Wild flower borders and a spacious lawn are features of this family garden, Pinner

What is landscape and garden design?


There’s one thing that we can say for certain about garden and landscape design: no two projects are ever the same. During our 20 years in business, we have seen everything from tiny urban gardens to large country estates.

Then there are all the ever-changing trends in planting schemes and materials, not to mention the multitude of soil types, aspects and drainage issues that we have to contend with as a landscape design and build company.

But that’s what makes our job so interesting and challenging in the first place. In our Journal, using our in-depth expertise and knowledge, we will aim to cover all of these topics and more, guiding you through every step of the landscape design process.

Hard landscaping underway, circular paved feature edged with a steel flowerbed border

Setting out the hard landscaping areas will dictate how the garden is used, and therefore careful consideration for this must be undertaken at an early stage of the design process

Rustic red brick path contrasts with the lush green of adjacent planting

How the hard landscaping materials work with the planting will affect the overall feel of the garden

We also hope this Journal will inspire you to make your own garden even better and get the most from your outdoor space. As well as best practice, we’ll share with you some tales of where things didn’t go so well.

So, you may be wondering, what is landscape and garden design all about? Quite simply, it’s the creation and management of an outside space that has a positive effect. You might well ask, what is a positive effect? Well, it’s very difficult to define exactly because one person’s idea of what a good design looks like may be completely different to the next’s. Some people might like to have a highly-formal garden with manicured lawns, topiary and water features, while others may prefer the natural beauty of a wild meadow garden.

It may be that we want to use it more practically, doubling up as a playground and football pitch, or as a BBQ and dining area and a workspace/reading area.

Hardwood verandah with steel balustrade

This garden in Berkhamsted was all about creating as much useable space on a heavily sloping site

Hardwood steps through mixed plantin in Berkhamsted

Whereas in this similarly sloping site the objective was to create as much planting interest as possible

Whether we want our garden to serve a specific purpose or just to look nice, above all, it should be a space that we can enjoy for years to come. Landscape design shouldn’t be merely viewed as a product that you buy off the shelf, like in a supermarket, but rather as a gradual process that evolves over time.

It’s a given that our garden is going to change with age because of the micro-climate and environment it exists in, whether that’s the weather or the man-made alterations that we do, both structurally and in terms of maintenance. That includes taking into consideration a range of factors such as the aspect, soil type and drainage as well as the materials we already have at our disposal, and any excavation work we want to carry out or additions we would like to make. On top of that is looking at the bigger picture of how our garden will fit within the context of the surrounding landscape.

Of course, there are also plenty of problems that we will have to overcome along the way and, equally, opportunities to take advantage of. But the most important thing to remember is that our garden should reflect our needs and be a place that we can enjoy all year round, and one that will also enable us to reconnect with nature.