Eight steps to garden design

John Davies Landscape is a design and management practice that believes in design as a collaborative process. I invite and encourage your involvement at every step of the way.


Our first meeting on site is very much about getting to know each other and gaining a sense of what you are hoping to achieve. This meeting is the time to talk about both yours and my aspirations, what might be possible and how long it might take and from it we will develop a written brief that addresses both the functional and aesthetic requirements of the project and which will form a basis for the design development.

Survey and analysis

Once a general brief is agreed , it’s time to get into detail. Depending on the scale of the project john Davies Landscape might survey your outside space or a full topographical survey would be commissioned. All work will be based on this survey.

Site analysis involves an intensive period of research to establish physical site conditions as well as establishing historical, cultural and ecological relevance to the design of the site and its surrounding area. As well as a fact finding mission, this phase is also about developing a subjective response to the site and its requirements. In many ways this is the most crucial element of the phase as concept and design response will often evolve from what we feel.

Sketch proposals

The next step really works in two parts. First of all I will present you with some initial concept proposals in the form of mood boards, rough perspective sketches and plans which might indicate different design routes. Your response to this will form the basis of more targeted and detailed development along with a final presentation of perhaps two or three design outcomes. My work up to this point would typically consist of a mixture of hand rendered perspectives and sections and either 3d computer or hand crafted modelling so that you can clearly visualise my intentions.


Once a design concept has been chosen, a final master plan will be developed using a computer aided graphics system and providing sufficient detail to physically realise the project. Planting plans and further 3d graphics may be provided at this stage. These final drawings provide sufficient detail from which the project may be budgeted.


Detailed information in the form of a masterplan and written specification outlining construction methods together with construction drawings are then presented for tender to a number of contractors, selected according to the nature of the project. I have an excellent relationship with some of the best landscape contractors in the country who I know will deliver work of the highest excellence. However, if you have your own preferences, that’s fine too. My main concern is that a project should be realised effectively, efficiently and with the highest degree of excellence possible by the most practical means. If responsible for the contractor, I will source and supply all primary hard materials such as paving, steel work, timber etc.


Once your contractor has been chosen, I can offer a full contract administration service which includes full inspection of all works. Alternatively, if you already have a team on site I would be happy to offer detailing, supervision and advice as required. Either way you can rest assured that the evolution of your new outside space is being professionally monitored at every step of the way.


I specify and source all herbaceous materials and will be on site to make sure that they arrive safely and in top condition. Once on site, I will personally set them out in position for planting.


The first two years in particular are crucial for the successful establishment of your new outside space. I can create a bespoke maintenance schedule identifying key plants and any specific requirements that they may have. I will also identify key times for pruning and other maintenance work. This all comes in the form of an A3 brochure. A herbaceous border is dynamic and evolves over time so I always recommend periodic visits to assess the health of plantings so that recommendations about reductions or modifications generally to existing schemes may be made. If you are simply too busy to look after your garden I would be happy to recommend maintenance teams who would do a superb job for you.