Here’s a selection of the most common garden design questions I’m asked, as well as some about gardens in general.

If you don’t find the answer you need here, please get in touch. Call me on 07876 150207, or email me at

    I happily accept direct bank transfer (BACS) payments (bank details are on every invoice), and I still accept cheques with thanks.

    Cash is welcome too, but I can’t give a discount!

    Just ask and I will put you in touch with past clients.

    Garden landscaping isn’t my first career – I’ve come a meandering route via 2 degrees (‘geography’ & ‘sustainable agriculture’). I then did a part-time National certificate in commercial horticulture at Hadlow in Kent, and worked for a number of years on a large nursery. Here I honed my plant identification skills, and learned a lot about plant preferences and susceptibilities.

    I relocated with my family to Buxton in 2005 and have since developed a breadth of knowledge about the plants that tolerate the different soils and climates that make up this short-seasoned, blowy part of the country.

    Certainly – I’m very content to offer small amounts of advice or full-scale plans, and to be as involved as you want me to be.

    I do. I’m a sole-trader with no direct employees, and like to get my hands dirty. My particular strengths are in the planning and the horticultural side of landscaping. I also happily take on smaller paving and building projects, and recently completed a short dry-stone walling course.

    For heavy-duty groundwork and building I prefer to involve an excellent local landscaper with whom I’ve worked on a number of gardens.

    The most carbon-intense elements of my work are my vehicle, and the materials and plants used in projects, along with the heating in the office. Unfortunately there are no ‘green’ commercial vans on the market (that I can afford!) so I try to be as efficient as possible, by not carrying unnecessary loads, and coordinating appointments if at all possible to reduce mileage.

    As for materials I’m very keen to re-use where viable to do so. The nursery I use for most of my plant supplies now grows much of its stock in peat-free compost, thereby preserving one of the planet’s most significant carbon-sink ecosystems. I won’t buy peat-based compost myself. For bulk requirements I go to a local cattle farmer who composts and blends his own farmyard manure for garden use!

    My office electricity supply is on a ‘green tariff’ meaning that my bill is invested in renewable generation schemes rather than fossil fuel power stations. I know there are energy-efficiency improvements still to make around the office and home, and I’m working on them with some urgency.

    A small investment at the start to plan your garden project can pay dividends later. I’m experienced in thinking through the wide range of factors that make a good garden – materials, light, drainage, perspective, style, functionality, and which plants will survive and thrive (and which to avoid) in your garden.

    The planning process, and simply having another person looking at their garden, can often help clients ‘see’ the full potential more clearly. Drawing out the boundaries can clarify where the space is and where the clutter might be.

    A design can help define phases of work, making it more affordable by spreading cost. And the plan can allow you to get comparable quotes from landscapers as you’ll know they’re all quoting against the same specification.

    Yes! There are many practical ways to reduce the burden of work in the garden. Plus some changes in our approach to gardening that can allow gardens to be more wildlife friendly, and less work.

    Sorry! No, I’m not that kind of gardener! You might like to look through the local small ads for someone.

    Or, if you’re over 65 or disabled, try the local volunteer service or Derbyshire County Council Handy Van service.

    No, I don’t. It just doesn’t fit round project-based work.

    a low maintenance attractive space created in a small cottage front gardenA small garden can present a range of challenges. I can help you get the most out of a small space by using a range of ideas, such as converting the top of a shed, tool or wood-store to a ‘green-roof’. A small garden often has more need to be multifunctional. I’ll take the time to discuss your needs, and the demands of the space. Then, with careful design and considerate use of plants and planting, I can make sure you get the best combination of functionality and enjoyment from even the smallest garden.

    It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation: understandably, you want to know the price of something before you commit, but that cost can’t be known until I’ve drawn up the plans!

    So why can’t I give a rough estimate based on experience? Well, in truth I could, but I’m reluctant to do so because:

    1. If I over-estimate I could scare you off unnecessarily!
    2. If I under-estimate you could feel I’ve misled you, and not want to proceed with the implementation.

    SO, it should be understood that re-making a garden is not a cheap exercise – materials and plants almost always make up well over half the final bill. Please do enter into this with realistic expectations. A typical small garden project that presents a ‘blank canvas’ as a starting point is likely to cost between £3-5000 to plan, prepare, pave, turf and replant.

    Of course, if you’re just asking me to replant a border or prune a couple of trees, which I’d be happy to do for you, I can give you a firm quote in advance. No problem!