Design Consultation

The first step is to conduct a detailed site analysis and to formulate a brief. This is normally carried out during a couple of meetings with our client.

We photograph the site and discuss design details in depth with the client, or if the site is large, a full land survey is carried out.

We then prepare a master sketch plan in CAD and, usually, also in a hand-rendered format, a CGI render, perspective drawing and a mood board which illustrate how the garden will look.

Once the design is approved by the client, we prepare specifications and working drawings from which the contractors can prepare a quotation for the landscaping works.

Finally, we prepare a planting plan and full planting list for client approval.

Site Analysis

At the start of a garden design project, the first objective is to carry out a site analysis and to develop a design brief on which to base the overall concept, style and theme of the garden.

Establishing the design brief will involve discussions about likely uses and function of the garden, likes and dislikes of the owner, restrictions due to soil type, orientation of the garden and weather conditions and, finally, a preparation of a wish list of plants and features to be included. We will take photos and measurements of the garden (in the case of larger projects a professional site survey by a specialist will be required). Based on all this, we prepare a thorough design brief and site analysis.

Presentation Drawings

Once the design brief has been agreed, Charlotte Rowe Garden Design prepares a set of presentation drawings incorporating the outline design of the plan. This will include a scaled sketch plan, normally hand-drawn and rendered, perspective drawings, a CGI render and a colour mood board with a range of images of features, finishes and planting.

Included in the sketch plan will be some outline ideas about lighting and planting. However, in most cases we recommend a full lighting design plan either by us or by a specialist lighting designer.

Construction Drawings

Once a client is happy with the design, we prepare a set of detailed construction drawings and specifications including setting out plans, sections and elevations and detailed technical drawings and specifications for particular elements of the garden, such as arbours, trellis, fencing, paving, water features etc. All materials will also be specified at this stage.

Normally, we prepare a lighting plan at the same time, though in some cases we will propose that the lighting plan be prepared by a specialist lighting designer.

The full set of drawings will be given to the landscape contractor so that they can prepare their quotation.

Planting Plan

The next stage is to prepare a detailed planting plan showing placement of plant varieties numbers and spacing and a planting schedule. As many people find this element of the design process the most difficult, we also prepare mood boards to show what all key plant varieties look like.

Once the planting plan is approved, we send it to a number of nurseries to check on availability and price before preparing a full quotation.


In most cases, our clients are happy to accept our recommendation about who should execute the landscaping and build the garden under the supervision of Charlotte Rowe Garden Design.

In some cases, a competitive tender will be used instead. Should the contract be going out to tender to a range of landscape contractors, Charlotte Rowe Garden Design will prepare full tender documentation and manage the tender process on your behalf.