Fancy a backyard makeover? Better join the long queue for a garden designer


In his thoughts’s eye, garden designer Andrew Duff can see it clearly: the orchard of apples, pears, cherries and quinces, the lovely formal terrace, the meandering little paths that lead out into the bordering pure meadows.

But in actuality, will probably be a month till his present venture – a four-acre garden in Oxfordshire – is full. And with 15 different gardens to design and work on this summer season, even in the shade, he’s feeling the warmth.

“I’ve been a garden designer for 30 years. This week, for the first time, I turned a client away,” he informed the Observer. “That was a big deal for me because I never say no. I always slot them in at some point.”

There is an “unprecedented” degree of demand for garden designers in the UK proper now, in accordance with the Society of Garden Designers. The newest snapshot of the Britain’s landscaping market, printed this month by Pro Landscaper magazine, revealed a 166% improve in month-on-month enquiries, with garden designers concurrently reporting a 140% improve in turnover.

A garden by Andrew Duff, who says he’s having to show potential purchasers away as he’s so busy. Photograph: Andrew Duff

Lynne Marcus, chair of the Society of Gardeners, has been amazed by the demand this 12 months: “I’ve been in practice for more than 20 years, and I’ve never known it as busy,” she stated, amid reviews that designers and panorama contractors are booked up months prematurely. “Anyone asking for a garden now is going to be disappointed. We’re talking about summer 2022 before a garden would potentially be ready, and that’s assuming they go with a design pretty sharpish.”

The purpose, garden designers agree, is lockdown and dealing from residence. Duff has seen “massive changes” in how gardens are getting used over the final 12 months. “Because so many people are working from home, they are spending more time in the garden, catching 10 minutes with a cup of coffee there between Zoom meetings. It is an important place to relax,” he stated.

In Cambridgeshire, award-winning garden designer Robert Barker can be turning potential purchasers away, whereas juggling 20 tasks. “In the first year of lockdown, people probably thought they could do the work themselves. And then they realised that actually they couldn’t, and they want expert advice before they spend any more money on the wrong plants or the wrong type of materials.”

He says he has seen a threefold improve in demand over the previous 12 months. Many of his new purchasers discovered sanctuary of their gardens at the peak of the pandemic, and have reconnected with nature whereas working from residence. “They’re people who have a modest budget, who wouldn’t necessarily have decided to use a garden designer in the past. Now, in their mind, the garden is more of a priority than it was.”

Thanks to the latest growth in home costs, suburban householders are discovering it extra worthwhile to spend their spare money on their garden, he says: “I think some people who can’t make that leap from a three-bed to a four-bed house, because it’s so much more expensive now, are thinking: we have to make the most of what we have.”

Another design by Lynne Marcus, who is chair of the Society of Gardeners.
Another design by Lynne Marcus, who’s chair of the Society of Gardeners. Photograph: Lynne Marcus

The designers the Observer spoke to stated decking and synthetic grass are falling out of style and the recognition of “natural” ponds and vegetation that encourage biodiversity and wildlife has elevated.

Having a area for entertaining in the garden is excessive up on the precedence listing of just about everybody, they stated.

In the London suburb of Hampton, close to the river Thames, major faculty trainer Julie Kidson is wanting ahead to having fun with the remainder of the summer season in her newly designed garden. “We went for laurels and lollipop bay trees – we wanted a contemporary garden with plants that will last all year,” she stated.

Kidson stated she felt very privileged to have a garden throughout lockdown, and located gardening therapeutic. “But it wasn’t pretty to look at, and we spent the whole summer in it last year.” This 12 months, she determined to make use of the cash she would usually have spent on a vacation to remodel it, and located the recommendation of her garden designer, Penelope Jane, invaluable. “I didn’t want to waste money on plants that then die. She was able to tell us things like the height a plant would grow to, which ones will spread wide, which will love the shade or sun.”

Kidson stated she will be able to’t wait for her garden furnishings to reach so she will be able to invite pals over for barbecues. “It will be a lovely space to entertain in.”



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