size and complexity.  Higher figures should be allowed for very large gardens, ambitious designs and those with lots of detailed bespoke features.

Here’s a link to an article in The Daily Telegraph about the costs of building a garden.

Here’s a recent video interview, where I answer some questions on pricing.