Hines Designs Blog Page

September 13, 2018

The Real Cost of a Patio

 Real Cost of Laying a Patio

So, I hear it all the time. I just want a new patio laying, £500 should cover it, shouldn’t it?

The truth is……. NO!

Well it is if your wanting it to be laid by competent and skilled workmen that will remove your waste in a correct manner and construct it to the products specifications.

Let’s have a look at the process and see where the costs come from.

We are going to look at laying a simple Indian Sandstone patio, the patio size will be 4 meters by 6 meters.

Let’s work the maths out:

4m x 6m = 24m2

So now we know that the surface area of the paving and area to be excavated is 24m2, now for our new patio to be laid we must first remove the old patio and excavated the ground. Below is our basic existing and proposed plan.


For the patio to be laid correctly the contractor must lay the patio in the correct manner, this involve excavating and removing the ground to the correct level for the new patio to be installed.

Here is the correct configuration of a new patio installation, this is for a typical Indian sandstone patio, configurations will vary for different paving units.







So, if the existing garden is relatively flat, we can now work out the amount of earth to be excavated.

We know the area of the garden is 24m2. Using the drawings above we can work out that the depth the excavation needs to be:

Paving 30mm

Mortar bed 40mm

Compacted aggregate 100mm min

30mm + 40mm + 100mm = 170mm

The total depth of the excavation is 170mm or 0.17m. we must now work out the volume of the earth to be removed for waste removal or if we are to use it elsewhere on site.

Length 4m x Wide 6m x Depth 0.17m = 4.08m3

The total amount of earth to be removed from the excavation is 4.08m3, what we must keep in mind though is once the earth has been unconsolidated its volume will increase. The usual calculation is to plus 30% the amount of earth to be excavated to arrive at the correct amount for ordering skips or waste removal measures.

The actual amount of earth to move from site is 5.3m3.

The Numbers

We now have the numbers for the amount of paving, mortar and aggregate we are going to need to construct the patio, we also know the amount of earth to be removed for the patio and have multiplied that by 2 for waste removal measures.

So, lets next look at the costs of doing the work.

We will look at a using a fully insured and competent contractor to install the patio, it is important to do your own research and due diligence when selecting a contractor to complete the works. If the contractor doesn’t have the right insurances in place and damages anything such as a mains gas pipe or electrical wire the costs will be significantly increased.

What are the costs of using a competent and insured contractor?

Most landscape contractors will have a set rate for laying paving, this may be £100 – £150 per m2 depending on the product and the intricacy of the job.

The rate has been like most things in life, worked out on a time basis. How long will it take to lay 1m2 of paving = the 1m2 rate, its that simple.

I always feel comfortable knowing that the contractor’s rates leans slightly towards the £150m2 rate as I know that they have included for setbacks, errors and the unforeseen. If I ever see a rate as low as £80m2 alarm bells start to ring.

What are the costs of using a noncompetent and insured contractor, well my uncle had a saying “buy cheap, buy twice” I will leave that topic there.

The rates of a landscape contractor

The rate of trades people will vary dramatically throughout the UK and it would be unfair to call one high and the other low, for this example I will use the rates of local contractors to myself within Lancashire.

Skilled Landscaper = £180 – £160 per day

Semi-skilled Landscaper = £160 – £120 per day

Labourer = £120 – £80 per day

The above rate can vary drastically and no one rate is fixed to that individual.

So, if those are the rates, what are the costs per day?

Let’s say we have a 2 and 1 gang, 1 skilled landscaper, 1 semi-skilled landscaper and a labourer,

£180 + £160 + £120 = £460.00

£460.00 per day, now let’s not forget about the tax man having his cut, £460 + 20% = £552.00.

The actual cost of the team for the day is £552.00, the next thing to look at is the time it will take the contractor to do the work. This will vary from project to project and certain considerations need to be looked at such as access. If the access to the job is easy and the contractor can get machinery to the job the cost in time will be considerably less than if the access is limited and the job must be hand dug and wheel barrowed out, round the house and up a hill to the skip.

So, lets look at our project.








We can see from the drawing that the contractor will have 2 possible routes to the project area, a primary route which will be faster and a secondary route which will take longer and require surface protection. We can also see that the driveway will be large enough for the skip and if the client didn’t want the skip on the drive, it could also be place on the roadside.

We have established that the access is good, a skip can be stored on site. Now time for some more maths.

First the skips, these vary from region to region and from different companies, we are going to use £200 for an 8YD skip which will hold 6.1m2 of soil. We know from our earlier calculations that we are going to have 5.3m3 of spoil to remove from site, so with simple maths we can divide the amount of spoil by 6.1m2 to arrive at the actual amount of skips required. The contractor will only require 1 skip for the spoil, we will add an additional skip for waste from the new patio waste and any other waste that is produced such as existing materials, cement bags, sand bags and any other waste produced from the job.

Let’s get the price together

Laying the 24m2 patio @ £120m2 = £2800

Cost of 2 skips @ £200 = £400

Subtotal = £3200

VAT @ 20% = £640

Total = £3840.00

I hope this has help to put things into perspective, this was a straight forward project with good access and basic materials. Always beware of someone that says that they can lay you a new patio for little money. Always ask yourself, what are they compromising on, what have they forgot to price for, what come backs will you have?





June 16, 2018

Contemporary Family Garden

Contemporary Family Garden

Contemporary Gardens, this is the thing we are most often asked to produce for our clients. The idea of something new and modern but with a traditional twits of herbaceous planting.

But what does it mean to have a garden that offers the outdoor living requirements of a modern garden. How do you meet all of the clients needs to produce a family friendly garden that offers the ‘WOW’ factor.

Well here we are going to show case a Garden Design project in Lancashire, the project was based roughly between Manchester and Leeds.

The Brief

To create a garden for all of the family to enjoy, the garden must also offer somewhere for the adults to unwind at the end of a busy day. Entertaining family and friends was high on the agenda and the garden needed to provide space for up to 10 people.

The orientation of the garden offered pockets of sun throughout the day. The Garden Design responded to this by creating areas that provided somewhere to enjoy at those particular times.

So the garden, the garden offers the following:

  • Patio – for entertaining
  • Raised deck – for relaxation
  • 2x Lawn’s – for the children to enjoy
  • screened off utility area – for the dogs and storage
  • 2 x planting borders – 1 for the formal look from within the house, the other is much more relaxed.

Relaxation and calmness was a driving force behind the concept development for this garden. The concept developed through studying experiential time and how we can alter the perception of time through creating spaces that allow us to lose track of the tick tock time we live by.

Stepping stones from the main patio area to the seating area were spaced in such a way that makes the user slow down to cross, this is the beginning of the journey. The raised deck area was the main area to sit and relax, it is positioned to get sun from 9am through to 8pm in summer time. The position also allows for full views of the garden, allowing you to keep a restful eye upon the children as they play in the summer sun.

The Garden Design Process


The process started with an initial consultation with the client to enable us to fully understand what the client wanted us to achieve.

Site Survey & Analysis

The next stage was to survey the garden and perform a full site analysis, this enable us to fully understand all of the constrains that the site has, it also allows us to explore the potentials the garden has so that we can work with the site and not against it.

Concept Development

This is most exciting stage of the process, where ideas and visions appear, as well as developing a strong concept that the garden design will follow, here below you can see some images of the concept plan that lead to the final design.

Master Plan & Construction Documents

The important parts, these are the documents that enable the garden to be built as specified. The documents will include precise setting out plans, construction details and specifications, basically everything that a contractor will need to accurately price and build the garden.

Planting Plan & Planting

We also provided the client with a complete planting design and planting service. This ensures that the right plant is in the right place to further increase the success of the Garden Design intent.

For more information please keep an eye out for future posts, where we will be covering the planting used throughout this design.

Have a great day…….

December 22, 2017

How to design a garden

How to design a garden

Designing your own garden, surely it cant be that hard right??

well believe it or not your right, grab yourself a piece of paper and a sharp pencil, maybe even a ruler and a compass and away you go!!!!!

Well if it was only that easy we would all be award winning garden designers. They are several phases that must be completed and things that need to be considered, hopefully I will help to point out a few of these phases and what they entail throughout this article.

Where to start?

Well in the garden of course, or not!

We do want to start in the garden, but usually way before a garden visit I will of gone through various mapping resources and looked at any planning restrictions that may apply to the site. This all helps me to ask the right questions to my clients when I arrive so a little homework goes along way here.

You can download my FREE Garden Design Checklist to help with this stage, simply subscribe to our mailing list on the home page of our website.

Okay, so we now know what we want…… Lets GO!!!!!!!!

Erm, not quite. First we need to survey the garden to establish the boundaries, existing trees and feature as well as any overhead and underground services and the varying site levels. Easy right?


Hmm surely its time to put pen to paper now!

Nearly there, now its time for a deep site analysis of the garden. things such as sun patterns and wind directions need to be logged, microclimates and soil tests taken. All of the views from the house must also be taken into considerations as well as your views out of the garden and those into the garden for privacy.

Okay lets go!!!!!!

Yes we can start to sketch up some of those ideas on the base plan you have produced. All of those ideas now have to be tested against basic design principles. This is the most creative part of the process and I recommend that you go WILD!!! Once you have pushed the design as fair as you can take it, bring it back down to earth to match your budget.

Lets build it!!

Okay sure lets take that sketch and build something that’s going to withstand all of the elements, foot traffic and lets not forget if must be buildable. This is where many people get the whole process wrong, you don’t build a house from a sketch on a piece of paper that you or your builder drew up. A master plan is produced with detailed construction drawings to show how to build the house, its the same for a garden, the only difference being that some of the elements are living things and will naturally want to move and grow.

If designed properly by a professional the garden will sit perfectly within its surrounding landscape. It will improve the value of the house by becoming a harmonious extension of it.

So I guess what I am saying is, yes you can design your own garden. But if you want something that’s AMAZING, please contact a designer.

I hope you enjoyed the article, we love feed back.

Thanks as always,

Roger Hines



December 21, 2017

Software for Landscape & Garden Design

Software for Landscape & Garden Designers

So, a question I get asked a lot is what software do I use.

Well the thing to remember is that design software is a tool and like all tools they have their place. The question which always comes around is what software to use and when.

Concept Development

Personally I always start the design process by hand, sure after iv surveyed the garden I will complete a digital CAD base plan of the site, but after that its back to tracing paper and scribbling. From the trace I will test ideas in a sketchbook and then further test and refine these ideas in a 3D modelling software. If the site levels are all over the place I might even take it upon myself to model the terrain using a software programme to really explore the site and how all of the elements interact with each other.

Personally I always start the design process by hand

Once the concept is set, the client wishes to see the design before commencing to the master plan and construction details. The use of a variety of software solutions such as 3D modelling, 2D CAD, render software and a photo manipulation programme are used to best convey the design intent.

Some projects may even be hand drawn and rendered images, its whatever suits the project.

Master Plan & Construction Detailing

From this point on its software all the way. The master plan and construction details have to be of a high standard and meet industry standards. It makes sense to use a good 2D/3D CAD software for this task. Something we are seeing more of is the use of BIM, but this is a whole new topic in itself.

Personally I use a combination of 3D modelling software which is then backed up with a BIM programme. Your workflow may differ, what I will say is explore all of the options and see what works best for you and also your client.

As we move more in to the world of VR (virtual reality) I would highly recommend getting a frim grasp on some form of 3D software. The industry is moving fast and clients may expect to have the option of immersing themselves within the design before its actually physically built. this is something I personally I’m very interested in exploring and think we will see more of in the future.

I am always looking for new programmes to test out, if you have any that you recommend please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Till next time, be good and have a great Christmas.

Roger Hines

December 15, 2017

Outdoor Living??

So what is this Outdoor Living all about??

Well as we have become ever more busy and society has and is still is changing, the spaces we occupy are changing to. People find it hard to find time to wind down after a hard days work and are looking for spaces to just relax and enjoy.

I find it ironic that in an era of time saving practices that the only thing we can’t do is find time for ourselves. To me, and this is my personal opinion on Outdoor Living, the spaces we create are there to be experienced and enjoyed. Think of these spaces as somewhere that you, your family and friends can simple embrace the thing that we seek the most, time together.

We can all benefit from being a little less busy, it’s proven time and time again that connecting with nature has a huge benefit for our health. Now imagine if all you had to do was walk out of your own backdoor to reap those benefits.

Remember times is something we will always want more of, are you making the most of yours!

So in a nutshell, to me Outdoor Living is having the ability to step outside and enjoy your space with family, friends or just by yourself. It’s being able to conveniently connect with nature faster than typing in your WiFi code. It’s having the ability to step outside and experience time at your pace and not that of the busy world we live in.

The talk on this subject could go on forever, but I’m going to save the rest for the new video series that we are currently working on.

Thanks for reading and until next time, take care.

Roger Hines

Landscape & Garden Designer