This is the first of a series of guest posts from carefully selected businesses with who we work to make sure we can give our clients as comprehensive a service as possible. Today’s post is by Anna Barker, MD of Lush Garden Design.
I’m sure you’ll have seen an episode or two of the Channel 4 series ‘Grand Designs’, which follows people’s innovative homebuilding projects up and down the UK. We’re big fans of the show.
Most projects follow a familiar pattern. The homeowners sell up and move into a caravan on the building site. After a while, cabin fever and stress sets in. Then terrible weather holds up the project for months as the money starts to run out. And somewhere along the line, someone gets pregnant.
But the other thing that goes without fail is this. When the final reveal takes place, the lovely new architectural wonder-home is pictured, sat squarely in an island of mud. Occasionally you get to see a few paving slabs or some hastily arranged turf, put there so that Kevin McCloud can do his closing monologue without getting his Timberlands dirty (see example below).
This lack of landscaping isn’t just a problem for the homes on Grand Designs. Most new-build homes in the UK are the same.
Which begs a simple question: why not design the garden at the same time you’re planning the house?
The benefits to the client are obvious – they save money in labour and materials, using the same builders to install the hard landscaping while they are building the house. Clients endure less disruption and enjoy their new homes much faster than if they’d had their gardens designed after they’ve moved in, and then constructed by a different team.
The reason why houses and gardens are not designed in tandem is straightforward – most architectural practices don’t offer landscape design as a service.
On the face of it, you’d think designing buildings and gardens are similar processes. Both involve spatial planning and working with mixed materials in three dimensions.
However, the biggest challenge, when it comes to designing gardens, is the fact that some of those materials are alive. Plants grow and spread, and change colour through the seasons. Some die off in winter to return the following year. Others die and never come back. Plants are susceptible to pests and diseases and can be very fussy if placed in the wrong location. Knowledge of the different habits and growing requirements for many thousands of plants and trees is not something taught at architectural college.
Designing gardens is a very specialised skill – and it’s what we do, in the East Midlands now for over a decade.
So, over the past few years, we’ve been delighted to work with David Granger Design on many of their projects, where we bring in our specialist knowledge at an early stage. This allows David to offer his customers a comprehensive design solution.
One of the best examples of our partnership is the award-winning School House project in Griffydam (above). We were brought in to design the exterior landscaping and planting once the designs for the house restoration were agreed upon, but before any construction work had begun. We designed the garden to complement their design scheme, and we worked closely with the client and the building team to ensure the finished results were just right. Once constructed, we planted the garden and arranged ongoing maintenance to keep it looking at its best.
We’re currently working on the landscaping design for David’s new offices at the Old Cottage Hospital in Ashby, where we hope to do for the outside what the renovation will do for the inside.
If you would like to know more about Lush Garden Design’s services, visit lushgardendesign.co.uk.