Believe it or not, instructing a landscape designer, architect or engineer, etc will save you money.

I recently sent out a fee proposal for a project. The potential client was very nice, and we got on well. The main reason for not being instructed was they were worried about the costs of the build spiralling out of control.

An experienced designer does not just produce a single plan or set of drawings, they work with the client, design to their budget and advise them throughout the process.

The money saved on this project should they have instructed a designer would have been significantly more than the design fee. Design fees are a small percentage of the overall build cost and provide a creative and detailed value to the project.

Imagine building a house without an architect having been instructed, no design, no plans and no detailing. It’s easy to see how this would cost a small fortune with no plans to enable a fixed build price and making all the building decisions as you go along. Therefore, an architect’s fees are justified, you would only end up spending more than their fees doing it alone if you decided not to use an architect. We have all seen grand designs!

Another good example. I recently went to the dentist and paid £40 for a 15-minute check-up. A lot of money when you calculate the hourly rate. But you are not just paying for their time. You are paying for the years of training, knowledge and experience that comes with it, to spot something that might cost a lot more later if not treated.

Design services are the same. You are not just paying for a plan, you are paying for the experience, knowledge and the ability to save you money during the design process, and not to have a site meeting at a later date, discussing how much extra something will cost because a designer wasn’t instructed in the first place.

It’s the same with landscape design. No designer and no creative process will deliver a poor garden. You don’t want to be in your garden 10 years later and be thinking, if only I paid a professional to design my garden and not accepted a free pencil sketch from the contractor.

The detailed phase is equally important. Without detailed drawings outlining materials, square meterage and construction details how can we expect contractors to provide accurate quotes. A designer will also consult on their client’s behalf, working with contractors to meet an agreed budget.

This phase gives the client confidence their money is being well spent. Accurate plans will allow contractors to provide a full breakdown of costs, allowing the client to see a rate and unit price for each element. Not having an approved design leaves too many unanswered questions should anything go wrong.

Design fees will save you money!