When building, it pays to consider your landscaping early in the process. This will help with basics, such as how the house should be orientated, how doors and windows connect to the outdoors, the position of a pool, and relationship to the street. You need to work with the natural qualities of your site, including orientation, sun and wind, and take cues from where existing trees, plants, and streams lie. Whether you want to include a pool, outdoor kitchen, fire pit or vege garden, these are all things that need careful consideration and need to be incorporated into the design of the home. The garden should be seen as an extension of the house, a space or ‘room’ in which to socialise, entertain or relax. Thoughtful investment in creating this space can easily add value to your home. Research has shown that having a well designed and established garden can add up to 20% more value to your home when you come to sell.
“Street appeal gets buyers through the door but, often, it’s the private outdoor living spaces or backyard that will seal the deal.” DAVID CORNFORD
When it comes to landscaping it is often broken up into 2 areas: hard and soft landscaping.Hard landscaping most commonly refers to the driveways, paths, decking, concrete patios, pools, steps and screens around your home. The hard landscaping provides a base for the soft landscaping such as soil, lawn, plants, trees and flowers.
Soft landscaping can sometimes be at the bottom of the list when looking at your specification, and one of the first spends to reduce if budget requires. The great thing about soft landscaping is you can do it later - it's not integral to the completion of your home unlike hard landscaping. If you are green-fingered or enjoy gardening, this may be something which you choose to take care of yourself. Once you have lived in the home and get a feel for it, then you can take on the vegetation. In a Design & Build project the soft landscaping is often a ‘Provisional Sum’, as until the concrete areas and levels are finalised, you don’t know how much soil etc you will need.
HARD LANDSCAPING Aesthetically, hard landscaping enables the outdoor space to compliment the building. It can help solve practical problems such as drainage and retaining walls and it can enable wider access of your property through the use of decks and patios. While driveways and paths are an essential part of your overall build, making clever materials choices can ensure hard landscaping does not blow the budget. Choosing concrete with decorative cuts around your pool for example is a more cost-effective option than hardwood decking.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST
Both soft landscaping and hard landscaping should be considered and costed at the beginning of your build process. Some say your Landscaping should be around 10% of your overall budget.
A good rule is to look at the level of landscaping of the properties around you. If you stay within these limits, you’ll be less likely to over-capitalise.
Choosing smaller plants or planting in stages to spread the cost out can also help if budgets are tight.Often developments have to approve your landscaping plan before you get permission to build, so decisions need to be made at the beginning which can be overwhelming. We work with a couple of excellent Landscape Designers, who are able to work from your plans to come up with a well considered design. Not only will they recommend plants that will flourish in the unique conditions of your site, they will also let you know exact number of plants you will need, how far apart to space them, and they can even help with supplying the plants if that is something you would like.
With homes becoming a sanctuary away from the pressures of everyday life, having your own outdoor oasis has never been more valued. Spending the time and money to ensure you nail your outdoor space and integrate it with the design of your new home is key, and will only get better with time. As renowned Architect and host of Grand Designs, Chris Moller says “Landscaping gives context that is critical to the value, quality and usability of your home”.