How you can save on a garden renovation

Whether you’re creating a new garden from scratch or renovating an existing outdoor space, the numbers can add up and quickly! Just like a home renovation, creating your dream garden can put pressure on your budget.

There’s a lot of costs to factor in during a garden renovation. From designers and trades to materials, plants, lighting, and features like outdoor kitchens and pools. If you’re on a tight budget or simply looking to keep it in check, here are some tips to help you save on your garden renovation and still get the look you desire.

1. Engage a landscape designer early


Before you start making your own improvements, it pays to engage the help of an expert. Hiring a landscape designer or landscaper early on will help you avoid making costly mistakes and enable you to prioritise where you spend your money.

How complex your garden renovation is and your own knowledge and skillset will largely determine the services you require from a landscape professional. Some people will happily engage a designer to provide only the plans and others will want to be guided from concept to completion.

If your budget is extremely tight, an onsite consultation to nut out your ideas and problems is worth the splurge.

2. Consider the cost and labour

When deciding on materials and finishes, it’s crucial you consider not only the cost of the product but also the labour to install. This is best done as early in the design process as possible.

When choosing natural stone, there are ways you can reduce the overall spend. Choosing larger linear tiles over flagstone paving or cobblestones could reduce the time required to install the stone. Stone wall panels can be a cost-effective alternative to full-sized stone pieces while still providing the authentic feel and depth of natural stone. Breaking up the stone with ground cover or lawn can also reduce the quantity of stone you require.

In areas where the materials and finishes are the focal point of the outdoor space, it’s worth splurging to create the desired look and saving elsewhere. This is especially true in smaller, intimate outdoor spaces.

3. Stretch your plant budget

If you want an instant garden, you’ll also need to increase your plant budget as overfilling your garden beds with established plants can be expensive.

To stretch your plant budget and end up with a great result, consider buying your plant stock as tubes rather than in pots. These will be a lot cheaper and will take off quickly once planted.

To make an impact, purchase a few larger plants to position throughout the garden or in feature pots. If budget allows, it may be worth buying a few mature trees to gain height in your garden, especially those slow growers. Make sure you purchase your established trees through a reputable nursery who can advise you on the install to give them the best chance of thriving.

4. Get on the tools


Rolling up your sleeves and getting on the tools will help you save on your garden renovation. This could be anything from preparing the site to planting out the soft landscape.

If you’re not confident on the tools, save the jobs like marking out the garden, paving, and building retaining walls to the professionals. Fixing mistakes later on due to shoddy construction is likely to cost you more down the track.

Chipping in to help your landscaper may help keep your costs down. For example, you could ask your landscape designer or contractor to place the plants out for you instead of paying their team to dig holes and plant. You could also take care of some of the finishing touches like potting up the feature pots or mulching the garden beds.

5. Stage the project

Staging the project may not reduce the overall cost of the landscape (and in some cases, will increase your overall budget) but it can reduce the pressure of immediate costs.

If you are planning to stage the project, getting a master plan completed before you start will help you create a garden that feels like one cohesive space, rather than several spaces of different styles slapped together. It will also help you nut out where to start first so that you don’t have to destroy a part of the garden during the construction of later phases.