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How Much does it Cost to Have your Garden Designed?

So, you want help transforming your garden and you would like to know how much the design services actually cost.

Whilst there is no straightforward answer to this question, this blog post will hopefully be able to give you some insight into how garden designers charge and how to budget for a garden re-design.

It’s quite rare for a designer to set their fees upfront and have them visible on their website. and their reason for it is not that we are secretive bunch or that it is extremely expensive to hire a designer’s help. Rather each garden and garden owner is unique and therefore there is no standard price (eg. per m2 of garden).

Simply speaking, the designs fees depend on how much time the designer will need to spend to create what you are looking for. A small flat and empty new build garden with a moderate budget and few requirements is very different to a larger mature garden on a slope. The needs of a family with two children and a dog are different to the needs of a professional couple that travel a lot and want to entertain friends in their garden from time to time. A client may want to include just a few elements or for others the list can be rather long.

The budget for the build is also an important factor – although the design fees are not tied to the build cost, a bigger budget usually means more elements to include or a bigger garden, and those take more time end effort to design. Likewise trying to creatively design a small garden with a fairly complicated brief under severe build budget constraints can be rather time consuming.

To complicate matters further, different designers may structure their fees differently and not always in a way that makes it obvious what you will need to pay from start to finish of the process. Also not everyone provides the same level of service – at one end you may get just a rough sketch with some scribbled explanations, at the other you get a service akin to that of architect’s, where all the drawings are accurate and all the details and materials are specified to a T. To avoid disappointment, we would recommend and adhere to the latter approach.


We believe (and it’s a standard promoted by professional organisations) that it should be very clear what the various parts of the design process involve and cost and what the client is getting in return, and so do many other designers. So after figuring out the brief (aka the wish list) and assessing the site, we prepare a very detailed breakdown of the fees and make it clear what is an optional part of the service and which (few) elements will be charged on hourly basis or quoted later, and what other costs and services may be required (eg. topographical survey, structural engineer, planning consultant in complicated cases).

There is an outdated model used by some designers where the design fees are a percentage of the build/or budget cost. While there is some connection (as above) its not a good way of setting the fees, simply because it is not possible to say upfront what the cost of the build will be and what would happen if the cost/budget changes either way – which may happen for various reasons. There is however a useful rule of thumb here that can be derived to assess whether the design works out expensive – on average the design fees would end up somewhere between 5-20% of the cost of the build – closer to the upper limit for more complex projects (which conversely may be the smaller ones) or closer to the lower one for simpler or larger projects.

If you are wondering whether you can afford to hire a garden designer, perhaps the answer should be that if you are going to spend a significant amount of money on your garden, hiring a garden designer is a no brainer – as the end result will be likely much better than what you could achieve without one.

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