The Process

Designing Your Garden

We provide high detailed Landscape Design including construction documentation with schedules of all materials required ready for construction quoting. We provide Contract Administration on request and can recommend preferred contractors.

Designs are completed using the latest 3D technology using Archicad software that is now used by many top Architectural firms.

All design work is by Jim himself so it will be Jim you work with on the project. The business is run by Jim with administrative support from his wife Victoria. This ensures a personal service to a high standard.

Areas Serviced

Most residential work is in Melbourne, but we also have a base at Flinders on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia, where Jim is in demand for his knowledge & expertise in creating gardens using Australian plants. Jim is 5th generation Flinders, so knows the area well & importantly understands the plants that will grow best in that environment. Jim is passionate about conserving the character of the peninsula and restoring indigenous plant life to not only preserve the coastal & bush character of the peninsula, but to restore habitat for local fauna & the incredible array of birds.

Our landscape design service can be completed anywhere in Australia and overseas.

The first step in the process is to meet with Jim in his office or via zoom to discuss the project. This 30-minute meeting will enable Jim to get an overview of the project as well gathering information regarding your garden preferences such as taste, colour schemes, styles and lifestyle requirements to determine a project brief. Jim will then discuss the process of design and provide an outline of fees. There is no charge for this meeting. If applicable, Jim will attend site for the initial consultation.

Once the initial meeting has taken place, a written fee proposal will be submitted. This outlines the stages of design work required and the fees for each stage. As a very general guide, the total landscape design fee will equate to roughly 10% of the total landscape construction cost of your garden. For example, a garden costing $250,000 to construct, will have a design fee of approximately $25,000 + GST (for residential sites up to around 1,000m2).

For acreage projects (approx. 4-6 acres of landscape area), the concept stage is usually around $25,000- $35,000 + GST (depending on complexity). The concept stage for acreage projects involves an initial pencil sketch stage of the proposed design, before it is then drawn in CAD. For documentation, acreage projects will then be broken into zones that fit to suitable scale on A1 plans, and the size of the property will determine how many zones are required. Once the concept stage is completed, each zone will require detailed landscape plans including Master Plans with materials schedules, as well as Planting Plans (at a minimum). Zones may also require Existing Vegetation Plans, Elevations, Sections, Set Out Plans, & Lighting Plans. The final design fee will be determined by how many detailed landscape plans each Zone will require.

To book a design, you simply sign the letter of engagement, return it to our office, and the design process is booked in. All design work is done by Jim himself and he tends to work on one project at a time, giving the project his complete attention.

Melbourne CBD & Flinders, Victoria. Australia.
Our office is based in Glen Iris, Victoria, and we also have a base at Flinders on the Mornington Peninsula.

Weekend, Country or Interstate Projects
There may be occasions where a site visit is required by Jim prior to submitting a fee proposal. In these circumstances we can provide you with a travel fee and suitable time for the site visit to take place.

International Projects
Jim has worked extensively overseas as a designer of gardens and as a judge or guest lecturer. Some of the countries Jim has worked in include, England, Russia, UAE, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan & USA. Please contact us via email if you would like to discuss an international project.

A Site Survey is carried out by a Land Surveyor and is not part of our fee proposal. We can organise a survey if required on your behalf. The surveyor is engaged by the client. A survey can take 4+ or more weeks so it is important to organise this as the important first stage in the design process.

In situations where there is existing vegetation that needs to be considered, we recommend a horticultural based land survey from T.J Clarke from Speedie Development Consultants based in Hastings Ph 59795000

If you are organising a land survey you should ensure:

  1. The site survey should include all site levels, title boundaries, fence lines, buildings, trees and significant shrubs.
  2. The survey should include building floor levels, as well as entry doors and windows on buildings
  3. All walls & fences to show overall heights
  4. The survey should include all services locations including electricity, sewer, stormwater, telecommunications, & gas (at a minimum)
  5. The survey should show any easements, as well as all drains and pits
  6. The survey should show the council verge area to the nearest access road and any council assets & vegetation on the council verge
  7. All trees, large shrubs, & stumps will need Diam, Diam at Breast Height, & overall Height information
  8. Note the survey is required for Landscape Architecture purposes so all vegetation detail is important as well as existing garden bed edges
  9. The survey should be provided in PDF format & DWG (CAD) format

Once the project is booked in and the survey information has been received, Jim will arrange a site visit to review and analyse existing features and vegetation (if he hasn’t already done so). Digital images of the site will be taken for later reference. All existing vegetation is identified and assessed for retention or removal.

1. Design Development & Concept
Jim will prepare a landscape concept plan to enable you to gain a clearer perspective of the proposed design prior to documentation. It is essential to allow for client input and feedback and to discuss budgets, ensuring that any amendments can be made prior to the development of the final master plan.

Jim uses 3D technology using Archicad software to create a 3D view of the design. The Design Development stage does not include detail drawings nor does it show any planting or specific construction details. As this is a working drawing, under no circumstances should a concept plan be issued for construction.

For larger and more complex projects, Jim might start with an initial pencil sketch layout for client review before commencing with the concept plan in CAD form.

2. Existing Vegetation & Site Conditions Plan
Jim will provide an Existing Vegetation Plan showing all existing shrubs and trees. This plan denotes plants and trees that are to be retained, transplanted for later use, or removed. This plan is important for planning applications, tree removal permits, and also for contractors on site.

3. Master Plan
Once the layout of the garden is confirmed, Jim will complete the Master Plan that shows the precise layout of all hard and soft areas of the proposed garden including location of relevant components such as paving, walls, paths and garden beds.

The Master Plan also includes hardscape materials schedules such as paving, decking, garden beds and wall treatments.

4. Site Set Out Plan
To ensure correct set out of the landscape, a Site Set Out Plan is provided that shows all site levels, set out dimensioning, and radius curves. This plan is crucial for the contractors when setting out and constructing the garden.

5. Contract Documentation & Construction Specifications
Construction specifications via detailed materials schedules are provided to assist with obtaining accurate quotes and to ensure the contractor has a clear understanding as to the build method of the project.

6. Swimming Pool Set Out Plan
Jim can provide a designated swimming pool set out plan that shows the location of the pool in the landscape, and establishes site levels to accommodate pool coping and surrounding paving. Note that the appointed pool company is responsible for the design and structural engineering of the swimming pool.

7. Construction Details, Sections & Elevation Drawings
All detail drawings, sectional drawing, and elevation drawings for relevant structures, components, screens, fences and walls will be supplied.

8. Planting Plan
Jim will design a detailed Planting Plan showing all areas of the proposed garden that includes a detailed plant schedule with plant names, quantities and pot sizes. On complex projects, Jim supplies plants to the client for the project meaning that Jim keeps direct control over the quality of plants used on projects. Jim has extensive contacts with nurseries in Australia and overseas and has the ability to source any plant or tree required.

9. Lighting Plan
A garden lighting plan is provided that shows locations, products and quantities of light fittings required to light your garden.

10. Schedules
All materials, fittings, paint colours and products specified are itemised, quantified and scheduled so that contractors can provide accurate quotes to construct the garden.

Once Jim has completed the design of your garden, Jim can source quotes and administer the contractor who builds your garden, on your behalf. Jim will nominate a percentage fee of the contract price for this service. Once the contractor is notified, the construction of your new garden can commence. The client pays the landscape contractor directly. The client pays the contract administration fee directly to Jim Fogarty Design. The percentage fee is based on the size of the project. Please note that Project Management of the job is by the appointed landscape contractor & all liabilities for the construction of the garden remain with the landscape contractor. This service is for clients that don’t have the time to administer contractors and would prefer Jim to represent them during the construction phase. If Contract Administration is not required, Jim can provide a fee for individual site visits as required during the construction phase of your garden.

It is the responsibility of the client to obtain any necessary planning or building permits. The client should check with council for permit requirements for the project. The client should check with the appointed landscape contractor for any Building Permits that may be required for constructing the garden. Clients should check with council prior to starting the design process for any heritage overlays or easements, which may affect the design of your garden.

Any structure that requires a Planning or a Building Permit will need to be drawn by a VBA registered draftsperson as per current VBA regulations. The client will need to engage a registered draftsperson in addition to the landscape design engagement. Plans completed by Jim Fogarty Design can be used to assist with permit applications. It is likely that a Building Permit application will require Engineering certification which is payable by the client. The landscape design fee does not include engineering drawings. All fees relating to permit applications are payable by the client.

(VBA is Victorian Building Authority)

To ensure your garden always looks its best and fulfils its design intent, Jim recommends having regular garden maintenance. Speak to Jim about finding a good horticultural focused gardener that can maintain your garden.

A successfully sustainable garden is one that lasts generations. Jim is passionate about designing gardens that have a sense of place, whether it is a city garden in leafy family suburb or a coastal garden that blends seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. Making ethical choices is important when selecting the right materials for projects. All timber used on projects must be from certified sources such as FSC or PFC or similar. Jim prefers to use locally sourced materials and recycled or reused materials where possible.