Unexpected costs, changes to plans and upgrades of finishes can make the dollars pile up, draining any contingency funds. Unfortunately, an overflow of additional costs isn’t just reserved for architecture and interiors; it happens during garden designing too.

So we’ve asked some experts of the landscape design industry to share their tips of how not to blow your budget when designing your garden! Here’s what they have to say:

Start with a master plan

“The most cost effective way to approach a garden design so that you don’t fall victim to a skyrocketing budget, is to get an overall master plan completed at very beginning.  A master plan will give you a clear vision of the what the finished product will look like and help you stay on track without deviating too much as you pull it all together.  You’re budget and the overall design aesthetic will thank you in the long run.

“Before you begin a dialogue with your designer, it’s worth developing a clear brief and a realistic budget prior to getting pen to paper with the design process. A cost estimate is also helpful prior to finalising the design so that no hidden costs pop up during construction.”

– Scott Leung, Eckersley Garden Architecture

Be open with your designer

“If you’re designing your house and landscape together, treat the garden design with the same respect as the architecture of your home. The two elements should be designed together to avoid any complications down the line that can either compromise the overall project or cost a lot to rectify.

“When your designing a garden around existing architecture, allowing sufficient time in the design stage will mean less uncertainty during construction. The more detailed the plans are, the easier it will be for the contractor to provide an accurate construction quote, meaning less costly variations and budget blowouts.If you do have a budget in mind, be open with your landscape architect, so that they are not designing blind.

“Remember it is also important to keep a safety net of money. We suggest keeping a contingency of around 10-15% as a reserve for those unavoidable costs or items you can’t help but splurge on.”

– Tristan Graham, Outdoor Establisments

Think savvy

“It is common knowledge that any major life event where emotional decisions are involved – whether it be a house build, a landscape project or a wedding – budgets can, and will, blow out. So if you find yourself falling behind in your numbers but are not willing to compromise on your design, you’ve got to think savvy.

“Think about how you can mix luxe with more affordable items. With a bit of hunting around you can usually find a similar aesthetic for a more affordable price. However, be sure to still invest in a few key items to keep it balanced. If you are struggling to decide what should be affordable and what should be luxe, choose natural materials over synthetic were possible. And always seek two quotes for comparables. It’s amazing how much further your dollar can stretch when you put in a little extra effort.”

– Mon Palmer, Slightly Garden Obsessed

And when all else fails, do as Mon cheekily suggests and just ‘double your budget, and then you will not blow it’!

If you need some more inspiration, see the 10 best landscapers in Australia.