An in-depth Look at London Garden Design

London garden designer
Image courtesy of GROW London

Business website Startup.co.uk recently reported that London is the best place to set up a horticultural business. So why is this? Also, what are homeowners willing to spend their money on and what can we expect to see appearing in people’s gardens over the next 12 months? In Touch Landscapes’ latest blog, our principal designer Georgina Chahed explores London garden design in more detail and unearths the latest trends in outdoor living…

According to a report by AXA Business Insurance, the average household in the capital spends £600 a year on improving their garden and those in the North East and Scotland are also keen call in the professionals.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults reveals that London is the best place to start a gardening and landscaping business. Whilst the average Briton is prepared to stump up just £473 on garden upkeep every year – the average Londoner spends £600, with those in Scotland (£556) and North East (£514) also outspending the rest of the UK.

In contrast, those living in Wales, the South West and North West all spend below £400 – suggesting that they prefer to do the work themselves when it comes to horticulture.

Homeowners are looking for landscape experts
Despite this, 64% of those surveyed said they would a hire professional if they needed to erect a wall, with 61% saying the same if they needed to construct a deck, 58% if they needed to put in fencing, and 59% if they needed to chop down a tree.

With regards consumer price expectation, the average consumer would quote a price of £400 for common building tasks, £390 for a garden design, £378 for terracing, £290 for a pond installation and £364 for fence construction – a price that includes both materials and labour.

Gareth Howell, managing director of AXA Insurance commented: “The figures quoted by the public for common landscaping, design and gardening jobs were very low indeed, however.

“This shows a low appreciation first of the sheer number of hours that go into this work, expert knowledge of disciplines landscape architecture, design and horticulture, as well as, understanding construction, planning and site drainage standards.”

“People working in the trades have a massive education job to do when they meet clients – as we’ve emphasised, having a good portfolio of work where you can demonstrate value and results is one good step.”

But key findings from the 2017 annual landscape trends study just released by style website Houzz says homeowners are prepared to spend much more than this on renovating their outdoor space. This report claims that only 12% of their 2,400 responses from UK homeowners using the Houzz platform indicated spending £500 or less on recent renovations, with 20% spending over £10,000.

Demand for low maintenance gardens
Unsurprisingly 94% of homeowners update their planting, citing having flowers, being low maintenance and attracting bees and butterflies as their top three reasons for making the change. Similarly, despite concerns by organisations such as the Royal Horticultural Society who believe many homeowners are paving over their front gardens, real lawns are still very popular, with just 12% planning to remove their turf altogether.

Five biggest garden improvements
The study goes on to detail the top five hard landscaping improvements homeowners will be making to their gardens. These include: patio/terrace (57%), planters/containers (56%), fence/border (50%), arbour/gazebo/pergola/trellis (30%), and shed/workshop (28%). Other trends revealed by the study include the rise of the ‘outdoor living room’ and garden lighting.

Triggers for redesigning outdoor spaces comprise: wanting to personalise a new space (44%), fixing deterioration (24%), and wanting to do it all along but only just getting around to it (23%). In terms of key motivators, the challenges homeowners face this year, include: poor use of space (45%), limited space (24%) and lack of privacy (23%).

So, with Londoners spending the most on their gardens nationally and recognising the need to call in the professionals, it’s easy to see why garden design is so popular in London. In the months to come, a peek over the garden fence looks set to reveal a sparkling patio, trendy planters or an architectural outdoor structure. City folk know that clever use of outdoor space and privacy are more important than ever when space is of a premium. Therefore, the appetite for modern or classic garden design in the capital is set to grow.

Telephone Touch Landscapes on 07872 590303 or email info@touchlandscapes.com to arrange your initial garden design consultation.

June 20, 2017

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Why do I need a garden designer?

Surrey garden design

In this blog post Touch Landscapes’ owner and principal garden designer Georgina Chahed gives the lowdown on why property owners need a garden designer…

Homeowners often find their garden has been left in a mess following the completion of their fantastic new extension. Bi-folding doors have been installed but the view of the back garden doesn’t live up to expectations. They know they should do something about it, but where should they begin? Do they need a landscaper or a garden designer and how will this affect the cost?

For those who are just looking for a lawn, a shed and a patio, there is little or no point in getting a garden designer involved. If however, they want the garden to look as stunning as their new kitchen, then they need the services of a good designer.

A safe pair of hands
A professional designer will do a lot more than just measure up and produce drawings for a new garden. They will contact landscapers capable of carrying out the work and at the most competitive price. They will source materials, liaise with the landscapers, monitor the build and find the right plants. A designer will also provide a maintenance schedule to ensure the space stays looking fantastic, for longer. Crucially, a designer will also check to make sure every detail is perfect before completion.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch
Clients are surprised when they approach a landscaper who offers them a ‘free’ design service as part of their design and build package, only to discover that by employing the services of a garden designer as well, they can actually end up paying less. As I source plants from specialist wholesale nurseries at lower prices and can tender the landscaping out to several companies, I am able to offer clients a better deal overall.

Rather than giving them an off-the-peg garden, I will deliver something that’s unique to my clients’ individual requirements and personal style. As part of my service I introduce clients to the latest materials on the market and cherry pick the best high performance plants, selecting less ubiquitous varieties, setting their garden apart from their neighbours’.

The devil’s in the detail
So often I see poorly designed gardens that are unbalanced, aesthetically clumsy, or are simply not fulfilling their potential. As part of the site analysis and layout planning, I use my designers’ eye to get the project right first time and ensure all the components work together cohesively.

To find out more about our Surrey garden design and landscape design service, please telephone us on 07872 590303 or email info@touchlandscapes.com

July 27, 2015

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RHS Silver Medal for Touch Landscapes at BBC Gardeners’ World Live

Show visitors enjoying The Teacup Garden
Show visitors enjoying The Teacup Garden

Designed by Georgina Chahed of Touch Landscapes, The Teacup Garden has been awarded a silver medal at BBC Gardeners’ World Live.

Inspired by the theme the ‘Industrial Heritage of the West Midlands’, in her first Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) display Georgina has delivered a breath-taking subtropical border. The Teacup Garden contains a sleek contemporary water feature set on sandstone, enveloped by bold architectural foliage and vibrant blooms.

Georgina Chahed showing her RHS award
Georgina Chahed showing her RHS award

On receiving her prestigious RHS medal, Georgina enthused: “All the advance planning and minute attention to detail has really paid off; the garden looks beautiful and the award is the icing on the cake. I’d like to express my gratitude to our volunteers, suppliers and everyone who has supported my journey along the way.”

Georgina wanted to convey a sense of excitement in the border and show that even with a small space, a lot can be achieved. The border takes inspiration from the rich heritage of Wedgwood and celebrates the legacy of the master potters who made their name in the West Midlands.

Exotic gardens typically look their best in late summer so the challenge was to source plants which peak in June, whilst also complementing the Jasperware inspired blue and white colour scheme. The plant list comprises a winning combination of hardy and tender exotics, and familiar garden favourites suited to the same conditions, such as ferns, heucheras and hostas.

Eclectic planting: ferns, heucheras and hostas on The Teacup Garden
Eclectic planting: ferns, heucheras and hostas on The Teacup Garden

To find out more about Touch Landscapes’ garden and landscape design services telephone: 07872 590303 email: info@touchlandscapes.com or visit: www.touchlandscapes.com

June 18, 2015

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Let’s do this thing

Less than one week until the build commences for BBC Gardeners’ World Live, Touch Landscapes’ principle designer Georgina Chahed gives a progress report on The Teacup Garden…

The finishing line is in sight. Give or take one or two niggles, I’m feeling upbeat about our show border so I prepared this blog to fill you in on what’s been happening over the past few weeks.

Queens of the Stone Age
The stone circle has arrived and I’m happy to report that it’s a really handsome sandstone! The central paver is vast and couldn’t be lifted, so we placed a thin track of packaging across the floor and gingerly rolled it over the fibre pieces and into the studio.

Nursery Stories
Following the trip to our main nursery, I spent some time analysing the plant composition again. It’s easy to panic at this stage and randomly add in extra plants that look nice, without paying attention to what they add horticulturally. With this in mind, I’ve resolved to focus more on colour and pay extra attention to my middle tier of plants. With these subtle amendments I feel we’ve moved a step closer to having a truly winning plant combination.

Our  plant leaflet
Our brand spanking new plant leaflet!

The latest development, our show leaflet, is now ready. Here’s a sneak preview, pictured above. Now the search is on to find the perfect mulch…

BBC Gardeners’ World Live is taking place at the National Exhibition Centre from 11-14 June 2015 and I very much look forward to meeting you at our Teacup Garden.If you haven’t already booked your tickets, then now’s your chance. Horticultural serenity is just a click away…

June 1, 2015

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Subtropical drama in a teacup unveiled by newcomer at BBC Gardeners’ World Live

BBCGWL 2015 Visual 4
The Teacup Garden

Newcomer to the world of garden design, Georgina Chahed will be realising her vision of a subtropical border entitled ‘The Teacup Garden’ at BBC Gardeners’ World Live (11-14 June 2015). Georgina Chahed set up her practice Touch Landscapes in December 2013 and the Teacup Garden will be her first Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) display.

Beating off competition from rivals, the design has been given the green light by show organisers, the RHS. Working to the category theme, the ‘Industrial Heritage of the West Midlands’, the design takes inspiration from the rich heritage of Wedgwood. Garden designer Georgina Chahed commented: “I wanted to bring a sense of excitement to my border and celebrate the legacy of the master potters who made their name in the West Midlands.

Centring around a teacup water feature and stone saucer, a distinctive blue and white colourway has been used, giving a nod to Josiah Wedgwood’s original Jasperware ceramic tea sets. Capitalising on this year’s trend for tropical plants, a blend of lush and subtropical plants will be used to soften the hard landscaping.

Georgina Chahed continued: “With exotic tea growing regions in mind, I will predominantly be using plants suited to slightly moist, fertile soils. By selecting the right plants and ones that suit a garden’s conditions and soil type, a tropical border can be incorporated into many UK gardens.”

Grasses and ferns will intermingle to fill the space, punctuated by vibrant purple and orange flowers, including hardy groundcover favourite Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (‘Gerwat’) and the majestic Canna ‘Phasion’ with its dazzling striped leaves. The evergreen variegated giant reed Arundo donax versicolor will lend movement and height to the space. Striking Musa basjoo and Trachycarpus fortunei specimen trees promise to add impact and structure to the border, elevating the planting to a whole new level.

Now in its 23rd year, BBC Gardeners’ World Live, held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, is the largest lifestyle event in the UK, attracting around 100,000 visitors in June every year.

March 16, 2015

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