Design process

A landscape design is an architectural process with a number of essential steps to follow. Below is an outline of the steps in the process to develop the master design, delivered as a colour rendered plan (map view) drawing to scale, on an A1 board. 

1. Initial consultation 

An initial visit to take the brief for the design, walk around the garden and discuss initial thoughts, issues and capture requirements. 

2. Survey 

An accurate measurement of the whole site, including the exact positioning of all existing hard and soft elements. The professional survey is created digitally in CAD to an agreed scale and used as the template for the design master. 

3. Site analysis 

In this step, through a second site visit or as part of the survey, the current conditions are thoroughly assessed and recorded. This includes recording environmental conditions, such as aspect and wind direction, as well as identifying plants, testing the soil and taking into consideration any wildlife or local factors, such as neighbours or tree preservation orders, for example. 

4. Brief definition 

A write-up of the initial discussion, stating the key mandatory requirements of the brief and capturing all the desired features and benefits of the new garden. The designer will also include a brief description of the design intention. This step ensures that there is consensus on the desired outcome, before the design begins. 

5. Outline design 

The creative design process begins. Division of space, boundaries and the balance between soft and hard landscaping is developed into initial plan sketches. Movement around the garden and the location of key features is designed and some hard material options are considered. 

6. Initial design meeting 

A meeting to share and discuss the outline design proposal, assisted by the initial drawings and mood board imagery and examples. Any concerns are addressed and additional requirements can be incorporated at this stage, before moving into the master design. 

7. Master design and 3D scale model 

The design is now finalised into full detail, illustrating the entire site into one plan with all features, positions and structural planting shown. Elevated drawings may be included of bespoke features and all hard landscaping material choices are detailed. A final, colour rendered master plan is delivered, to scale, on A1 paper/board. If required an accurate life-like scale model is created, so that the true vision of the garden can be communicated with no doubts, before construction begins. 

 The master plan shows: 

  • Division of space – defining all boundaries and specific location of all features (e.g. decking, borders, pergolas, meadow, fire-pit, pond etc). 
  • Choice of materials (e.g. paving, timber, brickwork), detailing the design of boundaries and features.  
  • Overview of plant choices and positioning of structural planting (e.g. trees, hedging, borders).
  • Levels – detail of any changes in levels and use of steps, ramps or raised areas. 


8. Final design meeting 

A final meeting to present the design and discuss next steps.

Next steps can include: 

  • Planting design – planting plan and schedule. 
  • Construction detailing and setting out plans. 
  • Construction specification. 
  • Construction tender. 


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