About ALDA

Selecting a garden design company can be a daunting business. After all, your garden is rather a permanent fixture! And garden design projects don’t come cheap.

To help you decide whether we’re right for you, here’s an honest list of what you can expect from us. Further down the page you’ll also find out how we work, and who’s in our in-house team. But you’ll know for sure when we meet – give us a call today to book your free initial consultation. When working with ALDA you should expect:

  • A listening ear. Each garden and each set of client requirements is unique. Listening to what you want from your garden is arguably the most important step in your whole garden design project.
  • Advice and ‘hand-holding’ support throughout the project – when it comes to talking through designs, planting plans, materials and more, you won’t be on your own! Our garden designer Katie will be involved from start to finish, and our in-house construction team often provide feasibility input in the design phase – so there’s a smooth transition from one point to the next.
  • Design to suit your style, not ours – we have experience designing a wide range of garden styles and sizes – from cottage gardens to formal courtyards, traditional to modern, tiny to extensive.
  • A horticultural focus and expert plant knowledge. We’re as at home with planting as we are with paving. Expect planting plans that delight.
  • High quality craftsmanship and attention to detail from our highly skilled in-house team – we don’t skimp on things like paving jointing, drainage solutions and fencing. We believe in quality.
  • Clear, up-front quotations and communication, followed up with traditional service and old fashioned courtesy. We have a reputation to maintain after all.

We are delighted with the work all the team put into our project. Thanks so much to ALL of you – you’ve been a great team and we would recommend your services.

How we work

Each project is different, but the following will give you an overview of what to expect when we work with you on your garden re-design.

  1. Initial Consultation
    Importantly, our designs start off not with drawing, but with asking questions & listening. To create the right garden design, our designer Katie Thomas first needs to understand who you are, how you live & what you want your garden for. She will come to meet you in your garden, and spend some time discussing ideas and potential design approaches. This initial consultation is always free of charge, and there is no obligation for you to proceed past this point if you (or we!) decide we’re not a good fit.
  2. Design Proposal
    After an initial consultation, you will receive your Design Proposal – outlining our understanding of your requirements, and stating what our fees will be for each possible phase of the garden design project. This enables you to proceed with all, or just some of the phases, as required.
  3. Site Survey
    If you are happy with our proposal, the next stage is normally a full site survey, allowing us to collect the information we require to prepare designs, recommendations and plans. This is when we take accurate site measurements and levels.
  4. Site Plan & Designs
    Based on our discussions and survey, we will start formulating designs and plans. Plans are completed as CAD drawings using standards easily recognisable within the construction industry. Detailed sections of the drawings will be available if requested, showing the construction method and materials required. We also prepare mood boards and sketches if we feel this will be helpful. The garden design process is a collaborative one – we prepare drawings and run through them with you, amending them to include feedback and changes as required. Read more about garden design and the soft landscaping process.
  5. Garden Construction
    Once plans are agreed and signed off, it’s time for hitting the ground! Our in-house garden construction team is headed up by John Hill, who has 30 years’ experience of building beautiful gardens. Construction will normally take between 2 and 3 weeks, although this of course depends very much on the individual project. It can be a messy process, and it’s normal for things to look worse before they look better! Our emphasis however is on providing a polite and friendly on-site service, with as little disruption as possible. Our customers say they appreciate our tidiness on site! In the light of the Coronavirus crisis, we are able to provide a contact-free service by bringing our our own Portaloo and communicating by phone / email / through the window – whatever works best for you!) Read more about garden construction.
  6. Planting
    We source the majority of your plants from reliable local nurseries, to provide the best quality plants. Depending on the time of year, some or all of the planting may take place alongside/immediately after the garden construction, or it may be beneficial to delay the planting to a specific time of year. As well as sourcing plants, arranging delivery and planting the garden, Katie and the team will be happy to share with you tips on how to look after your new plants going forwards. Read more about the soft landscaping process.
  7. Post-Project Support
    In the unlikely event of any post-project issues, a phone call to Kate in the office will trigger a visit from John and the team to put things right. The quality of our work is demonstrated in the high percentage of clients who come back to us with additional work – perhaps a new car port or driveway – or indeed when they move house and require a new garden make over! We’re here for the long haul, and our emphasis is on ensuring you’re happy with your garden.

Our In-House Team

We pride ourselves on being traditionally skilled and exercising real craftsmanship; we don’t just sub work out to contractors. We’re as happy with soft landscaping as we are with hard landscaping. We believe in attention to detail and good old fashioned service. We work with trusted partners where appropriate, such as for lighting and other electrical installations.

John Hill

John has extensive experience within the construction, groundworks, drainage and landscaping sectors and a keen eye for detail. He had a long association with a renowned local garden centre, for whom he undertook many and varied projects. In addition to working from existing plans and drawings, John also crafts bespoke timber structures for clients on-site. Before starting his own business, he worked for a large construction company and a local landscape contractor.

Katie Thomas

Katie is our principal garden designer, and has been designing a wide variety of gardens for over eight years. She is passionate about designing creative, yet practical solutions. Katie is also a keen artist and loves creating hand drawn, real to life perspective sketches to help clients visualise her designs.

Brett Somerville

Brett is a skilled member of the team in all areas of garden landscaping. He has been with the company for 13 years since starting out as an apprentice landscaper and now has plenty of experience in such things as brick laying, installing porcelain paving, setting out to plan, soft landscaping to name a few. When John is off site Brett is the go-to person.

Chris Hill

Chris has now been with us for 2 years and is a skilled member of the team in all areas of garden landscaping.  He has worked in the construction industry for many years and is very knowledgeable about ground works and drainage, as well as being experienced in brick laying and installing paving.

Kate Roberts

Kate works in the ALDA office in Newbury on the admin side.  She is the first point of contact for client enquiries and will be the person sending out design proposals, landscaping quotations and liaising with John and Katie regarding client updates and support throughout the process of design to build.

Like what you see?

From planning a new border to a complete garden remodel, we pride ourselves on transforming ideas into beautiful reality, with minimum disruption. If you’re based in or around the Reading and Newbury area, we’d love to meet and discuss your project in detail – book your free no-obligation garden consultation today. We do get pretty booked up, particularly during the Spring, so plan ahead if possible!