Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Time to the Make the Change? Employing a Garden Designer to Transform Your Garden Can Be Exciting and Inspiring, but Make Sure the Designer Understands Your Needs, Says Sean Murray, and Don't Be Afraid to Say No to His or Her Ideas

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Time to the Make the Change? Employing a Garden Designer to Transform Your Garden Can Be Exciting and Inspiring, but Make Sure the Designer Understands Your Needs, Says Sean Murray, and Don't Be Afraid to Say No to His or Her Ideas

Article excerpt

AS spring approaches fast and the days start to lengthen it is a time of anticipation and looking forward to spending more time in the garden.

If you are feeling a bit lost as to how to improve your existing space or where to even start with a new plot you might want to consider using a garden designer to help realise your dreams.

Using a designer can enable you to visualise new possibilities for an existing garden that just needs a push in a new direction.

Clients often say to me: "I've lived here for years and would never have thought of doing that".

It might be something as simple as repositioning a summerhouse, screening a view with a tree or creating a new border - a fresh pair of eyes can work a treat.

Drafting in a designer may sound like an expensive indulgence but in reality, it can save you a small fortune in avoiding costly mistakes with both hard and soft landscaping.

You only have to buy a few pricey impulse buys at a garden centre which soon adds up and still might not give you that knockout garden you are looking for.

So, what do you look for in choosing a designer? Top of my list would be someone who can demonstrate a flair for design and most importantly someone who understands plants and how to use them.

The subtle symbiotic play between plants and hard landscaping is key to a successful design and so easy to get wrong.

I've recently visited a newlydesigned garden where the planting wouldn't look out of place in Disneyland yet alone a Northumbrian courtyard.

Find a designer who understands your needs and takes a detailed brief of how you want to use the space, your budget, level of gardening skill and how much time you want to spend maintaining the finished design.

Many gardeners feel their gardens are personal, a reflection of their own creativity and wouldn't want to work with a designer. If you are one of them but still want to make some creative changes to your garden this year my top tips would be: Keep your planting pallete simple - use the same plants repetitively in drifts across your garden, avoid the scattergun approach where you end up with a collection of every plant you have ever fancied in a garden centre or seed catalogue. …

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