Everything you need to know about buying a garden and getting best value for money from your garden makeover.
Investing in a garden makeover is like building an extension to your home. It needs careful thought, thorough planning and reputable tradespeople to make it happen.
If you are not happy with your garden and want to change it – but don’t know how. You need to start by understanding what’s involved in buying a garden. Not just the design and the project management – but the legal and contractual side of things too.
There’s a new book on the market – released July 2021 – which explains in detail everything you need to know about buying a garden. It’s called – quite aptly – “Buying a Garden” and it’s written by Alan Sargent, one of the UK’s leading expert witnesses. Alan has seen first hand the disappointment caused when garden makeovers go wrong. His book teaches you how to avoid common problems and what to expect from the garden design and landscaping process.
- Gathering Ideas
- Finding a garden designer
- Finding a landscaper
- Buying a garden – what does it cost?
Garden makeover ideas
Buying anything, usually starts with a wish list. Buying a garden is no different. Before you start searching for contractors or picking out materials, you need to know what you would like in your garden.
Don’t worry too much about where each feature will sit in relation to each other. Instead, start by listing all the things you’d like to do in your garden. Then consider all the things about your current garden that you find challenging. Slopes, poor drainage, awful views, noisy neighbours, lack of storage, shade etc.
By marrying those two concepts – challenges and dreams – you will be able to think more clearly about the garden features you need to achieve your goals.
Finding a garden designer
Just as you need an architect to design an extension to your home, you will need a garden designer.
Garden designers do more than just suggest what to put where. They produce detailed plans that a landscaper can quote from and work from. The design may extend to specifying materials and plants or it may simply be a layout plan with construction details. Expect to have your garden surveyed – especially if there are slopes and/or drainage issues to contend with.
Not just anyone can become a garden designer. It takes training. When choosing a garden designer, ask about their qualifications. If they are a member of the SGD, the APL or BALI, they will be a reputable garden designer with a proven track record.
Talk to your landscaper too. Her or she may well be able to recommend a good garden designer
Who’s design style is compatible with your own personal taste.
Finding a landscaper
The landscape industry is sadly unregulated. Which means that it’s easy to be caught out by rogue traders. They hook unsuspecting households in with the promise of a beautiful garden at a very competitive price. Sadly though, their work can be at a very poor standard and even dangerous. If they are not a ‘proper’ business – it can be very difficult to claim compensation if you are unhappy with the work.
Read Alan Sargent’s “Buying a Garden” book for tips on what to look for in a landscaper. In short, the company should with CDM regulations, and be properly insured. Online reviews and word of mouth recommendations are helpful too. A good place to start is on the APL website. APL members are carefully vetted for their skillsets and their business practice.
Buying a garden – what does it cost?
Buying a garden is an investment. It’s an investment in your lifestyle and it’s an investment in the value of your property. Please don’t be tempted to undervalue it. Every garden makeover will of course be different as each one is bespoke. However, some TV garden makeover shows can be deceptive as they don’t show all of the costs involved.
At Manor Landscapes, we are not ashamed to quote fair prices that allow us to hire skilled tradespeople and use the very best quality materials. We dispose of all waste responsibly, and we will not skimp on the preparation work. Because that’s what ensures that your garden will look good and last for decades.
Need an estimate? Talk to Geoff at Manor Landscapes who will happily assess your garden and give you a ball-park figure so that you can decide whether or not to embark on your garden makeover journey.
A garden makeover is just the start of creating a beautiful garden. If it has been well designed and well built it will continue to improve over time. The planting will mature, you will discover more ways of using your outdoor space, and friends and family will become ever more admiring.
However – like any dynamic thing, your garden will need aftercare. There are all sorts of ways of reducing your workload. Using a robotic mower, mulching flower beds, installing automatic irrigation are all things to discuss with your landscaper.
Take the time to learn about the features in your garden and what they need in terms of maintenance. How will you keep your porcelain patio pristine? Who will trim the topiary? When should you apply timber treatments. A good landscaper or garden designer will be happy to advise – and may even agree to carry out regular maintenance.
Buy this before you buy a garden
Alan Sargent’s book is available to order online from his website. Reading it and following his advice will ensure that your garden makeover turns out exactly as you’d hoped.