Design & Build Process




Every garden is unique and each project has a life of its own, but they tend to follow similar journeys.



Spending time on site with the client and drawing out the essence of a place is the starting point.  From this I develop a written brief and provide a design concept with a general breakdown and explanation of how the process will work and what the costs will be.

The first step in the process is to meet with John on-site to discuss the project.  This 30 minute meeting will enable John to get an overview of the project as well as provide an opportunity to gather information regarding your garden preferences, tastes, preferred color schemes, styles and lifestyle requirements to determine a project brief.  John will discuss the process of design and provide an outline of fees at this point.  There is no charge for this meeting for projects within 30 minutes of Celtic Garden’s Dexter, MI office.

Once the initial meeting has taken place, a written design fee proposal will be submitted.  This outlines the stages of design work required and the fees for each stage.  As a guide, the total landscape design fee will equate to roughly 5-10% pf the total landscape construction cost of your garden.  For example a garden costing $50,000 to construct, will have a design fee of approximately $2,500 - $5,000.  

In circumstance where sites visits are required outside of John’s local area, a travel fee and allotment for the suitable time for a design site visit is required.



An important part of the design concept is recognizing the assets and challenges that are existing on the site.  The original grade changes, buildings, trees, utilities and services all need to be recorded by a professional surveyor as this forms the basis of the design. I also return to make a full photographic survey and analysis which feeds into the design concept. The fees do not include the cost of this survey but I am happy to arrange this service on your behalf.

All existing features and vegetarians will be assessed for removal or retention for the new design.



The most important part of the process.  Ideas are pitched base on client brief in the form of hand-drawn sketches, mood boards, and concept arial plot plan.

I then make a presentation of the proposed scheme.  This includes hand drawn sketches, a general hand-drawn plot plan, visuals, precedent photos, and everything needed to convey how the finished garden will look. This is the first tangible visualization of your garden and it is a discussion document which allows the design to change and evolve. I charge a fixed fee for the design concept.



I produce a detailed masterplan which captures any changes and revisions which may have come out of the last stage.  I detail every aspect of the project down.  I take enormous pride in the quality of the detailed design and consider it is this which elevates a design to become truly special.  This package allows the scheme to be accurately costed and built correctly.

These are the plans the Celtic Gardens and other contractor will work from.  They will also serve as documents for planning applications if required.



I produce detailed planting plans and specifications.  This forms part of the Detailed Design package but I realize that you may wish to remain closely involved with the planting design, so whether you know a little or a lot about plants I will work with you every step of the way.

I personally procure the finest trees & plant for all of our projects.  

Plants are chosen carefully to reflect both the client’s preferences and the nature of the location.  Choosing plants that suit the peculiarities of the site (e.g. climate, aspect, local flora and soil conditions) provides them with optimal chance of thriving in their environment.



The proper construction of a garden is one of the most exciting steps and crucial to a garden’s success.  Celtic Gardens is a premier garden and landscape build company and can manage the placement and installation of the largest hardscape to the finest detailed planting. 



Celtic Gardens is generally able to complete all of the projects related to the construction of the garden and landscape.  In areas that we sub out the work - pool construction for example - our team will serve as a general contractor for all of the subcontractors.  

All subcontractors who work under Celtic Gardens will provide best pricing.  Celtic Gardens management fee for all subs will be 8-12% depending on the project.  



The management or perpetuation of a garden after it is constructed is an important ingredient to preserve the original design intent and adapt with the garden as it evolves and matures.  Celtic Gardens can customize a long term maintenance plan unique to your individual garden and landscape.

Celtic Gardens also provides seasonal containers and special event displays.  Our specialty flower displays, decor and installations can make outdoor weddings, private parties and special events beautiful and memorable.  



A successfully sustainable garden is one that lasts generations.  John is passionate designing gardens that have a sense of place, whether it be an urban garden, a wooded country landscape or a lakefront cottage garden that blends seamlessly with the surrounding landscape.  Making ethical choices is important when selecting the right materials for all of our projects.  John prefers to use locally sourced materials and recycled or reused materials when possible. 

It is the Celtic Gardens policy to respect the wildlife within a site and minimize disruption to their lives and habitats whenever possible.  We enjoy using plants that attract insects and birds to heighten the overall experience and encourage biodiversity.