Posted: 20/07/2014 at 21:45
Louise - you don't seem sure of what you want so maybe it would be better to take your time and make some lists of what you want and , more importantly, what you don't want. It's a big commitment and expense so don't rush it. Take a look round your existing garden and make a note of what you like and dislike about each part. Then decide what you need - for instance, if you have children and need a play area for them then note that, if you want an evening seating/dining area note that. Then list things you'd like to have - perhaps a pond, a veg plot, trees, chicken run etc. Then the things you don't like - styles, colours, particular plants etc. If you hate a particular style of garden then note it. How much time you have for maintenance is really important - no point having huge herbaceous borders if you work full time and have other commitments. It will become a millstone round your neck.
That will give a designer the bones to work with - they can only draw up a plan if there's enough to go on. If I was you I'd take the rest of this year to think about it carefully, and make sure you're giving him/her useful info so that there's less chance of you ending up with something you're not happy with.
Hogweed's been posting at the same time as me, but we're basically saying the same thing!