What Does a Garden Designer Do?

Updated: Jul 8

If you are thinking of re-designing your garden, but aren’t sure whether a garden designer is necessary, this blog post about the role of a garden designer might help you decide.


Firstly, a garden designer’s job is not to tell you what your garden should look like, but instead to help you realise your vision.


Contemporary courtyard garden in Cambridge England with blue and grey fibreglass pots and a Cercidiphyllum japonicum tree in the centre

At an initial consultation a garden designer will ask you how you plan to use your garden and which elements you need to incorporate, such as a bike shed (this is Cambridge), vegetable patch or children’s play area. A good garden designer will ask a little about your lifestyle and how that might impact on the time you have available for gardening. If you work full time and have ten children, there won’t be much time for weeding, so designs should be tailored to suit the level of care you will be able to give the garden on completion.


Modern urban garden in cambridge UK with clay paviers and dutch bricks, garden studio and shou sugi ban cladding and slatted contemporary fence

You may only know the basics of what you want, perhaps simply that you like a natural style; or that your new garden must be full of roses; so, this is where a garden designer can really help to organise your thoughts. They will discuss your preferences for particular styles of garden, colours and plants, and offer creative ideas and inspiration to help draw out your vision, whilst keeping your requirements and budget in mind.


Even if you have a much firmer idea of what you want in terms of style and colour, a garden designer will work out the practicalities of how your ideas will work in relation to your house, the wider landscape and the aspect of your garden. They will come up with solutions that perhaps you hadn’t thought of that really bring out the best in your garden.


Hughes Hall Cambridge College garden with converted shipping container as a porters' lodge, benches made from sleepers and contmporary garden planting style

It’s important to find a garden designer who you can relate to easily, who will ‘get’ your vision and who will give their own ideas freely. Do your research and check out the projects your potential designer has worked on. You can find the latest Cultivate projects within Cambridge here: https://www.cultivategardens.co.uk/gallery


Once instructed, your garden designer will come up with a range of options for your garden and explain the implications of each in terms of aesthetics, budget and practicality. For example, it may be aesthetically pleasing to have brand new fences that your neighbours can’t see over, but this cost may impact on your plans for the paved seating area you so wanted at the sunny end of your garden. You might love the sharp look of a minimalistic garden, but if you don’t have time for gardening, those sleek lines will soon disappear, and your garden will take on a wilder style. Your garden designer will talk through all the options with you and help you prioritise the elements that are most important to you and your lifestyle.


Modern garden in cambridge england with a hardwood pergola, raised beds made from polished concrete and a tropical planting style including banana tree

During the design process, a garden designer will survey your site to fully understand the space and to work out issues such as soil quality, how much sun that giant conifer actually blocks out, and the condition of existing hard landscaping and fencing, and what if anything, needs removing.


Two male landscape gardeners looking at constructions plans in a garden in cambdige england

They will use CAD (Computer Aided Design) to draw up images in 3D which make it easy to visualise how your garden concept will look. Your garden designer will advise you on different types of decking, fencing and paving, and can help you decide which to prioritise whilst staying within your budget. They will also bring with them substantial plant knowledge which is essential when planning which plants should go where.




Once you are happy with your design your garden designer can act as a project manager for the construction of the garden. Some will outsource to landscaping companies, but Cultivate Gardens offers both a design and build service, one of only a handful of landscape businesses in Cambridge to do this. It keeps everything ‘in-house’ and speeds up the process. We also offer aftercare services such as maintenance schedules and plant management plans which will help keep your garden in tip top condition.



So if you think your Cambridge garden project would benefit from having a garden designer on board then get in touch today, we’d love to help!