How much is a beautiful garden? I’ve been designing them for 10 years and budget is always a difficult issue. For most clients, it’s a one-off, and they have no previous experience to draw on. If I say be prepared to spend what you would on a kitchen, it often elicits gasps of horror as
If I say be prepared to spend what you would on a kitchen, it often elicits gasps of horror as they can cost tens of thousands.
Most new garden designs cost £10,000+, and that’s just for a small, easily accessible garden with minimal hard landscaping like paving, walls, steps or buildings.
Appoint a designer – after all, you wouldn’t build an extension or a house without appointing an architect, would you?
For smaller budgets or for a ‘makeover’, it may again be worth seeking out a garden designer to help clarify ideas and make the most of your space and budget. This could be advice and guidance rather than more costly formal plans. Most people underestimate a new garden’s cost, so here are a few basics:
- Contemporary minimalist is expensive, especially with complex, clinical hardscape, as are design details with no tolerance for change
- Simple lines are straightforward but curved walls, angles and intricate paving patterns are trickier, take longer and waste materials
- A traditional look is easier to achieve, especially if some imperfection is part of its charm, for example, a woven hazel fence, bark path or walls of oak sleepers
- There’s always a more affordable hardscape option. Portland stone can cost £200 per sqm but you may be able to get the same look using a sawn sandstone or porcelain at a fraction of the price
- Don’t overlook timber or stone cladding to disguise an ugly fence or wall. It’s less expensive than demolishing and rebuilding
- Access problems can mean soaring costs; if you can get a mini digger on site, your problems are halved!
- Keep costs down by using plants in place of hardscape. An evergreen hedge can screen rather than a wall, an ornamental tree is just as effective a focal point as a sculpture or water feature
- You don’t have to do it all at once. Bury electric cabling, but install fittings at a later date.
If you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, then the budget can often be adapted to suit. And remember, it’s easier to make mistakes on paper than wait until work has started.