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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.