Elizabeth Warner Garden Design - Design ~ Transform ~ Enjoy

Design Process

Design Process Explained

The full design process comprises 9 stages.  However, every project is different and therefore flexibility is the key to success.

Garden Design Consultation and Report

This is the very first step in the design process.  Click here for more information.

Site Survey and Analysisdesign process

I will require a survey of your site.  For small gardens with no complexities I will carry out the survey myself.  However, for larger more complex sites where there are level changes a land surveyor will need to be appointed.  I can provide you with details of professional land surveyors in your area so that you can arrange a survey yourself.  I will then brief your surveyor so that they are aware of what needs to be recorded and measured.  The survey will provide a plan of your site in CAD format which I will then use as the base for all further design drawings.

Draft Concept Designdesign process

This is an outline proposal of the ideas discussed at the consultation and an opportunity to check that I have understood the design brief correctly.  At this stage the proposal can be discussed and developed.  This is the client’s chance to change any aspect of the proposed design before moving on to detailed design.  This is also a good time to talk about planting and I can also provide samples of materials for the client to think about.

Masterplan Design Process

This is the final plan for the overall design of the garden.  This will enable the client to see the main features of the new garden and will be used by contractors to understand the general feeling of the design.  In addition, the contractor will still require a set of contract drawings giving accurate and detailed instructions and measurements from which they can build.

Contract Documents and Drawingsdesign process

These drawings and documents will enable the contractor to build all the elements of the design to exact proportions and with the specified materials.  Occasionally, on large projects the contractor may request additional drawings in order to gain a better understanding of the work needed to achieve the final design.

A written specification is needed to outline the hard landscaping materials to be used and the standards to which these elements of the design must be built.  For small simple projects, building notes may be sufficient.

Both the specification and drawings make up the contract documents and are used to form the contract between you and the contractor.

Tender Process

It is advisable to get two or three quotes for the construction of your garden.  Once the contract drawings and documents are produced you can approach contractors for quotations or I can manage the process on your behalf.  If you decide to appoint a contractor directly I recommend that you obtain references first.


The garden build can be a stressful time so for all but the smallest projects I highly recommend that you engage me to monitor the construction phase.

I take enormous pride in the designs I produce and by taking advantage of the project monitoring service that I provide I can ensure that the design is built and planted to the correct specification and with the right materials.

I will plan site visits with you, if you are available, and the contractor.  This will enable me to deal with any problems on site quickly thereby avoiding potentially costly mistakes.   As part of the design process regular reports will be provided of the progress of the build.  If, for any reason, you cannot attend site meetings then my project monitoring service can give you peace of mind in your absence.

Planting Design Processdesign process

This is the final and most exciting phase of your new garden build.  At this stage the planting design will have been agreed and the plants specified.

I have trade accounts with several wholesale nurseries in the UK in order to provide the best range of plants at reasonable cost.  I can arrange for plants to be delivered at the best time for planting out.  I will be on site to take delivery and will check that all meet the correct standard.  Plants that do not meet the necessary standard of quality will be replaced.

I recommend that you engage me for setting out (placing) the plants because however accurate the planting design is on paper, it is sometimes necessary to change things on site.

For small projects I offer a planting service, however for large sites it will be necessary to appoint a professional landscaper.   Planting involves securing, watering and mulching where necessary.


Part of the design process is recognising that your new garden will need nurturing on an ongoing basis.  The health of your new garden will depend on continuing maintenance and development.  It is my aim to produce a softworks and hardworks design that is right for you and one which you can manage based on your time and skills.

Once the garden is planted I will arrange a site visit to talk about your new plants, what you can expect from them and what they will need to thrive.

On request I can provide a tailored care plan specifically about your garden plus detailed information on the plants that you have chosen.

I also recommend quarterly site visits with you or your gardener to discuss any aspects of your new garden.  This gives you the opportunity to talk about any issues you may be having or further development of your garden.

The design process is a collaborative effort which will involve several skilled professionals at different stages of a project.  A qualified designer understands the skills needed and can bring those professionals together at the right time during a project.



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