Contact Me

Give me a call or send me an email and I will contact you to arrange an initial visit. (This will incur a small consultation fee and travel costs charged according to destination – confirmed in advance.)


If you need general advice on horticulture or garden design, a 2-3 hour consultation may be all that you need. This can /will include – advice on pruning, soil and plants, etc. The charges will be based on time spent on site plus a contribution towards travel expenses. However, for visits within a reasonable distance from the office, there are no charges for travelling expenses.

If a garden design plan is required, then the consultation will take the form of a design brief so that we can talk over some of your ideas, discuss your needs and find out a little bit about your lifestyle and how you would like to use your new garden, discuss your likes and dislikes, your budget, timescales and so on.

Garden visits to provide advice on plants and supported by a subsequent report are charged accordingly.

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The First Meeting

cottage garden flowers

At this meeting I will talk through the garden design process and show you some examples of my work. Before we meet it is useful if you can:

Try to make a list of what you like (and what you don’t like) from your garden. Include practical things like barbeques or favourite colours or particular plants that you like.

Try and decide (realistically) how much time you will spend gardening. Think about the budget that you have too – it is always a tricky one, but it is essential to have some idea of what you intend to spend as I might design something that you cannot afford. Whilst I do not cost out the design plan (the landscapers will do this once the design is agreed), I can usually tell you if your budget is sensible or not.

If you are happy to continue, I will take a design brief from you – including an idea of your budget.

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What Happens Next (The Quote)

I will write to you after our first meeting to confirm the design brief and the garden design fee. The amount will depend upon the size and complexity of the garden. The fee will be based on guidelines set out by The Society of Garden Designers.

When you have confirmed in writing that you wish to go ahead with the commission, I will start work on the design for your garden.

Guidelines set out by The Society of Garden Designers. The Society of Garden Designers - Guidance for Clients on Professional Fees (pdf)

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The Survey

The first step in producing the design will be to survey your garden. This will involve taking measurements and levels and also highlighting any existing features that you may (or may not) wish to retain. It will highlight any views that need to be enhanced or problem areas that need to be hidden.

This may take several hours but is necessary to ensure that the final plan is workable. It is essential that the survey is accurate and detailed – there is nothing worse that steps that don’t work, or paving that needs extensive cutting to fit.

On larger, complex sites an independent land surveyor may be required.

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Concept Design

The proposed design for your garden will be presented to you in draft form. This will be accurately drawn to scale and will give you a clear indication of how things will look incorporating your ideas as well as those of the designer. During this stage Maureen will take the time to listen to your reactions to the garden design and any minor changes can now be made or areas of uncertainty ironed out.

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The Outline Plan

Following your approval of the concept design and allowing for modifications, should they be necessary, a highly detailed and accurately scaled plan will be drawn up showing features such as hard landscaping, pergolas, ponds, terraces and so on.

Materials will be specified on the drawing, construction details and cross sections may also be supplied to help you visualise the garden design.

A detailed planting plan showing position of plants, sizes and quantities required can be quoted separately.

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Construction Drawings

Detailed construction drawings are prepared for all of the hard landscape elements, ie steps, walls, pergolas, ponds, etc. If necessary, setting out drawings and site section elevations are prepared at this stage.

Construction drawings will enable professional landscapers or the enthusiastic DIY owner to follow the plan and build the features to the required specification.

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In addition to the design and construction drawings, written specifications and scope of works may be prepared in readiness for costing and construction. These specifications would be sent to landscape contractors to enable then to quote on a ‘like for like’ basis for the building of your garden.

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The Planting Plan

A detailed planting plan showing the position of all plants and the quantities required to complete the design and bring the garden to life can be provided. This can be for the whole garden, or for specific areas; for example, to incorporate a new conservatory or summerhouse into the garden, or planting to screen certain areas of the garden for privacy or to hide an ugly view.

The planting plan will take into consideration site conditions such as soil type and condition, aspect (which way your garden faces) and your likes and dislikes.

The planting of the garden will create that final magical touch – providing movement, depth, texture and colour making your garden a fabulous place to enjoy.

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Plant Supply

designerGardens are able to source and arrange delivery of plants for you. Maureen can also arrange to check the plants as they arrive to ensure they are healthy and planted properly to give them a good start.

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A maintenance schedule detailing how to look after all the plants in the plant list can be provided. This will help you keep your garden looking good throughout the year.

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When you are having your garden built, designerGardens advise you of the best contractors to build the design. Maureen can put the work out to tender on your behalf, or just ask for competitive quotes from 2-3 contractors. These may be made up from a mixture of companies she has worked with before including BALI accredited landscapers or anyone you might like to put forward.

This is the time when things can go dramatically wrong and it is essential that you have someone with expert knowledge and project skills in charge of the scheme to ensure:

  1. the contractor understands the brief and can interpret the garden design accurately - and that the work is within their capabilities,
  2. that work is completed to a high standard with attention to detail,
  3. that any existing plants are cared for during the build, and the ground is prepared for the introduction of new plants.

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As part of this process, we will work with you and brief all invited contractors, meet them on site and answer any queries they may have. We will then go through the submitted proposals with you to compare prices and check on appropriate methods of construction.

We can oversee the project through regular site inspections.

We can supervise the receipt of plants on site and monitor planting.

This service is not included in the Design Fee and may be charged as a percentage of the total contract or can be charged on a per visit / hourly basis. The number of visits required is estimated/agreed when the scope of the project is clear.

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You may have just one or two borders in the garden that need revamping, or restyling to incorporate a new conservatory, patio or summerhouse into the garden.

We will look at the location and aspect and match the plants to suit you - from a low maintenance planting to a plant enthusiasts garden - and provide you with a detailed planting plan showing the sizes of plants when established.

This will involve soil analysis to ensure that the correct types of plants are used in the planting plan.

designerGardens can also provide detailed maintenance schedules and horticultural advice to ensure that you can look after your new border and keep it looking its best.

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Contact me for Garden Designs in Poole, Wimborne, Dorchester, Weymouth, Blandford Forum and throughout Dorset.

gardens designed by Maureen Lock