Posted: 26/05/2015 at 21:03
I understand where you are coming from Mother Hen. Nurseries may do a design service but I would reckon only for plants. You need some advice on hard landscaping as well. In fact a total design. So your idea is a good one - get a garden designer. You will be able to sit down with them and chat about what you want in general terms ie somewhere to eat, a border with perennials, a pond, compost heap - whatever. You can also tell them if you are intending to do the work yourselves over a period of time - whatever. A budget both for the design and for the garden as a whole. The smaller the garden, the cheaper it will be. They will be able to give you rough ideas of how much paving for instance will cost per sq. metre. If you do get a scaled drawing then you can work from it over the years when you have the money and you know that the whole design will be cohesive.
A garden designer will have different prices for sketches (the cheapest), a design to scale of the whole garden, planting plans, structural plans etc etc. I say go for it. Money well spent. A garden designer will normally only charge a nominal ff for a first visit (or free). They will have their portfolio with them so you can check out if you like their style or not. And should have lots of before and after photos.