Planning Your Garden From Scratch

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Design and landscaping tips to make the most of your garden budget
If you are building your own home or having an extensive renovation, you’ll probably need to design and build your garden completely from scratch. This can be an exciting and interesting project, and if done right, it will add significant kerb appeal and value to your home.

If you don’t have experience, however, it can be pretty daunting, and you may want to think about getting help from a professional. But if you’re already spending out a lot of money on a new home or a refurbishment, you’ll want to save as much as possible when it comes to creating your outdoor space. Here are a few tips for anyone wanting to create a garden on a budget.

Planning before you start
Detailed planning is absolutely essential before you think about starting your garden. Firstly, you should think about what you actually want from the space. Will it primarily be for decorative purposes or will you be growing fruit and vegetables? Do you have children who need a place to play? If you entertain friends regularly, would a large outdoor dining area be a good idea? Or perhaps you just want a tranquil space where you can relax and get closer to nature.

Look at your space and the local area
Ideally you want to choose plants that will grow well in the natural soil. A good way to determine this is to look at your neighbours’ gardens and see which plants are thriving. You should also consider the shape of your block and how the sun hits it at various times of day. Choosing the right plants and layout can be a great way of creating sunny and shaded spots, and also providing you with some privacy from your neighbours.

If your local area is a natural habitat for wildlife, you should consider sustainable landscaping. This uses native plants and the natural soil of the area to create an environmentally friendly garden where the local wildlife can thrive. Research which plants grow naturally in your local area and use as many of them as you can in your garden to attract wildlife. If the natural grass of the area doesn’t make for a good lawn, consider alternative ground coverings such as timber decking, gravel or even brick, rather than using imported grasses that are likely to need a lot of fertiliser.

Also, don’t forget to consider the views of the garden from your house. What do you want to see when you look out of the windows? Attractive views will make your environment more pleasant and also add value to your property.

How much to budget
Before you can come up with a budget for your garden, it’s vital to measure your block accurately. Getting your measurements right is the only way you can work out how much of everything you’re likely to need, and get a realistic idea of what it will cost. Once you have that, you can start coming up with design ideas that are workable within the budget you have allocated.

Many landscaping experts recommend allocating five to 15 percent of the value of your home for designing and landscaping your garden. While a well-planned garden will easily recoup its cost and more when you come to sell your property, it’s possible to create stunning effects on a smaller budget with the right planning.

Once you have some design ideas, it’s important to price up each item that you would like. If some items are too expensive, you can adapt your design to make it work just as well without them.

Should you hire a professional?
Ultimately, this depends on how much you can afford to spend, and how much confidence you have in your own ability. Designing and landscaping your garden yourself is likely to save you money, but it will take a great deal more time and effort.

Once you have a detailed idea of what you want, some professional garden designers may be prepared to offer you a consultation at a cheaper price than if they were doing the whole job themselves, just to give you some advice and make sure your design will work. It’s also a good idea to visit your local nursery. The staff there are likely to be very knowledgeable and may well be prepared to offer you some tips for free!

In addition, some of your friends and neighbours have probably done this before. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; with the right advice and support it’s amazing what you can create.

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