Photo Copyright Sophie Skipper Photography
They say you can take the teacher out of the classroom but can't take the classroom out of the teacher! This year I've had the privilege of working with Rivenhall Primary School in Essex, providing them with guidance on the planning of their new Wildlife Area. I tailored the support for teaching and learning, with the emphasis on pupils' leadership of the project. With lessons on surveying, basic garden design and allottment planning to look forward to from September, the children really will be taking charge. Watch this space for developments.
If your garden has got a bit out of control and you want some help to sort out the weeds from the lovely things, I can help. It is lovely to salvage an old garden after a time of neglect. Sometimes life gets in the way - health, travel, other priorities, and the garden can get a bit lost. Whether its a case of filling a few of your garden bags, or a small skip you've hired for the job, I can clear away the weeds, prune overgrown shrubs to give your lovely plants a chance, and help you fill any gaps with beautiful new plants. Prices: from £120 for a half day's work, £240 for a full day
Is there a bit of your lawn that just keeps dying? A shrub that's got out of control? Not sure when or how to prune a particular plant for the best flower or foliage? Do you want tips for encouraging wildlife or a bit of winter interest? Are you stuck with how to make your garden a more useful or beautiful space? Perhaps you have some design ideas for your garden and would like to run them by an expert before taking the plunge... Kate can help. Prices: from £120 for a morning or afternoon's consultation visit - this includes time to talk with you, time to look carefully at the garden and feed back verbally, or time to demonstrate techniques. Make sure you have a notebook handy, you’ll be given a lot of information! If you would like a written report of the visit with recommendations for improvements and actions, including images of relevant plants this will be from £90 for a digital copy (price of report following a morning or afternoon consultation visit. More lengthy consultations may result in a lengthier report, which would be reflected in the price.)
My design focus has a bias towards soft landscaping, wildlife habitat, biodiversity and permeable surfaces so if you just want acres of hard paving and a handful of box balls I'm not the designer for you. That being said, I love a bit of quality stone, porcelain, brick, boulder, pond, pool, waterfall, level changes and enjoy reimagining spaces for flow and use, with careful attention to proportion, shape and style. When redesigning a space I like it to feel like it belongs - not jarring or awkward, taking account of the context: architecture, scale, history and the style of the interior
Following an initial consultation meeting, where you get to explain fully what you are looking for and I can discuss this further with you to develop a really clear design brief, I then like to take things a stage at a time. First it’s important to clarify whether the things you want are achievable within your budget. High impact improvements to an outdoor space can be achieved with even the smallest budget, but some elements - excavation and building work, top quality materials, mature trees, machinery hire, labour, cost. It’s important to be realistic about this from the outset.
The design process then goes through the following stages: site survey and analysis, intial concept drawings, through to final design drawings, planting plans and any other technical drawings necessary to the brief which can be passed on to your contractors. I would budget for upwards of £700 for design fees unless you have a really tiny garden! The fee breakdown will be set out for you in your initial quote following the initial consultation meeting.
If you want me to oversee the project during construction that is a further option. I also offer plant sourcing, planting and plant maintenance guides as additional services.
Each project is different and can develop in different ways depending on what is required, but I aim to get everything clearly set out at the beginning with a realistic estimate of timescale and costings.
My Planting Design Service is Flexible so you can take as much or as little support from me as you want. The process is broken down into distinct stages that are paid for separately. The following example is for a small front or courtyard garden. Prices of course will vary according to the size and complexity of the space:
Initial Consultation - This is where you explain what you want, with as much detail as possible
To get the most from the consultation make sure you have done some thinking about what you want - budget, style, colour, level of maintenance. Be realistic. Some schemes need a bit of care and attention. If you are desperate for a particular high maintenance scheme, have you got the time to look after it, or the budget to hire a gardener to keep it looking good?
Stage 1) Site Analysis, Measurements, Soil Texture and pH Testing
The information gathering stage - what's in the area, what do you want to keep? Remove? Which parts are shady? Dry? Are there any areas that need screening or opening up? Where is the prevailing wind coming from? The sun's path? What style are your buildings? The surrounding environment? Now is a good time to share any further thoughts you have on what you want or don't want.
Prices from £90
Stage 2) Design
Using the site information gathered during Stage 1 and the information you have given me about your preferences and budget I will design a planting scheme for you. (The example above has plant names on a separate page) I will send you pictures of the plants used in the scheme in addition to the planting plan. The cost of the plan includes one revision, in case there is something you would like me to change.
Prices from £245
Stage 3) Plant Sourcing
If you would like me to source and organise delivery of your plants I am happy to do this. I work with a range of good quality plant nurseries. The cost of this will depend on the plants used and will include delivery and any other sundries like soil improver and mulch, as well as time spent on admin and nursery visits - these usually only necessary for specimen shrubs or trees
Stage 4) Planting
If you would like me to set out and plant your new plants for you, I charge £120 for a morning or afternoon, £240 for a full day, £420 for two full days and so on. If you would like to work alongside me or get a trusted team of friends, family or volunteers to help out this can be a good way to save money and learn some good tips too.
My Terms and Conditions are available on request.
As a long-standing volunteer at The Beth Chatto Gardens, I am continually picking up excellent gardening tips to add to my expertise developed studying horticulture at Writtle College. If you would like to enquire about hiring me for seasonal or regular plant or border maintenance, such as shrub or perennial pruning, bulb planting, weeding, filling gaps or adding interest for different seasons I'd be happy to hear from you.
What I don't do - mass clearance and waste disposal, large tree pruning, strimming, chainsaw work, application of herbicide and pesticide (I may get these licenses in the future. I will update this site if so)
I have Public Liabilty and Professional Indemnity Insurance
My Terms and Conditions are available on request
GDPR Clients' personal details (name, address, phone number) are stored securely and will only be passed on to third parties with your prior permission for the following reasons: delivering goods to your home; referral to potential contractors to undertake work for you; referral to potential designers to carry out work for you if I am too busy.
You have the right to be 'forgotten' so if you would like your details removed from the Border Designs database once work is completed just let me know.
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