What happens when you share your budget?
One of the questions you'll generally get asked during a consultation with a garden designer is "What's your budget?". It's a horrible subject to bring up, but rather than being coy about revealing how much you plan to spend, you should embrace the question and answer as honestly as you can - here's why:
Whether or not you have any idea how much the garden of your dreams, full of amazing water features, beautiful paving and that fantastic cast iron sculpture you saw in Gardener's World magazine, will cost, you will have a figure in the back of your mind that you're prepared to spend. That's the figure you should tell your garden designer as it will give them a point to start from.
Gardens are pretty expensive things to build in general and it would be easy to take two identical plots and spend £10k in plot A and £100k in plot B - both would be gardens, but what you would get in each one would be very different. If you don't tell your garden designer how much you are prepared to spend on your garden then they have no idea what to design for you.
It will save you disappointment. So, imagine you say to your newly appointed designer that you want new cedar fencing around the entire garden, a large patio near the house for relaxing and dining, a generous pond with a deck that oversails one corner so you can dangle your feet in the water, a good sized lawn, vegetable beds, sweeping borders, a garden office and new lighting throughout. Then when asked about budget you say you have no idea. A garden designer will then go away, draw up some concepts, develop a design and come back to you with your dream garden. You'll get excited about what you could have but then jump back in shock when you're told it'll cost £60-70K, before admitting that you're only prepared to spend £20k. You'll be disappointed that your dream garden is out of reach and your designer will have wasted lots of time that could have been spent designing you a great garden for £20k.
A good garden designer will have an idea of what things cost before they have designed and will be honest with you form the start if your dreams are beyond your budget.
At FORK we cost every garden down to the last penny using a very detailed set of spreadsheets, just because you tell us your budget it doesn't mean that a deck that should cost £5k will suddenly cost £10k.
The more honest you can be about money with your garden designer, the better the design will be and the better your garden will turn out.
Gardens are a major investment and as such you should always make sure that you are comfortable with the people you employ to design and construct them. As with all trades, there are some cowboys out there who will try and take your money and run, but thankfully most companies want to do the best job they cab for you and leave you with a fantastic garden that you can show off to your friends. Trust a good designer with your budget and you won't be disappointed with the result.
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