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Design Your Own Landscape

While a lot of clients I meet have tried designing and building their own landscapes with limited reward thats no reason not to try yourself so here are some thoughts that might assist if its the DIY path you want to go down. First and foremost is to make sure you have a plan and by this I don’t mean an idea in your head but something down on paper that’s approximately drawn to scale. This is important for many reasons but in particular because 1) It will ensure you’ve considered your full brief from the start and can tackle it in an intelligent order and 2) It will make you consider what's happening beyond the edges of  where the work stops. The reason this is so important is because there might be future goals ( think pool, driveway, carport, fencing, rainwater tanks )  that could make your current project redundant. Once you have your plan, mark it out ( chalk lines, paint or just use the hose) and then sit in and walk around it at various times of the day to make sure it works

 

Second thought surrounds a well known definition of wisdom being  ‘knowing what you don’t know’ or perhaps in this case knowing your limits. For example pottering around the garden and putting a few plants in the ground may not seem like hard work but if you’re looking to tackle this at scale and your day job is being a desk jockey then believe me it is. But you’ve got your plan so you can tackle it in sections and it will all still eventually come together. Also worth remembering  that while landscaping is not rocket science, if its not constructed properly in the first place ( think drainage ) it simply won’t last having cost you just as much in time and effort and materials as if you’d done it right in the first place. So don’t feel too proud to do some Youtube research.

Finally I’d suggest being aware of magazine envy. What appears in the glossy’s and on the lifestyle shows has often been put together by an experienced designer who has crafted something to fit the client’s personality, location and budget. By all means take inspiration from their work, steal as many ideas as you can but don’t try and copy someone else’s brief, create your own. So jot down your own ideas, make a plan including everything within and without it and then wait. Do your research, visit local nurseries, talk to those with the experience to learn from. There is no reason you can’t bring in contractors for the heavy lifting and still tackle a large portion DIY and still feel proud of your efforts.


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Photo: Stephen Newton

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