Our Design Process

Below are details of the full garden design service offered by Topia Design Limited.  As each project is unique you may not need, or want, all of these stages.

Where reference is made to the overall full design fee, this is typically 15% of your total budget.

Initial Consultation

Where we introduce ourselves and gather information pertaining to your site and requirements.  From this we will produce a design brief according to the site and available budget.

The Visit

The design process always begins with us visiting you at your site.  This initial meeting, of no more than two hours, gives you an opportunity to learn more about us, the design process in general and to decide if we are the designers for you.

During this time we will discuss your requirements, what you hope to achieve and the potential for your garden.  We will work through a short questionnaire and carry out a brief assessment of the site.   We will offer initial advice regarding other landscape and complementary professional services as appropriate.

It is important at this stage to establish your budget.   Whilst we appreciate this can be difficult, it is vital to establish at least an approximate figure.  This will need to be agreed before design work may begin.

Following this visit you will be sent an outline design brief and a preliminary fee proposal for further stages of the design.

Visit fee:                                                             £50.00 (maximum of two hours on site)               

Travel costs:                                                     £0.50 per mile beyond ten miles from registered address

The Survey & Site Analysis

Before any design work can begin a full site survey must be undertaken.  This will provide detailed measurements and positions of your property, boundaries, existing features, utilities and ground levels and is essential in creating an accurate design.  If your site is particularly large or has complicated levels we may recommend a professional surveyor be employed, otherwise we will conduct the survey ourselves.  Fees for professional surveys vary depending upon size and complexity of the site and we will advise you accordingly.

We will also conduct an analysis of the site, taking soil samples for pH testing, noting site orientation, local conditions and taking reference photographs.   From these observations and the results of the survey, we will produce an accurate scale plan of the current garden.  This will be used to develop the new design.

Topia Design survey & analysis fee:       from £240.00 depending on size and complexity of site               

Professional survey fee:                              varies depending upon size and complexity of site

Design Package

This stage sees the design develop from initial concept plans, through development, to a final design ready for construction. 

The Concept

Following the survey and site analysis we meet with you again to discuss the garden in more detail.  This consultation is a thorough and detailed discussion of the site and your aspirations for the garden.  We will discuss potential style options, design solutions and any likes or dislikes you may have regarding planting or landscaping materials.  From this meeting we will produce a detailed design brief for your new garden, so we would encourage you to bring along any images or aides to convey your preferences and ideas.   You will be given a copy of the agreed brief.

From the approved, detailed design brief we prepare two alternative concept design sketches.  These are initial ideas with general suggestions for materials and planting, which we will be presented to you.   At this point we will ask you to choose your preferred design and discuss any minor adjustments you may require. Major adjustments can be accommodated, but may incur additional cost.

The Development

The preferred concept design is now developed in more detail, incorporating any agreed adjustments.    You will be given a fully computerised presentation of the final design including 3D images, sectional views and a ‘walk through’ of the new garden.   At this point we will discuss with you materials you wish to use.

The fee for The Concept and The Development stages of the Design Package is 25% of the overall full design fee and is payable upon presentation of the final design.

The Final

Following approval of the final design, we will prepare all documents necessary to enable contractors to tender for the implementation phase of the project.  These may include some or all of the following:

  • Construction drawings
  • Layouts for services
  • Site sections indicating level changes
  • Materials
  • Measurements

The fee for The Final stage of the Design Package is 40% of the overall full design fee.  This is payable upon presentation of the documents.

Planting Details

Initial ideas will be discussed and developed into precise and comprehensive planting plans and schedules for all soft landscaping within your new garden design

We begin by preparing a colour mood board illustrating the key plants selected for your new garden.  This selection will take into account soil type, aspect and situation.  Any preferences you may have expressed will be accommodated where conditions allow.

We will visit you to present this board and discuss any alterations you may wish to make.  When the choice of plants and trees has been approved we prepare the Planting Plan.  The scale plan shows the location, quantities and spacing of all plants and trees in the design.  Plants are identified botanically e.g. Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ and you will receive a copy of the finished Planting Plan.

An accompanying Planting Schedule will detail all new plants required.  This specifies plant names, sizes and quantities and will be used for costing and ordering.

The fee for the Planting Details stage of the Design Package is 25% of the overall full design fee and is payable upon presentation of the Planting Plan. 


Where quotations are sought for construction and a contractor is engaged to build the new garden.

For the construction of your new garden you are welcome to use a contractor of your choice.  If you do not have anyone in mind, we are able to recommend excellent local landscapers.  Alternatively the build can be put out to competitive tender.

Having agreed which contractor(s) will be invited to quote, we prepare and despatch all tender documentation, plans and drawings for each invited company.   We are completely independent of any contractor at all times, so are able to represent you without any conflict of interest.  We will conduct accompanied site visits to discuss the design and resolve any issues with prospective contractors and when all tenders have been submitted, we prepare a report for your consideration.

We apply for all permissions necessary for the project e.g. tree works, planning permission, dropped kerb applications and will act as your agent when liaising with the relevant authorities regarding these matters.

The fee for the Tendering stage of the Design Package is 10% of the overall full design fee and is payable when tender documentation has been prepared. 


Further services offered by Topia Design Limited.

For a pre-agreed cost or hourly rate we are also able to assist with the following if required:

  • Advisory clinics
  • Supply of plants and other garden goods
  • Maintenance and aftercare schedules
  • Contract administration and documentation
  • Certification of payments
  • Supervising site operations
  • Site inspections including snagging