So you have moved in to your new property and you have selected the kitchen unit, the floor coverings, the window dressings etc. You may have followed a colour scheme or a style and you are proud of how your new house looks …. just how you imagined it You have been so exited to move in and finally you are enjoying your new property. But there is just one thing spoiling it, everytime you look outside the garden is begging you for some attention, time and money. The first instinct is to leave it for a while, but there are things you can do to get things moving in the right direction.
You may have decided to save up for your garden and hire professionals or you may be wanting to do it yourself but you are not sure where to start. The one thing most people in new builds find is that they quickly get upset with the sand coming in to the home and attaching itself to the washing, the children and the family pet. You look out of the window at the weeds gradually starting to claim your back yard and you know that you need to do something with the garden, and soon.
So where do you start?
Well first things first, you do not need any budget to draw up a design or wish list and start considering your options. With careful planning you will avoid making expensive mistakes.
- Plan what you want to use your garden for as a whole. Don’t worry about budget for now, this is wish list time. It may be an idea to start saving ideas in photos on your phone or pintrest so when you come to discuss it with friends, family or a professional all your ideas will be easily accessible.
- From your list decide which items are a priority- this will enable you to break down the budget if you need to and give you an idea where to start your project. Do you have any items left over from building that you can utilise such as paving or bricks. If it is a maxi brick it can be rendered.
- Analyse your garden and consider where you may need extra shade or seating for example.
- Consider conduits for lighting and reticulation. I have been to many site consultations to find that the client has paved down the side without putting in a conduit to get water to the back.
- Grab some graph paper and draw out tables, planters etc to scale you can then move them around on your plan. Draw out several designs a Dont be too specific at first-keep playing with ideas
- Don’t worry about plant choices at this stage just consider how you would like it to look such as hedging ,ground cover, climbers, tropical etc.
- If you are finding it difficult to visualise your ideas – put in some pegs and string and peg it out.This will also give you insight in to size and proportion for each element.
- Most new builds come with paving in the alfresco You dont have to plan your whole garden around this. There are beautiful alternatives on the market that are not as expensive as you think or you may prefer decking or exposed aggregate. The pavers can be utilised elsewhere such as down the side of the house or as an edging if you do decide you want to change them. You selected them months ago and you may still be very happy with your selection but its worth checking what else is out there now you are not under pressure to make so many decisions at once.
- Consider the house and the garden as a whole and try and follow colour schemes and themes inside and out. Eg if you are having a built in bar or bench out side consider matching the top with your kitchen work top or the brick of the bench with your house brick.
- Consider if you would like a focal point and look out through every window and door and consider what you would like to see there. Do not be tempted to have lots of focal points otherwise it will lose its effect and create a confused space- often less is more ( some themes are opposite to this rule of thumb such as cottage gardens)
- If you have already had your front landscaping completed, use the same grass for the rear, Consider an upgrade on the turf in your front landscaping package ( if you have one) One of the main reasons to have the same lawn is so you don’t cross contaminate with your lawn mower and end up with a delightful combination of grasses. Another note on your front landscaping package, if you do not want all the plants- ask them to leave them any way, you ,may be able to use them at the rear or just get them planted then pop some in to pots. Even if you have upgraded to artificial grass and no planting, ensure you get the reticulation box fitted that is usually included.
- Consider the size of your garden- if it is small don’t be tempted to scale down to get everything in, spaces need to be useable and you may need to prioritise your needs and desires.
- Consider how much time you want to spend working in the garden maintaining it.
- Consider how much of the work you are doing yourself, if you would like to do most of it yourself you may which to consider elements that are within your skill set or book a few hours assistance as you need it.
- Tackle your garden in sections. The biggest mistake we see is when people try hard to save up to get all their garden completed at once- other priorities take over and 2 years later the weeds are waist high and the job is getting harder to tackle. There are many advantages to completing your garden in stages including budget, making adjustments as the plan develops, taking advantage of offers as they come up, facilitates you being able to complete more yourself and if you stage your planting you will have something that looks good all year round. The work will also not become a chore and overwhelming The biggest advantage to completing in sections is that you can get started as soon as you are ready with very little expense. Before you know it your garden will be done. We have clients who only purchase when we have end of lines and off cuts and combine these with lower priced recycled options. One client completed their whole garden under $1000.
- If your rear garden needs levels reducing, consider doing this before you get your front landscaping completed- especially if a bobcat is going to be running over your new grass or needing to pile waste at the front. Most front landscapers request you take your levels down to 40mm below paving, so check this with your front landscaper and it will save money to book this work at the same time.Before you remove all your sand at the rear consider if you can use any of it for fill in raised areas or at the bottom of built in planters. it can be expensive to pay to get rid of sand only to bring some back in a few months later.
- Consider introducing changing levels for impact in your design, this can be achieved with layered planting or levels of surfaces – eg a raised seating area or deck.
- If you are splitting your garden in to areas, try and introduce elements that link them together to create harmony such as similar materials, colours of planting, elements of shared themes or matching feature stones.
- Is there any outside influences that affect your garden space, eg If you can see lots of red bottle brush trees over your fence line you may with to plant a smaller species or continue with some red in your garden, this will then make it feel part of your garden space .On the opposite end of desirability you may be able to see a large unattractive building , positioning screens or planting strategically can help block it out. This may be achieved easier if you place then closer to the area you are sitting, not necessarily right on the fence line. Or if this is not possible consider placing a focal point that will draw the eye away.
- Combine ideas from several gardens rather than try and copy a whole design you have seen, it is rare that copying another garden exactly works as every garden is unique and yours will end up being unique to you for years to come. Enjoy the journey of making this happen.
The author of this article is the co owner of Dalestone Landscape supplies and Finish my Garden Landscaping. You can pop in to our Landscape centre anytime or book a free consultation with Julie. There is no obligation, Julie understands you are considering your options and is happy to assist you in doing this. https://www.dalestone.com.au/free-landscape-consultation/