When Should You Commission A Garden Designer?

It’s that wonderful time of year when the sun has started to shine, kids are out playing in the street, the evenings are stretching longer every day and flowers, leaves and blossom are unfurling everywhere. And with that, our phone and email are going like tickets for an Adele concert with enquiries from people wanting their garden done. So when is the right time to to commission a garden designer?…

Commission a garden designer at Vialii

One of our recent garden designs


Well, obviously we are delighted to hear from you all year round. The most difficult thing we have to deal with at this time of year (other than a massive workload and two energetic under-5s!) is managing clients’ expectations in terms of time-scales. Every year we know that as soon as the sun shines the phone will ring with people wanting their garden transformed before summer and sadly, we can rarely work to those time-scales. So here are a few tips on when is best to commission a garden designer and some info on our process…

Art deco summerhouse

Creating a magical garden takes time

The optimum time to get in touch with us is in Autumn. Take the summer to spend lots of time in your garden, take notes of what you like (and don’t like). Where are the sunny areas? What plants do you want to keep? What do you want to include in the garden and use it for? A good designer will be booked up several weeks (or at this time of year a few months!) ahead so figure that into your schedule. A well considered design will be created over 6-12 weeks ensuring we have covered every detail and ticked all of your boxes. By taking our time over the design process we will have an opportunity to build up an even better working relationship and make sure you are happy through every stage of the design and build.  Our in-house landscaping team are commonly booked up three months in advance too (they are pretty wonderful so you can understand why!) so if you allow six months before you want your garden build to commence then you should have plenty of wiggle room.

Garden design by Vialii

Perfecting your garden design takes time

As well as a “masterplan”, there are often other drawings which need to be pulled together including construction drawings, lighting layouts and planting plans. There are no “back of a fag packet” sketches to be seen around these parts!

At all stages of your design we will keep you posted on our landscaping schedule so you will have an idea of when the build is likely to take place. We will keep you posted on costs too so you can decide if you want to phase your garden build or do it all at once.

There may be third party elements to your garden build which we need to factor in as well. Items such as sculptures, water features, bespoke gates etc will all have lead times which need to be considered.

Sculpture by Steve James

An amazing sculpture by Steve James going into one of our garden designs

In some gardens we may even have to get planning permission which can easily add another 8-12 weeks to your lead times.

So there is a lot to consider when you are thinking about when to commission a garden designer and we want to ensure that such an exciting journey meets your expectations every step of the way. We are incredibly lucky to have wonderful clients who are very patient and are happy to wait for our services. We would be delighted to help you too, just don’t ask us to come round tomorrow 😉

All at Vialii

National Gardening Week 2016

Today is the start of the 2016 National Gardening Week and to celebrate I have collated my eight favourite things I recommend that you do this week…

Get outside and have fun this National Gardening Week

Get outside and have fun this National Gardening Week

Get Painting

I love all kinds of painting and this is the perfect time of year to get your garden looking spick and span. From fences and veg beds to playhouses and sand-pits, get outdoors and not only make everything look nice but keep it protected for another year.

My playhouse is lovely and fresh ready for a summer of play

My playhouse is lovely and fresh ready for a summer of play

Top dress your borders & pots

Like us, plants need nutrients to keep them healthy and growing strong. To do this we need to add compost to the garden and guess what else? Poo! Yes, actual poo! Not ours of course, farm manure. Well, I am going to leave that part to daddy! Poooeeeeee!!

Go visit a new garden

It’s always great to go visit a new garden and there are some amazing ones all over the UK. If you’re in London, go visit the new Magic Garden at Hampton Court. The RHS gardens and the Botanic Gardens are always worth a visit. More locally the maze at Scone Palace is a-maze-ing! And in a few weeks it will be the annual open day at the Garden of Cosmic Speculation. To read M&D’s list of their favourite gardens to visit, click here.

The gardens at Levens Hall in the Lake District are well worth a visit

The gardens at Levens Hall in the Lake District are well worth a visit

Plant a new veg

You don’t need much space to grow veg. Why not try growing a courgette in a pot on your back door step. Or some tumbler tomatoes in a window box. It’s cool to watch them growing and yummy to eat. Go on, try one this year and see how it goes…

Spike your lawn

Spiking your lawn is a great way of getting air into a compacted lawn and letting the grass grow better (rather than just moss, thatch and weeds!) Try that as well as some lawn feeds and scarifying to get your grass in tip top condition for the summer.

Tilda helps spike our lawn

Tilda helps spike our lawn

Sow wildflowers

There are always organisations giving out free packets of wildflowers to take advantage of. Use them in a quiet corner of your garden or see if you can find a piece of local wasteland which you can cheer up this summer.

Play a garden game

We are lucky to have a wonderful range of garden games from BigJigs which we will be featuring soon in one of my blogs. From crazy golf and skittles to quoits and croquet, there is  a great range of fun games to invite your friends round to play. Or, of course, the old favourites of hide ‘n’ seek and tag are fun garden games and don’t cost a penny.

Anyone for a game of croquet?

Anyone for a game of croquet?

Make mud soup

This is currently my favourite garden activity. Anything can be added to mud soup (herbs, sand, water, stones, you name it) but the base ingredient is, of course, mud! Mummy recommends rainsuits and wellies for this game!

Hopefully you will do at least ONE of these activities during this year’s National Gardening Week, but wherever you are and whatever you do I hope you really do love your garden.

For more information on National Gardening Week please click here.

Hugs & kisses,

Lulu xx