Design Tips

Why are gardens forgotten in house renovation projects?

0 Written by Lisa on 25th Feb 2016 in Design Tips


Have you been watching the BBC2 programme The £100k House – Tricks of the Trade?  I love it! It’s so inspiring to see what people do to their homes with modest and sometimes really small budgets. We’re certainly getting some great ideas for our own house.

But what strikes me always with home makeover shows is that the garden is nearly always missed out of the equation.  Even on Grand Designs, where sometimes people are spending close to six figures, the garden gets only a moment’s attention.

Gardens always get battered during house building projects and if an extension is added it often covers up what was the old terrace.  If the garden isn’t considered during the planning stages there very often isn’t any cash left at the end to do anything with the garden.

Back garden Reigate almost finished Lisa Cox Designs

I do realise that designing gardens is what I do and I’m probably a bit more tuned into the potential of an outside space than a lot of people, but it makes no sense to me at all to incorporate a set of bi-fold doors that open onto the garden, only to look out on a tired lawn, maybe a shed and, if you’re really lucky, a trampoline.

The same applies to the front garden too. Wouldn’t it be so much more inspiring and welcoming if the front of the house reflects what you’re planning to do with the house?

Oxshott front garden Lisa Cox Designs

I think one of the challenges with house building projects is that they often end up going over budget. There may have been something in the original pot to do the garden but this gets eaten up with other more pressing things inside the house or by deviating from the original plan.

But even with a small budget, it’s still better to plan ahead of time so that you know what you’re aiming for and then you can do some of the essential messy work up front and perhaps finish things later as funds become available.

Setting Out Drawing Horsley Garden Design

Working with a garden designer, much in the same way as you’d work with an architect, will help you to get the most out of your garden and it will also save you money in the long run.  It will help you to understand how much of your budget you should keep aside for the basic elements at the very least.

Plonking a patio outside the bi-folding doors will give you a solution to the muddy earth outside, but it won’t necessarily mean that it’s the right place for the table and chairs or indeed that it is big enough to allow you to entertain comfortably.  And bearing in mind that the hard landscaping is likely to be the most expensive part of your garden build, it really does make sense to take a step back and ensure that you get it right.

If you’re planning a house renovation project, please please please consider the garden too.  Spending some money on the outside may not seem like a priority but I can absolutely, hand on heart, promise you that it will make a world of difference to your home.


Protecting our precious trees

0 Written by Lisa on 12th Feb 2016 in Design Tips, Plants

Oak tree from the wood floor taken with wide angle lense by Lisa Cox

I’m currently working on a project where we have few trees on site that are subject to a Tree Protection Order (TPO).  Obviously I need to be absolutely sure that I create the new garden in a way that will ensure that the trees aren’t damaged so I’ve been taking advice from a professional arborist to ensure that we’re doing things right. Read more

Planning a new planting scheme – some tips to help you get started

1 Written by Lisa on 5th Feb 2016 in Design Tips

Helenium at Hauser & Wirth Somerset Lisa Cox Garden Designs

Now’s a great time to be planning for what’s to come in the garden and it seems more urgent this year with the rather early appearance of some of the spring bulbs.  Even on our windy hill we have Narcissus ‘Tête-a-Tête’ in flower already and primroses too, which have virtually been flowering since Christmas. Read more

Dealing with sloped gardens – five things to consider before you start

2 Written by Lisa on 25th Jan 2016 in Design Tips

Surveying kit

I’ve just started working with a new client who has a small but tricky garden because it slopes quite steeply and there are two pine trees that are subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Read more

It’s bulb planting time!

0 Written by Lisa on 1st Oct 2015 in Design Tips, Plants

Golden narcissus at RHS Garden Wisley Lisa Cox

I’ve just returned from Surrey after 5 long days planting my project in Weybridge.  No photos yet I’m afraid as it wasn’t looking very photogenic without the lawn and with the protective boards down on the terrace.  But I’ll be popping back at the end of October armed with my camera so I’ll share the pictures with you as soon as I can. Read more

The importance of creating focal points

5 Written by Lisa on 17th Aug 2015 in Design Tips

Bench in Homebase Garden RHS Chelsea 2014 Lisa Cox Designs

However large of small your garden is, introducing deliberate focal points will help to create a journey around your garden. Read more

Fences won’t work for a windy site

0 Written by Lisa on 28th Jul 2015 in Design Tips

Elder in flower Lisa Cox Garden Designs

What you can always guarantee when you live high up on a hill is a breeze.  A couple of weeks ago when the sun was blazing hot we certainly welcomed it, but on other days it can make things a little chilly. Read more

Softening the edges in small gardens

4 Written by Lisa on 6th Jul 2015 in Design Tips

Grass mounds Hauser Wirth Somerset Lisa Cox Garden Designs

Using curves in small spaces can be a challenge as often there just isn’t the space to allow the curve to be what it is. Read more

Planting – getting the colour tone right

0 Written by Lisa on 12th Jun 2015 in Design Tips, Plants

RHS Flower Show Cardiff 2015 Lisa Cox A Front Garden for Victoria Park Mazda

When I designed the garden at RHS Flower Show Cardiff I really thought the crowd would be divided about the planting because of the warm and vibrant colours.  But I couldn’t have been more wrong, everyone seemed to love it! Read more

Some golden rules when choosing your paving

2 Written by Lisa on 25th Feb 2015 in Design Tips

New terrace East Horsley Garden Design Lisa Cox

I went to Southampton for a meeting about RHS Cardiff yesterday and one of the main things to decide were the hard landscaping materials.  It’s so important when you’re choosing your materials that you check they work well together, and are in keeping with whatever materials are already on site otherwise you could be looking out onto a garden that makes you cringe! Read more

Lisa Cox Welcome

I specialise in helping families to turn their gardens into an extension of their home and into a space that can be used and enjoyed all year round.

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