When considering undertaking a garden project, there are a number of factors you should consider for the works to run smoothly such as using online calculators to accurately price products through to sourcing inspirational ideas. Here are four tips with advice to ensure you plan effectively for your project. 

Tip one: Seek Inspiration.

If you don’t already have a clear vision of what you want to achieve in your outdoor space there are plenty of resources available both online and in magazines to kick-start the creative process.  

Books still remain a favourite of gardening veteran Alan Titchmarsh, who confesses to regularly dipping into the following four titles for inspiration:

Designing Gardens by Arabella Lennox-Boyd
My Kind of Garden by David Hicks
The Garden at Highgrove by The Prince of Wales and Candida Lycett Green
Folly de Grandeur by Nicky Haslam

Of course the internet also provides a wealth of information at the mere touch of a button. Houzz and Pinterest allow you to browse and create idea boards as well as visual shopping lists and serve as a great mechanism for sounding out your ideas. This is where designers, architects and landscapers showcase their work using striking imagery, so it’s a great place to visit if you are trawling for ideas. Don’t forget to check out the Jacksons Pinterest board where we pin exciting but realistic concepts for garden projects all over the UK.

The RHS has a dedicated design section that is easy to follow and provides stunning photography of a broad range of garden styles spanning urban, wildlife-friendly, Mediterranean, contemporary, formal and cottage.

Visit www.rhs.org.uk/advice/design for a selection of stylish modern garden landscapes. 

Step two: Bring in the Professionals

A well considered garden design should reflect the specific needs - both in terms of style and functionality of the property owner. Arriving at the winning design blue print can be fast tracked by employing the services of a quality professional garden designer, whose creative flair, vision and proven expertise can translate your dream garden into a reality.

It’s important to identify your ideal designer partner. You need to choose someone who is able to empathise with your requirements and who understands how the garden practically work into your family’s lifestyle. That person also needs to be approachable and mindful of the fact that their interpretation of the garden’s potential must not be allowed to supersede your actual requirements.

You also need to be reassured that the designer will be able to deliver a project on time, and within budget. Of course, most important of all, they must have the practical landscaping knowledge and direct experience of the practicalities of building a garden, to deliver a design that can actually be translated into an achievable build. Ask to see examples of previous work undertaken and don’t feel uncomfortable about requesting access to past clients to discuss their experience of working with the designer, rather than purely accepting written testimonials.

Step three: One Stop Shop

There are a number of companies who offer a combined design and build service, which means the planning, design and actual installation process is all project managed for you. This ‘one stop shop’ service dispenses with the need to liaise between the designer and landscaper and also reduces the risk of one party blaming the other for any potential problems with the final installation.  And with the growing number of 'rogue traders' operating in this sector, working with a professional, fully insured company removes the risk of being stung by the unscrupulous trading practices of a cowboy landscaper. Visit the BALI (British Association of Landscape Industries) and APL (Association of Professional Landscapers) or the Society of Garden Designers to source a reputable garden designer and / or landscaper.

Step four: Online Tools

Whether the garden transformation is to be handled by yourself or an experienced landscaper, ordering the essentials required to complete the project can be daunting. Trying to work out exactly what is required in terms of quantity of materials and also the associated accepted best practice for installation of these items takes time and patience. Jacksons has a series of online tools available to make this stage of the planning as simple as possible, why not try the company’s Fence Builder, Gate Builder Calculator and Decking Builder Calculator tools.