Selecting a Landscape Practice: A Guide for Architects and Planning Consultants

Choosing a landscape partner

The selection of a landscape design partner by an architect or planning consultant, when being commissioned to produce a ‘grand design’, can be crucial to the overall success of a scheme. 

This is because the landscape should frame, compliment, and enhance any building that is designed. 

The additional inclusion of provision for biodiversity at the core of the design will also ensure that the overall site can seek to meet its environmental targets – which will also aid in the progression of an architect’s plans through the planning system.

So what needs to be considered when seeking a landscape designer? I believe that this can be split into three key areas that should be assessed:

Outstanding landscape design

Clearly the design of the garden itself needs to exemplify creativity and visual impact. In the twenty-first century it is additionally vital that the outdoor space is dealt with both sympathetically and to maximise the biodiversity present – albeit within the constraints of a client’s preferences and the time available for maintenance to ensure that the garden is well loved and tended into the future. Indeed sometimes the quality of a design is best achieved by paring back and keeping it simple, as opposed to filling a space with features – ensuring that an outstanding building within the landscape forms the key focal point for the site.

Expertise and experience

Landscape designers come in many forms, from Landscape Designers (who are Registered Members of the Society of Garden Designers or Accredited Designers with BALI (or both)) to Landscape Architects (who are members of the Landscape Institute). Professional accreditation aside however, the selection of a landscape partner should also seek to match a practice’s specialities to the specific choice of commission – from those practices which create gardens for public spaces, areas within existing gardens of historical significance, or alongside newly built homes of exceptional character and quality.

Creating a partnership as opposed to a transaction

The relationship between designers (whether architects or landscape designers) needs to be based on mutual trust in order that it will be efficient (with deadlines adhered to), open (with information shared throughout the process), and flexible (to deal with the inevitable issues that will arise through the course of a project). In addition the early engagement of a landscape designer can pay dividends from the placement of the building on the plot to maximising the landscape usage (for example ensuring the doors and windows align with key vistas). This enables the building to rest perfectly within the space, which is not always so straight-forward where landscape design is considered only at the end of the process.

 

Here at Matt Haddon Gardens we work to a single vision – to create contemporary gardens, with biodiverse planting, where people and wildlife coexist. This exemplifies both our approach and our expertise and ensures that it is easy for partners to choose us as they know immediately how we will work. We are also able to combine this with a background in historical research to ensure that our gardens sit comfortably within the space in which they are created – crucial when juxtaposing a garden against an existing building (often one that is to be newly extended and improved).

The final stage of selecting a landscape practice though is perhaps the most important – to reach out and meet so that you can ensure that you and they are able to work together to mutual shared goals: for the the architecture to be framed in the best possible way, for the client to have a truly outstanding home, and for the biodiversity which a designed landscape can draw into the space.

If you would like to start a conversation please get in touch with Matt Haddon MSGD MBALI on 07595 421910 or at matt@matthaddongardens.co.uk