What is landscaping? Garden makeover tips

hard landscaping for garden makeover

An honest, down to earth appraisal of what landscaping is and what landscaping your garden actually involves.

I’m forever blogging about different aspects of garden design and landscaping, but it occurred to me today, that every client has a different idea of what landscaping actually is and how it can help THEM to live life better.

So today, I’m answering the question “What is landscaping?”

what is landscaping? It's adding predesigned elements to a garden, like this circular lawn with a path around its perimeter.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines landscaping as “the process of making a garden or other piece of land more attractive by altering the existing design, adding ornamental features, and planting trees and shrubs”

At Manor Landscapes, we know that the term landscaping could be applied to several different activities.

  • Recontouring a piece of land to give easier access, relieve drainage problems, or to improve its appearance
  • Making a garden more user-friendly by removing unwanted plants and structures and/or adding practical features such as hard surfaces, outdoor kitchens, irrigation systems, lawns and plants
  • Optimising the ecological value of a garden by adding plants that support wildlife and can easily be managed by the householder.
  • Adding value to a property by improving it’s kerb appeal
  • Improving safety and security by removing potential hazards and adding features such as lighting and fencing

The difference between landscaping and gardening

Within the horticultural and landscaping industries you’ll find a whole host of different specialists.  

There are arboriculturists aka tree surgeons who specialise in caring for trees safely.  From time to time, the Manor Landscapes team will ask an arboriculturist for help or advice on preserving, pruning, or removing large trees from a garden we are landscaping

Landscaping we’ve discussed – it’s about making physical changes to the layout and structures in a garden.

Gardening is more about caring for and improving the soft landscaping elements such as plants and lawns. But might also involve maintaining hard landscaping features such as patios and fences.

Possibly some the most important people of all in landscaping are the garden designers who set out a vision for a space and draw up the plans for us landscapers to work to.

What does landscaping involve?

stone retaining wall with beautiful patio

A lot of skill and knowledge has gone into creating this terraced garden with a natural stone patio and retaining wall.

No matter what the size of the plot we’re working on, landscaping always starts with a plan.  Creating starts with two things. 

1. An analysis of the plot as it is …. Dimensions, slopes, views, challenges and opportunities etc

2. An overview of how the plot is to be used in the future

Knowing how you want to use your garden, helps the landscaper and the designer to create a layout plan that will look good and work well for you.

For a simple landscaping job like replacing an ugly patio or resurfacing a driveway, your landscaper can probably formulate a design plan. For a larger project with big changes to the layout of the garden, it’s essential to hire a garden designer.

Once you have a plan in place, you can ask a landscaper to quote for the work. 

Expect a quote to take 2-4 weeks to complete.

A good landscaper will do lots of research and put a good deal of effort into building a quote.  After all, it involves sourcing lots of materials; knowing how much time it will take to build each element; possibly bringing in other trades such as electricians; waste disposal; machinery costs; health and safety considerations; transporting people and materials to and from site; storage; and lots more besides.  

Having decided on your landscaper, agreed the quote and signed the contract, work can begin as soon as the landscaper has availability.

The landscaping timeline

Landscaping usually begins with garden clearance.  The landscapers will take away unwanted vegetation, old sheds, dilapidated pavers etc. These will be recycled wherever possible.  At this stage of the work, you’ll probably be surprised at how big your garden really is.  

Next comes the groundworks.  Levelling the land and digging out foundations.  This can be noisy and is often messy but you will start to see the shape of your new garden emerging from the mud.

Hard landscaping comes next.  Laying the patios and paths that will create your journey around the garden and play host to great parties and relaxing afternoons in the sun. Often at this stage, metal edging for lawns etc will be installed too.  You may not be able to use your garden just yet, but you can certainly enjoy watching it develop.

Structures will start to appear.  Your pergola, summerhouse, greenhouse or garden office will be carefully placed.

Finally, lawns are laid and planting beds prepared and your new garden will be revealed in all of its glory.

newly laid turf in large garden with 1920s house in the background

Laying turf comes under the category of soft landscaping and can certainly help to refresh and invigorate a garden

How long does landscaping take?

That all depends on several factors.  The size and complexity of your project of course. But also the size of the team working on it and the weather. As well as availability of tradespeople, delivery lead times for materials, and whether we find any unexpected challenges on site. Like pipes, wires or buried treasure.

Your landscaper should be able to give you approximate starting and finishing dates. If you need your garden finished in time for an event, make that clear when you first start contacting landscapers.  An honest contractor will not take on a job that he or she doesn’t believe will be finished within your deadline.

What is landscaping? – your question answered in a nutshell

Landscaping is an adventure.  The whole process of landscaping your garden is a journey of self discovery. You’ll learn to look at your outdoor spaces in a whole new light. Designing your garden will set you thinking about its potential impact on your lifestyle. Watching the landscapers at work will give you a taste of how every outdoor space you’ve ever visited has been constructed. And seeing your new garden emerge from the mud will give you immense pleasure.

What is landscaping? For me it’s a way of life, for you it could be life changing.

Thinking about landscaping your garden?

Call Manor Landscapes for an honest appraisal of your garden’s potential and a sensible idea of what it might cost to transform the space.

Read our 10 most frequently asked questions about landscaping.  

What features do you need in your garden? – here’s how to decide. 

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