Design

Local & remote garden design service

Panorama of new beds in back garden

Hedgerows design project for English village forest garden

I create and landscape forest garden designs that are sustainable, low maintenance and wildlife friendly. Based in West Wales, I offer both a local and remote design service, see my portfolio for examples.

Central to the design is working with nature, working with what is already on-site and figuring what plants will thrive in the specific conditions. I prefer to use locally sourced materials and avoid costly groundworks where possible.

CAD garden design

Ornamental forest garden design for North London, Victorian terrace

There are three stages in the process:

  1. Plan - survey land, write wishlist, make map
  2. Design - arrange observations & wishlist on map
  3. Schedule - distil series of actions

I have a standard set of tools that I use for client communication.

Tools

Screenshot of Pinterest

Pinterest is a useful tool for collecting & sharing ideas

  1. All notes are shared onlne using Simplenote.
  2. To survey the land, I use satellite photos for a general outline, and then take measurements physically.
  3. I also work from photographs and videos, supplied by the client when working remotely.
  4. Liasing closely, I help the client draw up a wishlist of features and plants.
  5. Images & inspiration are shared via a Pinterest board.
  6. The plants are organised on a shared Google spreadsheet.
  7. The design is created using CAD, and shared as a PDF file via Simplenote.
  8. Finally, the schedule is managed on either Simplenote or the Google spreadsheet.

For an example of the Simplenote, Google Sheets and Pinterest working together, please see these notes.

Costing

Each job is costed individually and not by a day rate. The cost of a design really depends on the level of detail required. I can provide anything from an outline canopy and windbreak plan to detailed border planting plans with costings & suppliers.

In total, it takes about 1-2 weeks to create a garden design, with good client communication.

To help with a rough estimate of design and landscaping a 1 acre forest garden, I gave a talk in February 2021: natureworks.org.uk/talks/costing

What is a forest garden?

Wooded forest garden

Still from Thomas Regnault’s short film of Martin Crawford’s forest garden

Definition

A forest garden works with nature to grow edible crops. It is sustainable, low maintenance and wildlife friendly and emulates the woodland edge using edible perennial and ground cover plants. Essentially, it is an edible ecosystem.

Characteristics

  1. Sustainable — provides its own nutrients and pest control
  2. Productive — range of harvests from multiple layers
  3. Wildlife friendly — biodiversity encouraged, native plants where possible
  4. Layers — use all available space
  5. Perennial — lower maintenance, more nutritious

Features

  1. Windbreaks — integral hedges & dead hedges
  2. Spacing — enough for lower storeys
  3. Ground cover — ultimately permanent living cover
  4. Nutrients — supplied by garden system plants

See Thomas Regnault’s short film of Martin Crawford’s garden for a more visual introduction: