We offer a variety of service options to cater for individual needs, centered on the degree of intervention you require:-
Consultations & Advisory visits
If you feel you are well versed in the intricacies of horticultural science and the art of landscaping but simply require a little further knowledge or insight, or simply a second opinion to get you back on track, we will happily visit your site, by appointment, at a competitive hourly rate. Once on site we would need a little history and some insight into your garden’s problem areas. It is suggested that you take notes as we chat to absorb those ridiculous Latin plant names and confusing chemical names that those in the know like to work with. The client can then institute our recommendations at their own pace.
If you know you are going to need professional landscaping intervention at some level for your garden, we will visit your garden, obtain a brief of your requirements and if applicable take some basic measurements with a view to submitting a written quote. This is done free of charge to the client and may involve one part of the garden or the entire site.
In the event that the client’s requirements are sufficiently straight forward and a detailed garden design is not required, a sketch plan may be produced, at no cost to the client. The intention of a sketch plan is to supplement a quote and is not intended to be a fully comprehensive, professionally produced landscape plan. To get started, we will require a site plan of the property or the portions under review, from which we can take measurements and use as a basis for our design.
The nature of a sketch plan is that it will be a rough proposal and that dimensions and quantities may change and provision will be made for this in the compilation of our bill of quantities. The proposals on a sketch plan are usually fairly basic and generally suit clients who require a basic low maintenance, low key kind of garden. In the event that a client requires a basic plan but intends to have the installation completed by them, or by others, a sketch plan can be completed at a nominal fee. In fairness to both parties, we do, however, request that this is indicated up front. Sketch plans remain the property of the company, unless paid for.
Landscape Garden Design
These designs are charged for at a competitive hourly rate and will be quoted for in advance. It is intended that a landscape garden design is a lengthy and intensive design intervention expressly intending to maximize the fit between the client’s requirements and the site. The site will be visited initially by the designer to ascertain the scope of the project and a quote will be completed. Landscape garden designs will be quoted for on an hourly basis as this is fairest to all parties concerned.
Some basic measurements may be completed if the site is sufficiently straight forward. Once we have a written authorization to proceed with the landscape garden design we will set a time with the client for an initial consultation. It is now that the brief is fleshed out and needs to become more specific. It helps if the client can give us an indication of their likes and dislikes in terms of their preferences for colour, design styles, themes, right down to individual plant species that they may or may not like. To help with this, clients may go through our web site portfolio, or use gardening books or magazines, or photos of other gardens they may have seen.
A clear understanding of how they want to use their garden and a needs, and wants, analysis of the client’s, their children and pets will enable us to ensure the garden develops in a practical and efficient manner. It is essential for the garden to be a success that the style and theme of the garden fit with the site, the neighbourhood, the architecture of on site buildings and the personality and lifestyle of the client. Landscape design is an art form and there are usually many options that can be used in a design and the garden is most successful when a client is open to the recommendations based on the designer’s intuition and an endeavor to create a harmonious and ecologically balanced landscaped garden.
Every element in the garden should fit or relate to an overall theme and should be implemented in consideration to the fundamental elements of good design, being:
- The considered use of colour
- The correct use of plant material suited to the macro & micro climatic conditions of the site
Consideration of the attributes and parameters of the site are considered during the design process. This will include, but not be limited to, screening for privacy and climatic conditions, security (both physical and emotional), views (both good and bad) and existing site features such as rock outcrops, surface water, soil conditions, topography, aspect. In today’s climate of heightened environmental awareness, all designs are developed to encourage wildlife and birdlife into the garden, and to ensure ongoing maintenance and utilization of the garden accrues minimal impact on the environment.
Landscape Garden Design Process
Landscape garden design is a lengthy and involved process during which numerous design possibilities are explored until the ideal result is achieved. An accurate survey needs to be completed of the site to establish the correct positioning of existing structures and features on site. The provision of an accurate site plan assists tremendously in reducing the costs for us to complete this part of the landscape garden design process. Usually site plans are purchased with the property or are available from the borough offices. Any architects drawings of the house or additions to the house will also help.
Once the site is captured an initial pencil drawing of our proposal is produced for discussion with the client. This allows the client to get a feel for what the garden will look like once complete. Ideas on layout and features will be discussed, without necessarily going into details on plant material proposed in the design.
Where the project requires, profiles and perspectives will be completed to supplement a design. Only once the client is happy with the layout will we go into specifics of plant material, combinations and selection of accessories. It is then that the drawing is inked, labelled, reproduced and coloured. A bill of quantities is produced for completion of the quote.
Landscape Garden Design Costs
The creation of a landscape garden design is a lengthy and involved process and if produced professionally is worthy of a market related fee. The fees for the completion will be disclosed prior to commencement. Industry norms indicate that it is only fair to both parties that a fee is asked for the completion of the design. It should be noted that only the design is charged for and not the time taken to compile a quote. Quotes, as in every other industry, are completed by us at risk. It is difficult to say up front how many hours it will take to complete the landscape garden design process.
From experience we can gauge how long it will take to complete a design according to the scale of the project, but where a client is indecisive, it is only fair that charges for revisions are borne by the client. It is therefore in the client’s best interests to carefully consider their brief and to discuss their requirements with all interested and affected parties prior to meeting with the designer. Often in putting their thoughts in writing helps to clarify their thoughts and gives us a written guideline against which to develop our landscape garden design proposal.
This is always a thorny issue and clients are often reserved on this matter as they have little idea of the costs of establishing a professionally installed garden. Often they want to see what they can get for their moneys worth before putting out a figure. This is an understandable and natural response. But asking for a landscape garden design to be completed without some indication of a budget is wasteful to all parties concerned. Everyone has an upper ceiling to which they are willing to go and if this is declared prior to the commencement of any design will ensure the commission is completed satisfactorily for all parties concerned.
While we always try to work within the stated budget, if the scope of works is greater than the budget allowed, it is preferable to make this known to the client in advance. Where a budget is not sufficient, we can recommend less expensive alternatives, a simpler design, or that only certain sections of the site could be looked at initially. Where a landscape garden design is requested for the entire site and the installation quote exceeds the client’s budget it may work if sections of the garden are developed in phases as funds become available. It could also be proposed that we get the installation completed to a point and then the balance be completed by the client. What does work well in this instance is when a client has a comprehensive landscape garden design completed by us which they can follow and call us in to assist with parts that they themselves cannot complete.
Where a client wants to complete the installation of the landscape garden design on their own, we can assist with the sourcing and supply of materials for the installation. As professionals we understand the process and its limitations. It is in our best interests that the client understand this and entrusts us with the successful completion of the project, trusting our professional integrity, understanding our passion for what we do and understanding that it is in our best long term interests to develop long standing associations with our clients. The bulk of our work does not come from the completion of exhaustive landscape garden designs or installations of entire gardens. Most of our work is the completion of ad hoc installations of the various elements within the garden. These include, but are not necessarily limited to, the supply and installation of the following elements of a landscaped garden. This allows our clients to select which services they wish to engage us for.
Supply of Plants and Materials
Our staff of professional landscape designers and horticulturists is in constant contact with nurseries and suppliers of landscape hard goods and accessories.
As a result we offer a service of supply only of any materials required by our clients for their garden should they wish to go the DIY route.
Site Clearing & Site Preparation
We offer comprehensive, professional service of site clearing. This includes leveling and minor tree felling works. Site clearing & site preparation is a critical and time consuming forerunner to an installation which should never be short cut.
Hard Landscaping and Construction
We have a permanent contingent of building staff in our employ, which means we can complete all minor building works specified on our plans. This includes walls, staircases, water features and pergolas.
All paving works are completed in house. While we have preferred paving suppliers, we will work in any material the client requests. This includes dry jointed, open jointed and wet jointed paving laid of a concrete slab base, in brick, concrete slabs, cobbles and tiles. Gravel is also installed as an inexpensive alternative to paving and is always a winner for adding character and atmosphere to a garden.
Retaining Walls & Dry Walling
We will undertake the erection of retaining walls using prefabricated retainer blocks, subject, where necessary, to input of a qualified engineer if the height of the walls exceeds the limits imposed by the prevailing municipality. We undertake the installation of dry stack rock walling. This is a time consuming & costly medium to work with and is seldom recommended unless there is on site a ready source of suitable sized and shaped rocks.
This is becoming an increasingly popular finish requiring artistry and patience. These works are undertaken on water features, retaining walls and, on a limited scale, on building works.
Pots and Garden Features
We are the KwaZulu Natal agents for Wilson’s Stone products, and it is recommended that you visit their website on www.wilsonstone.co.za. We are also agents for Lovisa, Akzento and Silk Road Arts. We have a wide variety of catalogues and availability lists for other suppliers and will assist our clients in finding the right feature for any situation.
Minor irrigation works using micro irrigation components are completed in house. Large irrigation installations are completed by a subcontractor.
A carefully installed & well maintained lawn is an asset to any garden. While thorough attention to detail is undertaken in the careful preparation and installation of a lawn, post installation maintenance and topdressing is essential for it to be perfect.
We are regularly commended by our clients for our uncompromising attention to detail for the preparation of planting holes. Our unique blend of only the very best organics and part organic, slow release granular fertiliser gives us spectacular results in a very short time. A properly prepared planting site is an invaluable investment for the success of your garden.
We offer a comprehensive garden maintenance service to a select cross section of corporate and private gardens. This includes turning and composting of garden beds, fertilizing, pest control, weed control, control of fungal infections, lifting, dividing and replanting ground covers, lawn maintenance, tree surgery, rose pruning, trimming of shrubs and hedges. Maintenance is quoted for on a time basis and is usually per gardener per day or part thereof. Our horticulturists time on site is charged per hour with an initial call out of one hours fee. Basic incidental materials will be charged out per application. Should a large amount of materials be needed at any stage, a supplementary quotation will be completed and submitted to the client. Upon request a comprehensive maintenance plan will be drawn up for the year so that the client can follow the program of activities required to keep his garden in peak shape.
This is a step up service to our garden maintenance where, on an ongoing basis, we will maintain a garden while simultaneously upgrading and developing the garden. This is particularly suitable for large, established gardens and means we can work to a smoothed monthly budget and complete the revamp of the garden over an extended period of time.
Similar to maintenance, the client will be charged on an hourly or day rate which will be supplemented by a budget amount to be spent on completing improvements to the garden.
Pest & weed identification and control
We will undertake ad hoc pest and weed identification and institute a control program to follow. This is quoted for on a per application basis and we will repeat applications as and when necessary until the problem is brought under control.