Is it better to get a professional design for a garden, or just to follow your nose and see what happens as you're working?
Of course it’s not always necessary to have everything really well thought through - some projects do just evolve. But personally, I always say that creativity is relatively cheap compared to the idea that ‘throwing money at a project is the best way forward’. In my opinion, a well designed garden need not rely on expensive paving, etc. you can make a better garden using well thought through planting ideas which are relatively inexpensive.
I think that taking the time (and even swallowing the expense) of getting a proper design done before starting work will give time for new ideas to breathe, and can help to solve the problems of the site and maximise the potential of the available space. Also, no more plants that keel over and die because they have been planted in the wrong place!
I'd like to know what everyone else's experience has been, though - was your designed garden worthwhile or not? Did you skip the designing phase of your garden and get great results, or regret it? Look forward to your responses!