You’ve moved into the new house, dealt with all the snagging, hung up the last of the pictures on the wall and fixed your last kitchen cupboard door. Now it’s time to tackle an area that your builder was not really that bothered about – landscaping the garden.
Too often the garden gets neglected by housebuilders, even though it can be an important selling point. Since the covid lockdowns, outside space became a premium part of any property, with homeowners investing in creating additional living space with garden rooms and clever design.
However, you are looking out onto a blank canvas, and have the opportunity to turn your outside space into something truly unique and bespoke to your own needs.
This is our guide to making sure you can convert your garden into the perfect space with minimal problems.
Call in the landscaping experts
First and foremost, make sure that you enlist the help of real professionals in landscaping. While the local jobbing gardener may be capable of digging out a rockery and planting a tree, they may not have the experience and knowledge necessary to project manage a full landscaping project.
A proper landscaper will know what to look for when pricing a project – from knowing what lies hidden underground, to understanding the circulation of light, to incorporating the needs of different members of the family. Before you even stick a spade in the earth, make sure you work out the full project, plus budgets, plus timings, so that you have a very clear idea of what to expect – and then add your contingency.
Prepare your budget and add a contingency
You need to be all over your budget and be aware of extra single penny that is going in and coming out. Any construction related project has a tendency to run away with itself unless tightly controlled – and you want to ensure that yours is run like a tight ship.
Adding a contingency is crucial. Tempting though it might be to cut the contingency in order to save costs, this is actually a false economy that could end up costing you considerably more. While in general a 10 per cent contingency is advised, if possibly increase that again to 15 to 20 per cent contingency. The challenge then is to complete the project on time and in budget, and have that contingency going straight into your pocket instead.
Source local materials for greater sustainability
Sourcing local products is a great way of protecting and supporting local businesses and maintaining a higher degree of sustainability. While they may not be the cheapest options, they will invariably be the better quality, and you will know the local supplier is close to hand for any repairs or maintenance.
These days your best way of sourcing local companies is either through word of mouth, or through ’Google My Business’. One of the most popular search terms at the moment is ‘near me’. For example, if you are incorporating artificial lawn into your overall garden design, then entering the search term ‘artificial grass near me’ will throw up the local suppliers alongside location and testimonials received to help you with your specification criteria.
Ensure accessibility for machinery
Too often it is the simplest things that get forgotten – and accessibility issues is one of those things. How easy is it to get materials and equipment into your garden? Will you need to take down any walls or fences, go through your neighbour’s garden, create a pathway through the house?
Knowing to incorporate these types of questions will help you calculate as accurate a budget and project management plan as possible. Once in place, you’re ready to start digging!