To be upset over what you don’t have is to waste what you do have.

Just because you have an internal commentary about how it’s not enough, it should have been another way and if only you had……… is a waste of energy

What you have is fabulous starting point, just consider you just don’t know it yet

You don’t have to sacrifice a lot of money or even lifestyle just because you think your backyard is too small. Even a small garden can be a fabulous retreat – it’s all in the design, it’s all in the conversation.

The human eye is drawn to different spaces and shapes so if you can make a small space interesting to look. By creating different views within a small space you are then able to trick the mind into believing that the space is in fact larger than what it is.

I don’t mean that you actually partition off spaces but rather by creating the impression or suggestion of different spaces. This is can be done for instance with furniture. I.e. built in benches along a wall, creating a small alcove or with the placement a lounge chair in one location and the dinning setting in another

Spaces can be broken up with something as simple as the placement of an urn of a piece of sculpture

Some other options are to look at the way you can the separate your backyard into different ‘rooms are by using a retaining walls, even if you have a flat block, raised planter beds, providing combinations of paving or decking. This will make your backyard appear more spacious and give you a variety of views to enjoy. Another idea is to add an interesting point of focus, like a water feature or a piece of garden art. If you are able to do this in conjunction with a variety of planting textures and colors, this takes the focus away from your garden’s compact proportions and will give it a real wow factor!

The secret is to plan your work and then work your plan. Don’t just go to the hardware store with an empty credit card and hope you see something you like. That is having you be at the effect of life, not life at the effect of you.

You are the master of your life and your garden, plan how you want it to be, consult with friends and experts, arrive at a plan and then act upon that plan

Estimating Your Landscaping Costs
No-one has ever said to me in over thirty years of designing “Oh that’s cheaper than I thought”
According to landscaping professionals and real-estate agents , if you’re starting from scratch, expect your landscaping to cost somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of the value of your home. If the landscaping job is not too complex, such as lawns and gardens on a level block, it will be closer to 5 percent. A more elaborate landscaping job will be closer to 10 percent. While imperfect, landscapers say doing a quick estimate using this rule of thumb can help you determine if the quotes you get are realistic.

Having a consultation from a professional designer will assist in this to guide you on the potential expenditures for what you want to achieve. Remember if someone will come out for free to offer advice, then that is likely to be the value of their advice. Good advice will save you a lot in the long term as well as introducing you to concepts you may not have considered

If you want to commence estimating your landscaping costs from your ideas, before consulting a professional then look at for example:

  • Do I need the site to be excavated or rocks, or rubble to be removed?
  • Is access difficult? In an extreme case, access problems can make landscaping prohibitively expensive.
  • Do old structures or objects need to be removed before landscaping can be done. If so, their removal and disposal has to be factored in.
  • What about footings, drainage and services, the structures that to in all add up

Next, cost your large area materials, such as sod, turf, pavers, and retaining walls. Contact local suppliers and find out the costs of materials per square meter. Then get out your tape measure and figure out your square meter totals. Add 5 to 10 percent, just to be on the safe side.

Are there any extraordinary features you need to get costings for? Water features, for example, can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars if you want something like a waterfall flowing into a large pond. While a pergola is not a landscaping feature, if you want yours located in a sheltered corner or want it to be elevated, there may be extra landscaping costs involved.

After you have estimated your costs, you will be in a better position to compare and make informed cost adjustments if necessary.  While landscaping can add significantly to the value of your property, industry authorities recommend that to be cost-effective, the cost of landscaping should not exceed 20 percent of the total value of your property. In most cases, your landscaping costs will be within the “ballpark” estimate outlined above, but bear this in mind if an expensive feature has stretched your budget.

Surprisingly, DIY landscaping can be more expensive than hiring a professional landscaper to design and oversee your project. Between the earth moving, wall construction, plant selection and planting, a professional landscape designer has the experience necessary to ensure that mistakes aren’t made and cost overruns incurred.

5 Things to Know Before You Landscape

Looking to liven up your landscape? Whether you have a modest or expansive space, there are some crucial things to consider before you call in a landscape gardener. Here are 5 things to know before you landscape.

What Do You Want?
Most landscaping professionals are visionaries. They’re often able to take a vague brief and draw up a plan that turns your outdoor space into a functional and fashionable space.

That being said, the more information you can supply, the smoother the process will be. Begin by browsing our photo galleries for.  Look for landscapes that inspire you, suit your space and are appropriate to your lifestyle. Magazines can also offer inspiration that you can take to a landscaper.

If you know what you want, you’re more likely to achieve the landscape of your dreams.

What Can You Afford?
While we’d all love a landscape that wouldn’t look out of place at Versailles, rarely do our budgets stretch that far. Take time to crunch the numbers and come up with a realistic budget.

Do you have a few hundred dollars to spend, or a few thousand? While good landscape designers are quite crafty at creating cost-effective spaces, they’ll need to know your limits and come up with a solution to suit.

Ensure you set enough money aside for labor, materials and maintenance.

How Large is Your Landscape?
Your landscape designer will need to know how much space they have to work with. It’s OK if you only have a small plot on which to plant and pave – you’d be surprised by what you can achieve. But since landscapers quote according to the size of the area, it’s important to provide accurate measurements.

How Do You Live?
Are you a growing family? A quiet couple who enjoy spending time in the garden? Or do you lead a busy life and need a low-maintenance landscape that practically cares for itself?

How you live, work and use your space will determine how practical your plans are. Families will most likely need lawn and places to play. Couples may prefer a quiet oasis with water features and fuss-free paving.

Remember to landscape according to future needs. If you’re planning on starting a family or dramatically changing your lifestyle, your landscape should take into account such changes.

Who is Your Landscape Designer?
Because your landscape is such an important investment to get right, you’ll want to hire a qualified and highly experienced landscape designer. Having practical experience is critical. Not the free design from the local nursery or someone young and keen but inexperienced.

It’s also a good idea to ask for examples of previous projects and references if they have not already been referred.

Above all, ensure they understand your vision. Half the secret to a good designer is their ability to listen. To interpret your ideas with what will suit the architecture, add value over and above what you want to spend, and to insure that the design is designed for the budget. You want an outcome you will love, use and be proud of.

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