Landscaping your garden this winter – top tips from a professional designer
- Credit: Archant
Summer is well and truly over; autumn is underway and now is an ideal time to start considering landscaping your garden.
Richard Fox, principal landscape architect and services manager for Lockhart Garratt in Chipping Norton, offers his thoughts on planning a project this season.
Q: Can you tell us a little about Lockhart-Garratt?
The company was founded in 1998, primarily as a forestry and woodland management consultancy. Over the years we have added a number of environmental services, including: landscape design and architecture, ecology, arboriculture and soils and land restoration. Today, we have offices in Chipping Norton and Corby (Northamptonshire) and provide environmental consultancy advice on all project types from large-scale developments to individual properties.
Q: What does a landscape architect do?
We work closely with the client to develop designs in line with their aspirations, taking on as much or as little of the work as the client wishes. Some people seek help visualising their space and others already have a vision that they just need help developing and implementing. Some clients enjoy getting their hands dirty and others want a low-maintenance design to be planted out for them. As a landscape designer we can provide any client with a plan to follow.
The value of the garden for wildlife is also a key consideration and our landscape team work closely with our ecologists to focus the design to maximise its value whether for bees and insects, birds or amphibians and reptiles. The creation of a wildlife pond or a pollinator rich flowering border can quickly see new inhabitants moving in which provides more than just aesthetic pleasure for the human residents!
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Whatever the size of the project, we can oversee its implementation. With foresters and arboriculturists in house we can also manage tree removal works and the installation of mature planting stock.
Q: Is this a good time of the year to be considering a landscape project?
Yes. People have spent a lot of time in their gardens this summer and may be looking to make some changes. In terms of planting, it is often more appropriate to do so from November to the end of March. Furthermore, by thinking about it now, you could get the work done before spring, when plants will start to establish and ready to enjoy throughout the summer.
Q: How long does the planning and design stage of landscaping take?
It depends on the site. The design process can be fairly flexible, depending on the size of the site and level of input a client is looking for. Certainly, within a month or so we can present them with our initial thoughts and draft designs, and decisions can start to be made.
Q: What are the challenges?
At this time of year the biggest issue is the weather. If you have a particularly wet winter, and the space turns into a quagmire, it becomes difficult and you can end up compacting the soil; of course it does depend on the site conditions.
Q: How much does a landscape design cost?
It depends on the size of the space and the level of detail. Quite often the client will set a budget and we can advise what they are likely to be able to achieve. It may be that we can focus on one area and come back to the project at a later date. After all, a garden is forever evolving.