Soft landscaping2018-04-26T06:38:07+01:00

Soft landscaping

Green Onion Landscaping have been designing and creating beautiful soft landscaped gardens in Stockton, Darlington and Middlesbrough for over 25 years.

Every garden in Teesside, Tees Valley, North Yorkshire or Durham is completely unique, with its own complications and idiosyncrasies. Every owner of every garden is different too. Your preferences for your garden design and planting will never be quite the same as anyone else’s. The following may help you to understand and appreciate the costs involved in designing and planting a new garden. Employing Green Onion landscaping, who are experienced, professional landscape gardeners, is really about tapping into our knowledge and experience to ensure that you can confidently have what you want in your new garden.  The amount you pay for your newly planted garden will depend upon how many feature plants you want, how large these are, how much initial impact you want to create with your shrubs, trees, flowers and trees. The more plants you use and the bigger the plants/trees/shrubs are the more expensive the end cost will be.

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What is soft landscaping

The soft landscaping and planting of a new or existing garden space is the most exciting part of any garden landscaping project. Plants, trees and shrubs planted in the correct places will bring your hard landscaping to life adding colour, texture and year round interest in your garden space. Green Onion Landscaping offer a second-to-none soft landscaping design and installation service. Green Onion Landscaping’s highly skilled team take each and everyone of our garden/planting design projects seriously.

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When Green Onion Landscaping design and install a garden of any shape or size, our aim is to create the most beautiful, colourful, glorious smelling garden space for each and every one of our clients’. We are extremely passionate about our work, the plants we use and our garden design ideas and skills. Green Onion enjoy being able to create garden spaces with the ‘wow’ factor for our all of our clients! We always try to exceed your expectations. Green Onion Landscaping’s team are experts in all areas of soft and hard landscaping. Say hello to Green Onion Landscaping’s Creative Soft Landscaping Director, Catherine Smith, (below). She has an enormous amount of enthusiasm and is very creative. This is the lady who will visit you with Andy. She will help design and plan your planting schemes in your garden.

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Soft landscaping is the more changeable, living part of your garden landscape. The plants, mulch, soil, lawn, trees, shrubs and flowers, these all make up the soft landscaping of your garden.The soft landscaping element in the garden seems to be the area where most people become confused, scared or overwhelmed by deciding how they want their entire garden planting/soft landscaping to look. That’s what we are here for. With Green Onion Landscaping’s friendly, professional help and years of experience, we will help you make the right design and planting choices for your newly soft landscaped garden.

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Plants are the decorative materials that help to colour, style and bring aromas into your garden borders. They also serve to infill the shaped borders, to create privacy and/or shelter, and to flesh out the borders, giving them bulk or mass. To a degree certain types of border patterns/styles go with certain style house. Formal with classic, rambly with cottage and so on. Then there are various national styles of pattern: we can pick out Japanese or Spanish for example. It is the selection of plants that we chose that will often define the garden’s style more than any other element.

What is soft landscaping/planting design
Soft landscaping design or planting is to do with logic, stability, style and of course cost. The soft landscaping garden design process is a sequential step-by-step reasoning of where your garden is, who you and yours are, and what styles you like, and then making all of these elements fit together within your already formed garden design space. It’s our job to find out what style of garden you’d like and what type of gardener you are. Green Onion Landscaping will discuss the design, style and the overall shape that you’d like to create in your new garden. We use our expertise to help you chose suitable shaped borders, raised beds, structures, trees, shrubs, flowers, plants that will create the style/look of garden you wish to achieve. 

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Soft landscaping consultation costs

  • Charges for soft landscaping design and installation consultations start from £100. The charge will depend upon the size of your garden.
  • You are paying for our ideas, expertise, knowledge and time.
  • Additional consultations after the first consultation will be charged at £30 per hour.
  • Planning a soft landscaping/planting scheme for a garden or border/s requires many hours of our time. It is a skilled, lengthy and time consuming project. 
  • Allow at least 1 hour of your time for our visit.
  • Make sure you have plenty of your own garden/planting ideas to show us at your initial consultation. These can be pictures from magazines, website links or your own sketches. The more information you can provide the better.
  • We want to know everything about you. This includes things like, your lifestyle, your hobbies and interests, what you envisage using your garden for, whether or not your have any pets, children or grandchildren. The more information we can gather from you in your initial consultation the better.
  • We do not supply computer aided design (CAD) images of gardens.

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Initial client contact
Clients often contact Green Onion Landscaping by ‘phone or e-mail. We arrange to go and see their site, this is confirmed in an e-mail. Our fees for the consultation are explained and have usually already been read on this page on our website. We always charge an initial site visit fee which starts from £100 (depending how large or small your garden is and how complex your design is). We will always ask clients to think about what it is that would like before we visit. 

Our visit
Our antenna come out as we approach a new site. We are looking at everything from the natural vegetation or what is growing in gardens nearby, this gives us a feel for the place. Often when we visit clients we know very little about them, although they might have told us all about their garden problem which we are there to solve. However, the clients themselves are as important as the garden. We need to see your house, it’s style and period and its materials, but the clients are something else again. Personally we feel that its really helpful to see inside our clients houses. This gives us a real insight into what you like and do not like. We can pick up on your style by seeing how you live, what type of decor you have or how you dress. It’s also really important for us to find out who makes the decisions, or who has an idea of what to expect.

Initial reaction
Personally I tend to talk a lot, think out loud. The clients are paying for my ideas, so I say exactly what occurs to me as we look at their garden. I might even mumble something about thinking aloud. This way I spark a reaction from you and a conversation of ideas begins. I want to know everything – What you do want and what you don’t want in your garden. I always get excited about a new soft landscaping design. I hope my energy enthuses the clients as I go round their garden. I’m pretty sure it does. We take photographs of everything in it’s current state. These are us to look at again and again whilst we’re thinking about and designing your garden planting, which, believe it or not will be frequently. 

Getting the facts down
We measure up the site there and then, with the client’s agreement, if it is more complicated – with varying levels, for instance then further visits may be necessary. We like to sit down and envisage the new garden whilst we’re in the old garden. We make lots of notes (mental notes and actual written notes). As soon as we’re back to our van we fill in our Client Brief Form. The briefing form contains everything we need to know about you and your garden. For instance name, address, number in family, your interests, pets and numbers, type of house, style of decor, what the client wants, location, local planting seen from van, soil, orientation of site, drainage, building materials, boundaries, colour schemes, style of planting. We then sketch out the current garden shape. While driving home our minds flurry with ideas. We chat through our initial thoughts and make suggestions to one another, then we continue thinking whilst we drive back to our office. Once we’re in the office we both jot down our thoughts, in fact everything we’ve just chatted about and imagined, then we quickly sketch a few ideas we’ve had.This process will continue for a few days until we send you a garden sketch and a list of proposed plants. All of this information will be used to create your garden planting scheme and soft landscaping design.

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Shape of the area to be planted
The shapes that make up the pattern and flow of your garden affect the overall effect of the garden planting. For instance, the shapes in a formal and balanced garden pattern will be strict and regular, creating a classic, symmetrical layout. A collection of shapes like these would be suited to a Georgian or colonial-style house garden and therefore the planting would follow the design of the shapes. Nowadays, we  tend to lead less strict lives and the garden design of our living spaces do tend to reflect this. This means that when Green Onion Landscaping design gardens today, while the shapes we evolve may be regular, they can be planted out in such a way as to create an asymmetrical layout. Regular doesn’t mean straight by the way. Curves can be geometric or flowing too. Curves should still employ a geometry in their conception rather than be free-shaped wiggles. This may be our personal preference but there are practical reasons for this too, paramount among them being garden maintenance and ease of construction, depending upon the materials they are made of. The shape of your garden borders, lawns or flower beds are going to dictate to some extent the look of your garden. Here are some contemporary borders we designed, built and planted out for a client in Stockton on Tees.


Envisaging the look
We will provide you with a hand drawn rough sketch of your garden planting design/soft landscaping. Green Onion Landscaping will also provide you with samples of edging stones or paving. Prior to your soft landscaping  beginning we always mark out where we will be working and any areas that are to be shaped will been sprayed on to the area we are working on. This will help you to envisage the new garden/borders or raised beds shape.


While there is no one single method of how to balance hard landscaping and soft landscaping, harmony based on other outside influences will determine how we approach your  garden planting scheme  and planting design. Whether you’d like your soft planting to be traditional, contemporary, natural, subtle or make a statement, it’s important that you have a skilled team with the knowledge to create a fantastic planting scheme that will complement the surrounding hard landscaping of your garden.

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Our experience
Green Onion Landscaping’s friendly, experienced team of skilled soft landscapers have worked on a large number of soft planting schemes from formal to informal, intensive to extensive, traditional to the unusual and contemporary.  With the benefit of Green Onion Landscaping’s 25 plus years of horticultural and soft landscaping experience our clients can be sure they will get a first class planting scheme with top quality plants that will thrive for years to come.

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How are Green Onion Landscaping so knowledgable
Apart from the fact that we’ve been designing and creating soft landscapes for over 25 years it is also an absolute fact that each member of the Green Onion Landscaping team love plants, adore garden design and absolutely are in their element when designing and creating gardens. Green Onion Landscaping’s team spend many hours of their own time researching garden designs, plants, trees and shrubs. The whole team visit many garden design and flower shows around the country throughout the year. Lots of valuable information is gained by doing this. We are able to chat with other soft landscaping experts, horticulturists and plants lovers from all over the world. We all share information and garden design ideas.  And yes, some of the design and horticultural experts we meet are even famous, which is always exciting for us. We all just love our jobs. It’s as simple as that.

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Our committed landscaping team attend the flower  shows not only because it’s a passion and we enjoy it, but also so that we can provide all of our clients with the latest and best garden design advice and trends, as well as provide you with the newest shrubs, trees or flower varieties available to us.

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Bring your garden to life with Green Onion Landscaping
We are extremely confident designing and creating small or large gardens. We have an excellent reputation for our soft landscaping work. We are extremely proud of all the gardens we have designed and created from scratch in the North East. Let Green Onion Landscaping make your garden beautiful! You won’t regret it.


Once you’ve decided to proceed with your soft landscaping
We will visit plant nurseries to select the best, top quality specimen plants and shrubs for your soft garden landscaping project. Plants which are the best specimens suited to your garden’s conditions. Our soft landscaping expert will choose plants and shrubs which will produce the desired style and design effect you would like  in your new garden landscape. Whether that be a country garden, a traditional design, contemporary garden design, Japanese style garden or a garden which is fun and funky. Once all aspects of the plant design are agreed a quotation will be e-mailed to you. These will all be agreed with you before any planting is carried out.

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All clients’ will be asked to read our Terms and Conditions  and to sign a copy of your quotation to return to us. Your signed quotation acts as a legal agreement between you and Green Onion Landscaping. We will not proceed with any landscaping work without a contract.

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Added extras
Green Onion Landscaping’s can also provide your new garden with one or two of their enchanting home-grown Hanging Baskets.  Each hanging basket is priced according to it’s size and contents. We lovingly create beautiful, vibrant,  large mixed flower Winter and Summer hanging baskets at £40 each or a variety of smaller Fuchsia baskets at £30 each. 

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Book a consultation

Consultations include:

  • Identifying dry and shady areas
  • Identifying fully exposed areas
  • Identifying damp and shady areas
  • Identifying damp and sunny areas
  • Measuring the garden area to be planted out

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Landscape garden design We received a call from Alan and Jan asking us to provide them with a landscape garden design quotation. This garden was at the rear [...]

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