How we designed an award winning garden – Part 2

Survey & Brief

An accurate survey is critical as it lays the groundwork for the final details of the design. It provides us with a map with which to start making decisions. We assess and log every component of the existing garden to create a highly detailed plan. This includes precise measurements of area, boundaries, levels, hard-landscaping and of course every plant and tree. We also measure the building footprint and detail all the windows and doors to show the key views and access lines across the garden. We assess what is good about the garden, what is frustrating, and what is bad or just in the wrong place.

garden survey pencil scribbles

For larger schemes we will engage a surveyor to do a full topographical survey.

topographical garden survey

We then use the survey as the starting point for our discussions with the client and to establish the key components of the brief. By analysing the site and talking about what the client currently has, we can establish what their frustrations are and then figure out what are their likes and dislikes. We find that solving a problem is always more beneficial than just coming up with a wish list. The brief needs to include four key elements: practicalities; aesthetics; maintenance and likely costs. We will end up with a summary of notes, discussions and sketches, which go on to form the basis of the design.

Next week we will talk about conceptual design drawings.