You know when you’re out somewhere, mingling and meeting new people there’s the, ‘hi, how are you?’, ‘how do you know so and so?’, ‘where do you live?’ and the best one of all ‘what do you do?’ As you can imagine my answer is Garden Designer, because, well, that is what I do. Invariably it is met with responses such as ‘ooh’, ‘wow’, ‘awww that’s great’ and my favourite, ‘you should come around to my place’. People seem to like that there is a profession out there tittled garden designer and so do I. A little bit more chit chat follows, with me contributing that, ‘I have my own garden design business, it’s called Serendipity Garden Designs’, blah blah blah. I can see the person mulling this over in their head and I think what they are imagining is me, strolling through gardens all day long, doing the odd bit of hands in soil action, putting up a few pergolas, laying a lovely meandering path then sitting down with a glass of what ever I want at the end of the day, happy and ready to do it all again the following day. While I wish that the first and last were true, I have to admit this is not at all what I do. Someone recently said to me after the ‘what do you do’ question, that I should be used to getting up early. My response, ‘Ummm no, I’m a garden designer, not a landscape contractor’- silence.
So, if I don’t get up early and by early I mean at your place of business at 6.00am and I don’t have my hands in the soil all day long, what it is that I do at Serendipity Garden Designs? Well, I create beautiful outdoor spaces for you, your family and your visitors to enjoy day after day, week after week, year after year. Gardens that are timeless, invigorating, peaceful and nurturing. Gardens that respect the surrounding landscape and sit quietly within their environment. I am the architect of your outdoor space, the interpreter of your garden dreams and the cog in the wheel that communicates what will be done and how it will be done to the landscape contractor that builds it.
The process from overgrown urban jungle to creating your own garden oasis goes like this;
I spend time with the client and ask lots of questions like, what do you do? what do you enjoy? how do you spend your spare time? I ask about their family, what inspires them, what their dreams are, what they enjoy most about their house and current garden, what they would like to improve and what their dream garden looks like. It’s also the ideal time to talk budget and get a sense of how much time they are prepared to spend maintaining their new garden.
Once I get a sense of the garden owners I spend time in the garden observing it’s current state, the views in and out, the topography, aspect – where light and shade fall, soil, drainage, architecture of the home, vegetation that is doing well and not so well and significant trees both in the garden and surrounding it. I let my imagination go.
- After bidding farewell to my new clients I head on home, armed with information, direction, photographs and a wee spring in my step. This part is the creative, exciting, dreamy part of the process, when I get out my drawing pad and my pencil and I draw lines and shapes, jot down ideas, get inspired and find myself with a drawing suitable to call a garden.
- I then draw the design in CAD with the help of a site survey or architectural drawings and develope the ideas further. I select the hardscape materials, the plants and ensure through the entire process that the direction I am taking is in keeping with the brief of the clients and the environmental conditions, keeping in mind how the space will feel, how it can be used and its longevity.
- Once all of the i’s have been dotted and t’s crossed I gather up the concept plan and all the supporting material and present the plan to the client. I walk them through the design step by step, the philosphy, the materials, the plants and give them a sense of what it will be like to be present within their garden once it is complete.
- If the client requests changes to be made at this stage then I make them.
- Now, let’s get this thing built! If the drawings require council submission I do that and if not I engage a landscape contractor to built the garden. I watch carefully to ensure the design and the building are one and the same and rejoice with the clients once the garden is in and they are sitting happily within it with refreshing drink in hand.
- It sounds easy doesn’t it? And usually it is. It is a process where by all parties involved must be on the same page, that the dream ending is the same for everyone.
So, that’s what happens at Serendipity Garden Designs HQ.
Until next time.