April 4, 2019
You might have recently walked around your local botanic gardens, watched the Chelsea flower show or spent an afternoon in your friend’s beautiful garden and thought: ‘I’d love to redesign my garden to give it the wow factor that these have got!’. But the next thought to rush through your head might well be ‘How much will it cost – and can I afford it?’ As with most things, the costs of designing your ideal garden and turning it into a reality will depend upon what you want to achieve and the size of your garden.
Smaller town gardens
With the smaller gardens we deal with, the cost per square metre is usually fairly high compared to the larger gardens – however, this won’t necessarily mean that the total cost is higher. This is because smaller, courtyard gardens will tend to have a high density of work done per square metre. For example, you might want to have an area paved over, maybe include a water feature, outdoor lighting, a gazebo or space for your barbecue. These features will often need electric cables fitted and soakaway features which may need to go underneath the structural work, which many people don’t at first realise.
The cost per square metre is therefore higher because all of these features have to be packed into a smaller space than a larger garden, and you’re likely to have proportionately less of the cheaper things, such as lawn. On top of the landscaping and structural work, smaller gardens usually require a greater density of planting – often filling borders close to the house, providing nearby bright colours which are easy to enjoy. These factors all tie into the final cost, and with smaller, courtyard gardens, depending on your unique specifications, prices can be anywhere between £200 and £400 per square metre.
Medium–sized suburban and country gardens
As we move into the medium–sized gardens, such as those found in suburban and country houses, we still have that concentration of planting close to the house, but as you move towards the boundary it gets less and less. Structural features will also be less densely packed and so landscaping work won’t be quite as intense. In these gardens we might expect a cost of around £100-£200 per square metre. But don’t be misled by this figure, although the cost per area is lower than your courtyard garden, the total cost will most likely be higher because the work is completed over a larger area.
When Dewlands Garden Design work on projects of this scale, we are able to create excellent designs whatever our client’s budget. If you are working towards the lower end of the scale, we’re able to produce designs that are carefully planned and well-chosen in their content; this means thinking carefully about the area and creating as much impact as possible for the price you want, so that the end result is an economical, but elegant, solution.
As you push towards the upper end of the spectrum, if you have the budget to spend, around £200 per square metre, you have the opportunity to create some more exciting developments, such as water features, gazebos and maybe even a treehouse. The most important thing is making sure you have a goal or vision in place so you can start working on your design.
The more sprawling gardens which cover areas around 1,000 square metres or more are where we start to think about £25-£50 per square metre because the work we do will be spread over a huge area. If your garden falls into this bracket, then it may be a good idea to partition your space into sections, focussing on individual, smaller parts at a time. We may work on a scheme that defines individual parts to create a stepwise project, where each space builds on previous steps to create an overall plan. With gardens of this size, the amount of situations we could be dealing with are tremendous and sometimes the only limits to those are imagination – if we can conceive it, we can make it happen.
The importance of planning!
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, if you want to redesign your garden to add value to your home and to become your dream outdoor space, then it’s incredibly important to plan ahead. If you don’t work with a design from the beginning, then you miss an opportunity to design the budget more accurately. Shortlisting features that you want to include in your design is a good way to get an initial idea of how much everything will cost you. If you work with a good garden designer, they will help you to plan within the budget and get a more rounded view of building costs, in addition to material costs. If certain aspects of your design fall outside of your budget, they can suggest alternatives from a professional and experienced perspective, or ways of phasing the design so that it is affordable.
When you’re designing your dream garden, the first step is to have a vision and then to plan ahead. Remember that these are rough guidelines and many garden designers are flexible in what they can offer, helping you get the best value for your ideal outdoor space.