Landscaping costs are, not surprisingly, one of a client’s biggest areas of concern. Like other fields of construction, often some labour-intensive processes are needed as well as the use of heavy machinery. Also, with good quality landscaping, much of the infrastructure work is unseen. These include sub surface installations such as irrigation systems and agricultural drainage systems as well as garden lighting systems and good quality footings for retaining walls. The quality and depth of the topsoil often goes unnoticed. A quality topsoil of at least 150mm will give you a more sustainable garden in the long run, provided that topsoil is suitable for the plants selected. Another consideration for landscaping costs is site access. Often it is too difficult to get landscaping machinery in to a site or there is too much risk of causing damage. Another consideration is the difficulty in getting materials on to a site. All of these can add to the costs.
Estimating Landscaping costs
Most experienced landscapers will have some rules of thumb when it comes to landscaping costs. Things like paving can be estimated per square metre or retaining walls can be estimated per lineal metre. Most of these costs will be based on the assumption of a straightforward landscaping job on flat ground and the usual Gold Coast soil and subsoil conditions. The landscaping cost estimate can also be affected by what is under the soil. Things such as underground utilities, old wall footings, old drains and old swimming pools can really wreak havoc with a rule of thumb landscaping cost estimate. For new building sites on the Gold Coast allowing a budget of around 15% of the value of the property will normally give you a great result. This will be a little cheaper for small garden designs. To find out the latest landscaping costs, contact us and we will be happy to give you an estimate.
Saving money on landscaping costs
One way to save money on your landscaping is to get all of your landscaping ideas down on paper. You can start with making a list of garden features you would like to see in your garden. Then make photocopy of your house site plan showing the location of utility services and easements. Prioritise and sketch in some of your most desired features such as water features, retaining walls, pathways and swimming pools. This can be done initially with a pencil and a highlighter pen. If you are good with computers, there are a number of low cost or free software packages you can try including Sketchup.
A great way to develop your garden design ideas, is visit some of the open gardens in the area. Here you can see some of the best garden designs in the area. Another way to help with the garden design is to visit the local botanical gardens or visit some of the regular garden shows on the Gold Coast. This will give you the opportunity to see the latest landscape design ideas and assist with plant selection and grouping. Take a note pad and pen to take note of the plant species and garden feature you like.
Should you use an experienced Gold Coast landscaping professional?
In a similar way to an interior decorator or stylist can save you money on paint, there are many ways an experienced landscape gardener and designer can save you money. No-one wants to see large puddles of water in their newly installed garden, or even worse, water flowing into the house. Planning the drainage of the water by slotted agricultural DWV pipe, spoon or French drains and subtle use of gradient will prevent these problems. Irrigation systems need to be designed to take water where it is most needed and to use water sparingly. Irrigation systems also need to be low maintenance.
With the horticultural aspects, there is a lot that the professional horticulturist can do to save you money in the long term. For example, plants with similar needs should be grouped together. This means plants with similar sunlight, moisture and even fertilizer (especially phosphorus) should be grouped together. This is especially true of the soils chosen. For example, lower cost soils could be used for some garden beds, but not for lawns in high traffic areas. Some plants prefer an acid soil, so these should not be planted with plants preferring neutral or alkaline soils. Also plants should be chosen with ongoing garden maintenance in mind. If you are looking for outdoor pool landscaping ideas, it is best not to plant palms that require regular cleaning and pruning nearby. The use of select native or indigenous plants can save a lot of money in garden maintenance and watering
Landscape Design and property values
When selling a property, first impressions go a long way. A professionally landscaped property will help increase the selling price of a property much higher than the cost of the landscaping. If you take note of some of the commercial landscape designs in your area, you can see how businesses use this strategy to create a positive impression of their business.
Working Landscape Garden Designers
A consultation with a landscape garden designer will involve going through the points discussed above and getting a feel of the property. The landscape designer will then develop your ideas into a rendered 2D sketch of your property and landscape garden. Once this rough outline is approved, the Landscape garden designer will develop detailed 3D CAD models of your property to help you visualise what the finished garden design will look like. Usually this will include the larger plants, retaining walls, water features and any fast growing screening plants or hedges. The next stage is create all of the schematics for irrigation, drainage, garden lighting and plantings.
For help with the design and development or your landscaping ideas, contact one of our experienced Landscape Gardeners. We can help with small garden design all the way up to Commercial Landscape design. Our specialities include fast growing screening plants, plant health and horticulture, garden lighting and outdoor pool landscaping ideas.
For more landscape garden design ideas, take a look at our Garden Design blog.