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Without a plan, however in tune you think you are with your garden constructor and however much he or she thinks they understand your requirements, when it’s not on paper it is always open to interpretation _everyone imagines things a little bit differently. And at the end of the job what should be a lovely moment descends into an argybargy with the client asking why did you do this and the constructor saying either because I thought that was you wanted or worse that was what I thought you said. This results in extra expenditure on putting it right. 

If you have a design on paper then firstly it can be quoted so that there are no extras at the end and in the event of a problem one can refer to the design 

Its fine to do your garden in different stages but it’s a vital to have a plan of the whole area. All the problems of linking stage 1 to 2 etc are dealt with at planning time. But If you do the first part without a plan and next year decide on the 2nd part there’s no doubt you’ll never get to Stage 2 to gel with Stage 1. And if there are several stages, you’ll start fiddling with stage 1 which will start to lose its form and the problems will snowball until you wish you’d taken my advice and planned the whole area in advance! 

Planting Plans are bit like the icing on the cake. However good the sponge is if the decoration is a mess it’s off putting! A good strong design gets completely lost with messy, indiscriminate planting. 

My style is for strong formal design with informal planting to soften but not lose the design. I am keen on new wave perennial plantings and inspired by the gardens of Piet Oudolf and Tom Stuart Smith. 

- Melanie