Philip Edwards Garden designer East and Est Sussex and Surrey

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How much or how little we do depends on the wishes of the garden owners. We can simply offer advice on how to make improvements to a garden and what to plant. More often, we are asked to produce more developed design ideas and planting schemes. If the go-ahead is given, we can manage the tasks necessary to make changes to the garden, including any construction work. We can also source suitable plants and put them in place.

The start point is always a visit to a garden and a without-commitment chat with the owners. I like to ask questions and to listen to what they are hoping to achieve and what perhaps they have in mind. I may suggest some initial ideas and show a few photographs of possible solutions.

If the owners say they may want to proceed, the next step is to produce a sketch plan and arrange another meeting. Afterwards a more formal proposal will be drawn up, with details of construction work and indications of shrubs and trees to be planted. This will be accompanied by a scaled colour drawing with construction specifications, materials and planting schemes, plus a cost estimate broken down into its various components.

Installation will vary according to the particular nature of the project. At minimum this will involve co-ordinating the hard and soft landscaping, with site visits. There may be a need to organise contractors and labour. There are often problems that come to light during the construction process and these I help solve.

Some owners like to go out and find plants of their choice and put them in the garden themselves. If customers prefer, however, I can both supply and plant the items for around the same price as they would cost just to buy from a garden centre.

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