Fresh start

Kirsty McLean says the New Year brings a wonderful opportunity to plan your outdoor space! 

Your first consideration is how long you plan to live in your property to work out the value of the investment you’re making. If it’s short term, it’s important to ensure the changes you make to the garden help to sell your property. A well landscaped and designed garden can add value to your home. According to ‘Local Surveyors Direct’, a well-kept, landscaped garden can be worth up to 20% of the value of your property and 70% of home buyers would pay more for a property with an outdoor green space. Size isn’t key here. Whether you have a balcony, postage stamp lawn or acres of land, the approach to making that space work for you and extracting value for money is the same. 

So what else should you consider? Futureproofing is an important consideration for long-term family homes. Your needs will change as children grow and leave home. You also need to factor in your lifestyle. Ask yourself how much time is available to maintain your implemented design, or whether you intend to use a gardener instead?

Whatever the motivation to change your garden, the starting point is not necessarily in the garden. Understanding your own style is vital. Create a story board, not only of gardens you like but also gardens you don’t like. By reviewing your choices, look for common themes and note these. It’s not necessarily about choosing ideas for your own garden design at this stage, more about understanding what you are naturally drawn to – contemporary, informal, country gardens and then start collecting ideas toward this? 

Designing your own garden requires a base drawing to scale to show all the buildings, structures, boundaries and ideally, services. Observing how the sunlight and shade affects the garden will help you make the best decisions about where to position things such as seating areas and borders. Apart from the things you would like, also think about the practical aspects such as where the clothes dryer is going and the bins stored. Now you are ready to start plotting your ideas onto the drawing. Research the materials you want to use and make sure these are compatible with local climate conditions. Consider whether you want outdoor power for heat and light.

Designing a garden isn’t for everyone, by engaging a professional designer, even if it’s to simply help you create a conceptual design, can reduce, or eliminate the pain, risk and stress.

A reputable, qualified garden designer brings experience, expertise, and fresh ideas to the project, helping you develop clear objectives and to understand your style. Most will supply professional CAD drawings and even 3D renders, which increase accuracy and ensure a better understanding between parties with less possibility for ambiguity or misunderstanding. This, together with their horticultural expertise, vastly reduces the risk of making costly mistakes and helps you to maximise the
effective use of your space. A professional garden designer can also represent you when working with third parties, ensuring the design is implemented as envisaged and project kept on budget. Always ask for references and to see previous work. It’s also important to understand the difference between a garden designer and a landscape company. The former will provide clear and concrete design deliverables while the later
might only provide verbal ideas/prompts but no formalised concepts or drawings.   

Show Comments ↓