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Our garden landscaping advice for your garden design and garden landscaping project

Thank you for visiting the garden landscaping advice web page for your garden design, garden landscaping and bespoke planting plan project. We hope these comments will inspire you as you make choices on garden design and garden landscaping materials.

We also have an advice section for our Edinburgh driveway services.

Have a look at the RHS, SGD and Houzz web sites to get inspiration for your garden design project.

Our current garden design and garden landscaping articles are:
"your garden landscaping project - what is a reasonable budget?", "5 garden design books you should read", "your garden landscaping project checklist", "10 pinterest boards to follow about garden design", "advice on choosing a garden landscaping company" and "your Edinburgh garden landscaping project - where to go for materials".

We also have an advice page "driveways Edinburgh" where we hope to help you make informed decisions about your driveway project.

Your garden landscaping project : what is a reasonable budget?

Do you ever look out of the window, and wish your garden would come to life? We all live busy lives, and garden maintenance often falls by the wayside. But, what if you could employ a garden designer to add beauty and excitement to your outside space. Imagine creating an area that you could enjoy in the summer. Think about a patio you could use to entertain friends in the warm evenings. Or a brilliant lawn for the children to play on.

If this idea is creeping into the back of your head, perhaps you ought to consider a garden designer They will expertly create the garden of your dreams, and add a professional finish. The only trouble is paying for it. So exactly how much should you spend on garden landscaping?

As a percentage of your house value?

The experts suggest setting aside between 4-10% of your house value to renovate the garden. The figure is based on how much value you’ll actually add by taking on this project. The garden is one of the focal points of any property. New buyers will always look for an outdoor space, and they prioritize it highly. Not only that, but you’ll get years of enjoyment out of it yourself. If you’re struggling to pluck a figure from the air, try to stick within this boundary,

As a percentage of your overall garden renovation?

If you’ve got some money earmarked for garden renovation, it’s not easy to figure out how much to set aside for the design. Hiring a garden designer is a little like commissioning an architect when building a house. It’s a case of deciding how important those initial plans are. If you ask us, they’re the most important part of the renovation. A good designer will provide a beautiful and bespoke design. They’ll also help you find the right people, and source the best materials, saving you money in the long run. We suggest spending at least 10% of your total budget on the design itself.

Length and details of the job

Of course, the price will vary according to the length of the job in question. It also rests on the involvement of the designer. Do you want them to oversee the entire project after drawing up the plans? Naturally, a longer project means you’ll need to budget higher for your landscaper. It also depends on what ideas are involved. The design and build of a pond, for example, will cost more than a simple lawn design.

Quality of the designer

Last of all, the budget will take into account the quality and experience of the designer in question. The better qualified the designer, the more you can expect to pay. It all comes down to their portfolio and previous clients. Are they a member of the Society of garden designers? That will add a little extra to the price tag.

In the end, it’s up to you to weigh up these factors, and set yourself some initial figures. Many garden designers and landscapers are open to negotiation, so approach them with your budget. Good luck!

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10 pinterest boards to follow about garden design & garden landscaping

Pinterest is the best place in the world to find inspiration. It’s all about real people posting genuine pictures of their craft. It’s a wonderful place to share your best gardening ideas, and pick up inspiration from others. We regularly drop in, and pin our favourite designs. So, we thought we’d pull together a list of our favourite Pinterest garden accounts. Follow them all, and create a world of new ideas around you!

1. Garden Design - This is the Pinterest account of one of our favourite gardening magazines. Published four times a year, Garden Design is our go-to resource. And now they have a Pinterest account where they share beautiful new designs.

2. Edible Gardening - Edible Gardening isn’t exactly an account. It’s actually a pin board, but it’s so good, we had to include it. It’s full of delicious-looking fruits and home-grown vegetables. It’s mouthwatering!

3. Judith Sharp - Judith has one of the most followed Pinterest accounts in gardening with nearly 250,000 followers. She’s a mother and grandmother with a passion for all things green. You’ll find some wonderful pictures here, and excellent consultation advice too!

4. Greenspace Garden Design - Greenspace are a consultancy and design company, so they certainly know their stuff! Their Pinterest boards are full of interesting and quirky designs. If you’re looking for some out-of-the-box inspiration, take a look.

5. Laara Copley Smith Garden Design- Laara’s take on garden design focuses on the traditional and classical. Browsing through her Pinterest boards is an inspirational look at the past. She posts images that bridge the gap between traditional and modern. We’ve lost count of the hours we’ve spent looking at her images!

6. Home & Garden - The Home & Garden account offers a little bit of everything. They tend to focus on the fusion between the indoors and the outdoors. They even have a specific board for outdoor pools! Lots of inspiration to be found here.

7. Shelley Hugh-Jones - Based in London, Shelley has a keen eye for modern garden designs. Her Pinterest boards are full of alternative designs, and minimalist sketches. It’s the perfect place to find ideas for a unique garden concept.

8. Designer Gardens - Designer Gardens highlights a little bit of everything. From gardens around the world, to specific fish pond designs, they have it all. They seem drawn to colour and flowers in particular. So, if you’ve got a colourful garden design in mind, it’s well worth a look.

9. Designer Jens Svensson - This Swedish designer focuses on the traditional gardens of Scandinavia. Expect lots of polished wood, simple forms, and beautiful accessories. He has a particularly useful pinboard for using stones and pebbles.

10. Garden Studio Design - Garden Studio Design focuses on modern design forms. Think outdoor fireplaces, modern BBQs, and elegant furniture. This account is all about creating an extra room in the outdoor area. It’s perfect if you’re thinking of a sleek and stylish garden design.

Thanks for reading! Go ahead and follow each every one of these Pinterest accounts. You’ll soon be bursting with inspiration and ideas!

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5 garden design books you should read

One of the most important things to any budding garden designer is inspiration. It’s drawing ideas and concepts from the greats, and applying them to your own model. One thing we love doing is leafing through garden design books to find sparks of inspiration. Just one small picture is sometimes all it takes to spark an entire new design. Reading the wise words of the best garden designers helps you take your craft to the next level.

It’s also essential for those who are new to the gardening world. If that applies to you, welcome! You’re joining a wonderful community of green-fingered experts and enthusiasts. The following books will prove a vital resource to you on your journey. They’ll help provide basic advice and techniques to start building your knowledge. Plus, they’ll give you an insight into the history and rich tapestry of garden design. So, where should you start?

1. Gardens Are For People

The first book on our list couldn’t be anything other than Gardens Are For People. It was written by the godfather of garden design, Thomas Church. During his illustrious career, he designed over 2,000 gardens for some of the most high-profile clients. He became the most in-demand contemporary garden designer in America. His landmark book, Gardens Are For People defines his philosophy and approach to design. It’s the bare bones of understanding how and why garden design is so powerful. The book comes complete with hundreds of images and site plans designed by Church himself.

2. RHS Encyclopedia of Garden Design

Moving on from the history and philosophy of garden design, it’s time to swot up on the particulars. The RHS Encyclopedia covers everything from how to draw up plans to project management. If our first book is all about inspiration and philosophy, this one is all about cold, hard facts. This is the beginner’s guide, and a great place to start if you’re new to the craft.

3. Room Outside

Room Outside is written by another of the industry’s most respected designers, John Brookes. Again, this book is more about philosophy and inspiration. It set the tone for the 1970s garden design revival, and has shaped the world of design since. It teaches you to think of the garden as an extension of the home. An extra room that is both functional and beautiful.

4. The Book Of Garden Design

This is one of our favourite books when it comes to inspiration. It’s an enormous ‘coffee-table’ book that comes in a dense hard-back form. It’s is full of more than 500 wonderful photos and images. It shows the creation of a great garden design from start to finish.

5. The Garden Design Bible

The first four books will provide you with the perfect history, philosophy, and inspiration behind garden design. But, at a certain point, you have to start sketching! That’s where the Garden Design Bible comes in. It has 40 simple designs that you can use as a start point. Get inspiration, and begin your very first garden design.

These five books will teach you everything you need to know about effective garden design. Buy them all, and use them wisely!

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Your garden landscaping project checklist

If you’re getting started on a garden design and landscaping project, you need a handy checklist to help you out! Luckily, we’ve come up with a fantastic list of everything you need to consider when redesigning a garden. You can keep this list with your on your next project, or use it to generate ideas. However you use it, it’s guaranteed to help you bring a garden to life, without any missteps along the way.

Concept and ideas

The first thing on our checklist is the initial concept and ideas. Sometimes this will come directly from the client’s mind. Sometimes, it’s up to you to create a concept that works for the garden landscaping. Too often, we rush into garden landscaping without looking at the bigger picture. Make sure you take the time to formulate the grand plan before you get started. Sketch ideas, and bounce concepts around before you commit to the final design. You will be looking at the completed project for years to come so take care with your decisions.


The lawn is often the heart of the garden. Especially if there are children involved. Families love to create a large space for the children to run wild, and explore their imaginations. It’s your job to make this green expanse work with your more creative ideas in the garden. You could consider a creative shape or style for the lawn. Try a circular pattern, for example.

Plants and flowers

One of the trickiest aspects of garden landscaping is choosing the right plants and flowers. During the planning phase, you’ll mark out specific areas for the flower beds. Ideally, they should complement the surrounding design, and provide sensible boundaries and borders. After that, it’s all about choosing the right combinations of plants and flowers. Everything from colour to blooming cycle will need to be taken into account here.

Patios and paving

A good, functional garden needs an area for sitting out and enjoying the natural surroundings. That means planning for a large patio or decking area. The important thing here is taking in the natural movements of the sun. What corner of the garden gets the most daylight, and where does the shade fall? You’ll also need to consider the best materials, both functionally and aesthetically.


Whilst it is the garden designer’s job to bring life and beauty to the garden, don’t forget about the practicalities. When drawing up the plans, you need to consider where the bins will go. Where will the main storage points be? Is there good access to the house, and any side alleys? Always think about the function of the space, as well as the form.


We’ve put the budget last, because it’s important to let your creative juices flow first! Get all your ideas and concepts out on paper, then consider the budget. But, at some point, you will need to consider the sums and figures. Try to make sure the materials are affordable, and that the entire project comes in on budget. We have another article focusing on how much to spend on a garden design and landscaping project.

That’s all for today, folks! Thanks for reading, and we hope that gives you a good starting point for your garden design and landscaping project.

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Advice on choosing a garden designer & garden landscaper

If you’re thinking about hiring a landscaper or garden designer, there are plenty of things to bear in mind. Chances are, you’re looking for a beautiful, professional design, and you’re willing to pay for it. That means you’re expecting a certain level of quality, and you certainly don’t want to take a risk. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to screen the very best designers and landscapers. It’s all about finding a balance of expertise, cost, and personality. Without further ado, let’s run through our checklist for finding a great garden designer.

Look through their portfolio

Almost every garden designer will have their own web site. It has quickly become a basic essential for professional landscapers. Here, they’ll showcase their best work through pictures and testimonials. Remember, every garden designer has their own style. Use the portfolio to see if their particular style matches your ideas. Is it modern, traditional, Oriental? Browse through their photo galleries; you’ll quickly see which is the right design and style for you.

Speak to previous clients

It’s not unreasonable or inappropriate to ask their previous clients about their experience. Ask the designer for references or testimonials from particular clients. If it’s a local garden designer, speak to others in the area that have used their services. Were they happy with the end result? Was the landscaper easy to work with, and amenable to changes and adaptations? Each of these things will give you a clear view of their professionalism.

Check the Society of Garden Designers

The Society of Garden Designers is the number one place for professional landscapers. To register, you must have two years of design experience, and gone through a process of evaluation. Every garden designer listed on this society will be highly professional, and expertly qualified. Ask your designer if they are registered, or working towards a registration application.

Cost and budget


Of course, one of the biggest considerations is your budget, and the cost of design. As you can expect, some designers are more expensive than others. Those that are registered with the Society of Garden Designers, for example, will command a higher price. Those with extensive portfolios and high-profile clients will also charge more. It’s up to you to find a cost that you are comfortable paying for. In many cases, you’ll find an enthusiastic and talented beginner who’s trying to grow their portfolio. This could be a cheap and effective solution.

Personality and communication

Last of all, consider whether this person has a personality you can work with. Garden design is all about communicating ideas, and trusting the landscaper. You’ll make changes along the way as things start to come together. That means you’ll spend a lot of time communicating and working with the designer. Do you think you can sustain a good working relationship? It’s the little things like this that make the process enjoyable too.

Spend plenty of time researching before you make a decision on your garden designer. After all, you want to sit and enjoy every second of your new garden when it’s finished!

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Where to go for your garden landscaping materials?

So, you’ve got your beautiful new garden planned out. The sketches are drawn, and the budget is set. You can picture it in your mind, and you can’t wait to relax in the summer! All that’s left to do is get your hands on all the materials and tools. If you’re drawing a blank about where to go, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve been in the garden landscaping and garden design business for years, and we know all the best spots in Edinburgh.

Remember, we are only a phone call away if you are looking for advice.

Today, we’ll give you a variety of different options to pick up essential equipment and supplies. Time to fill the car up, and stock up!

Dobbies Garden Center

Dobbies is a large chain, and you’ll find them all over Scotland, England, and Wales. But, it’s the Edinburgh branch that is the biggest, and best. It’s acts as the headquarters for the entire company, and it has an enormous range of supplies. You’ll find everything from plants to furniture to specialist tools. The great thing about Dobbies is that the staff are all gardening experts.

Four Seasons Build Center

The garden center is great for picking up the gardening essentials, you might need some bigger supplies. If you’re thinking of installing a patio, a pond, or large feature, you’ll need building materials. And that means getting out of the garden center, and into the specialist building stores. Four Seasons is perhaps the biggest and the best in Edinburgh. They’re a family-run business, and they’re also experts in Conservatories. If you’re looking to mix house with garden, this is your one-stop shop.

Forrest Craft

Based in West Shore Road, Granton they have an extensive display area. Whether you are looking for a garden shed / animal houses or a log cabin they technically more than capable of helping. If you have an idea, they have the skills, in house, to help you.

Seafield Shed Center

If you ask us, every good garden should have a shed! It’s the perfect place to store your tools over the winter, and keep things out of the house. You could even turn it into a small workshop or design studio. There are endless possibilities for a good shed, and they add a little character to the garden too. All products here are locally made and sustainable. Plus, it’s all lovingly crafted in their Fife factory. They’ll also help you out with gates, fences, and general gardening work. They’re a handy number to have in your phone book.

Binny plants

Based near Broxburn, they are a supplier of specialist plants grown in their own nursery. They specialise in new and unusual perennials, ferns, trees and grasses. If it is peony you are looking for, then you have found a true specialist.

Conifox nursery

Another specialist nursery near Broxburn. They grow over half a million plants and shrubs annually and are the largest grower of shrubs and trees in Scotland. Mainly catering to the trade they also are developing the retail side of their business. Well worth a visit.

Pentland Plants

If you’re looking specifically for an enormous range of plants and flowers, you just found your answer! Although the local garden centers all have a decent stock of plants, Pentland goes one step further. They produce over 50 million bedding plants annually, and they’re open every month of the year. They’re also on hand to advise you of the best combinations and blooming schedules.

Butterfly and insect world

We’ll leave you with a nice little extra option. As part of Dobbies Garden Center, you’ll find butterfly and insect world. If you’re looking to create a small butterfly sanctuary, it’s a great way to get inspiration and advice. Plus, the kids will love it!


Local to south Edinburgh in Murrayburn the team at MKM are a bunch of good guys and have expertise in all areas of landscape materials. Whatever your question is they will get an answer. Most items are from stock and they have a large outdoor display area where you can see some of the materials.



Another specialist in Loanhead, south Edinburgh. They offer a delivery service Monday through Saturday morning. Again the staff are very helpful and quick to get an estimate to you.


The team at Jewsons has expertise in landscaping materials and they are a good source of specialist equipment hire. Need a min-digger. No problem. Chain saw – with safety equipment – they can deliver your hire equipment straight to your door.


Specialising in paving, block paving and concrete paving, Marshalls provides professional paving supplies for paved gardens, driveways and landscapes. There is a strict vetting process to becoming Marshalls Accredited installer. You can see our accreditation on the Marshalls web site.

Of course, don’t discount the big guns like B&Q and Homebase. They’re always stocked up with everything you need. But, be sure to support your local, family run businesses too. Good luck finding everything you need and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.

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Contact Colinton Gardening Services - garden landscaping for Edinburgh

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