How to budget for your new garden

2 Written by Lisa on 23rd Feb 2018 in Design Tips

Working to budgets is part of what I do, but it’s not always easy when there are so many choices available and if make tweaks along the way.  We’re undertaking a small building project at home and it’s exhausting making decisions, even though we’re doing some of it ourselves and therefore don’t have any time pressures.

In the day job, I work with clients to ensure we’ve thought of everything we possibly can before the landscaper prices for the build phase of the project so he can be pretty accurate with his pricing.  The only variance when it comes to construction is when things are changed after the work has started or if something is discovered during the build that couldn’t have been foreseen otherwise, normally under the ground.

I do think it’s easier to budget for the garden as there are less intricate details to take into account (door handles, light switches, paint colours, the list is endless indoors), but without the detailed drawings and specification the spending could easily go through the roof.

So how do you budget if you have a fixed sum of money and what should take priority?

I think planning is the key.  Take the time up front to really hone in on the design and what it will take to bring the design to life.  If you have  sloping garden, for example, there are ways you can work with the slope rather than building expensive retaining walls.  You can plant a slope easily, often with greater effect and it will be much cheaper.

If you know the size of the terrace, the layout and where you might need other hard landscaping materials, it will make your landscaper’s job of quoting much easier.  Equally, if you’re doing the work yourself you’ll be able to easily work out the materials you need and how much you have in the pot for the paving material itself.

Paving can range from £20m2 to £120m2 so sometimes just changing the materials will help you to reduce the spend.  If the layout and balance of the garden is right, a compromise on materials won’t really be as obvious once the garden is furnished with plants and furniture.

When you’re planning the garden bear in mind that hard landscaping is a lot more expensive than soft landscaping.  Depending on the materials you choose, a retaining wall can cost up to £250-300m2 where as a lawn is more like £10-15m2.

Often constructing a wall in the garden is more expensive than it would be for a house extension.  This is because the wall has to withstand different pressures and exposure to the weather.  A free-standing wall, for example, has to withstand the weather on all sides so the materials used have to be fit for purpose.

If you make list of everything you need to source and think about before you get the landscaper in to quote, you’ll have a much better chance of sticking to a budget.  Drawings will really help things along as you’ll be able to work out m2 rates for each of the elements. If you don’t want to work with a professional designer, there are lots of books to help you to design your own garden.

Start with a survey of the site so that you know what’s there now and then draw a plan to scale.  You don’t have to be an artist to do this.  Think of your design as a communication tool for the landscaper and it will take on a whole new meaning.



From the drawing board: A walled garden near Bridgend

0 Written by Lisa on 18th Jan 2018 in From the drawing board

I’ve recently been working with a client in Laleston, near Bridgend.  The house is really old and they’ve spent some time since they brought it a couple of years ago, lovingly restoring it. Read more

Winter berries

2 Written by Lisa on 15th Dec 2017 in Design Tips, Plants

I don’t know about you, but I love foraging for foliage at this time of year.  I’m lucky now that we have holly and ivy in the garden, the hedgerows are full of hazel and the woodland up the hill has an abundance of pine cones.  Now that the snow has disappeared, I’ll be cutting some holly at the weekend for Christmas decorations. Read more

From the drawing board: A new garden for a listed barn near Cardiff

0 Written by Lisa on 23rd Nov 2017 in From the drawing board

I’ve recently been working with a couple near Cardiff who live in a Grade II list barn near Cardiff.  They’ve lived in the house for years but, having recently renovated the inside, now want to make the garden at the back of the house much more inviting and inspiring. Read more

A tour of the quarry at Forest of Dean Stone

0 Written by Lisa on 25th Oct 2017 in Design Tips

A couple of weeks ago I visited the quarry and production plant at Forest of Dean Stone. I organised the trip for the local Society of Garden Designer’s “cluster group” I coordinate and it was well worth the visit. Read more

Wild County Kerry

0 Written by Lisa on 26th Sep 2017 in Inspiration

I’ve just returned from a week in Ireland where we had the most fabulous weather and were properly able to enjoy the amazing rugged landscape. Read more

A Dewy August morning in South Wales

1 Written by Lisa on 11th Sep 2017 in Inspiration

It’s been feeling quite autumnal in South Wales over the past couple of weeks and we’ve had some gorgeous dewy mornings where the light has been catching the water droplets and lighting up the landscape. Read more

From the drawing board – concept design for a new build house

0 Written by Lisa on 25th Aug 2017 in From the drawing board

I have recently been working with a local Monmouthshire client who is in the process of building their own house.  It took them years to find the right plot and to get the house plans all signed off, but now that the build is finally underway, they’re ready to start thinking about the garden. Read more

A visit to Stockton Bury Gardens in Herefordshire

0 Written by Lisa on 8th Aug 2017 in Inspiration

My goodness the time has flown this year and I realised this morning that I still haven’t shared the photos I took at Stockton Bury Gardens back in April this year! Read more

Concept design for a self-builder

0 Written by Lisa on 13th Jul 2017 in From the drawing board

I’ve recently been working with a client, Rhys, near Port Talbot who, having renovated his house, wants to make more of the garden. He plans to build the garden himself, as and when he has the funds to do it, but he had been struggling to formulate a plan. Read more

Lisa Cox Welcome

I specialise in helping families to turn their gardens into an extension of their home and into a space that can be used and enjoyed all year round.

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