It may seem hard to believe at the moment, as we continue to shiver through a particularly cold and dreary winter, but spring is only four weeks away, and for many homeowners that means it’s time to turn their attention to their backyard landscapes.
After months of avoiding going outside and only sneaking the odd glance at the front yard as you rush up the driveway and into your cosy house, the thought of warmer weather can prompt people to take a closer look at their garden, and thoroughly assess what areas didn’t survive the winter and what jobs need to be done, in order to have it looking spectacular again.
If you recently built a new home - spring can be the time you finally decide to transform your patch of dirt into a dream outdoor space. You’ve watched the Block, trolled Pinterest and Instagram, studied house and garden magazines - now it’s time to turn that dream into a reality!
But where do you start?
For many, a DIY landscaping project is an exciting conquest they can’t wait to tackle but for others it can be a daunting process that has them immediately reaching for the phone to enlist the help of a professional!
There are many different ways to complete your landscape project and many different professional landscaping services you can call on to help you along the way.
In this blog we take a closer look at some of these options and provide you with some useful tips to help you make an informed decision about the best way to complete your landscape project this spring!
If you are a ‘can do’ kinda guy or girl and wish to embark on a DIY landscape project yourself, it can be a really rewarding experience, and provided you arm yourself with the right information and tools, you can create an amazing outdoor space to enjoy and feel proud of!
For a turnkey landscape solution that will instantly transform your yard and give it a lush and homely feeling - you can't go past instant turf! Our experienced and friendly team at Coolabah Turf are here to hold your hand every step of the way and can help you select the best turf for your needs. We also offer free lawn care advice for the life of every lawn we sell and product warranties on all varieties to ensure the end result is a lawn you will love forever!
According to our very own Suzie Shearer, installing a new lawn is child’s play!
“With some good preparation and good advice, anyone can lay turf. The secret to a successful lawn long term however, is excellent site preparation including soil depth, site set up and a well planned irrigation system,” Suzie said.
For all the best tips and tricks on how to lay your instant lawn, you can call our friendly team or visit our website.
If this all sounds too much for you, it can be a good idea to consult a landscape professional, to analyse your property and help you create a master plan to ensure you get it right from the get go.
“We are incredibly lucky to work with, and be able to recommend, so many professional and highly qualified landscape businesses across the state who can help make a landscape project possible for those home owners who are time poor or just not blessed with any DIY DNA! ”
If you would like assistance sourcing a contractor please contact us and we can provide you with a list of businesses in your area.
How a landscape professional can help
According to Craig Turner, who, along with partner Kate, is a Co-Director at The Garden Planners, and a qualified horticultural technician - plants aren’t expensive, but design mistakes are.
“Time after time we see landowners who tried to save money by designing their own garden but ended up costing themselves more in the long run with plants that didn’t survive and an outdoor space that isn't functional for their lifestyle,” Mr Turner said.
“We understand it can be difficult for some people to justify paying for a landscape design on top of financing the construction. But by engaging our services from the start, it can save you time and money in the long run and provide more functional and sustainable results.”
“Employing a professional landscape designer doesn’t need to be a complicated or expensive process. We offer practical, affordable and impartial advice, tailored to your needs and budget, to help you create the perfect garden for you.”
Benefits of employing a professional
Creating a landscape without a plan opens the doors for costly mistakes. Just like you wouldn’t travel to an unknown place without a map or build a house without a plan - embarking on a landscape project without a design plan can be a recipe for disaster!
The amount of plants, garden materials and different design styles available today can be overwhelming for the average homeowner. By enlisting the services of a professional you have access to their extensive horticulture, design and creative talent to help generate ideas and explore different options best suited to your needs that you may not have previously considered.
Every yard is different and every household interacts with their space in different ways. A professional has the skills and expertise to interpret your soil type, level of drainage, amounts of shade and traffic areas in order to recommend a design that suits not only your unique environment, but is functional for the space and your lifestyle.
Once a landscape professional has a complete understanding of your environment, your lifestyle and your tastes, they can provide you with a professional landscape design that will include all the hardscape and planting requirements, along with quantities and species varieties. This will ensure the end result is a perfect fit for you and there are no hidden surprises when it comes to constructing the yard.
Coming up with an idea is one thing but constructing something that is actually functional and sustainable is a whole other ball game. A professional can help ensure your dreams are actually feasible and create an outdoor space that really works.
If you choose to employ a professional landscaper to complete the construction for you, they will come with their own quality tools and wealth of experience to guarantee a job well done - first time around.
Anyone who has ever embarked on a home build or renovation project knows it can be very difficult to stick to a budget. When you employ a professional you can set a budget and be guaranteed a total price upfront. They may also be able to recommend areas you can save money or areas that may be worth investing more money in.
Save you time
In today’s fast paced world, many families are time poor and don’t want to spend what precious spare moments they have coordinating a landscape project. The knowledge and experience of a professional can help make the process quicker and smoother for all involved. From design to construction, a professional landscaper can take the hassle out of planning and implementing your next project so you have more time for the important things.
How to pick a professional landscaper
So you’ve decided to enlist the services of a professional on your next landscape project but how do you know who to choose? It’s important to understand there are a variety of different landscape professionals, and not all professionals are created equal.
“Unfortunately there are some contractors out there doing the wrong thing. Anyone with a lawnmower or a digger can claim to be a landscaper, so its essential for people to understand who they are employing and what sort of experience or qualifications they have. Often, if a customer ends up with an average job, it is because they didn’t ask the right questions, and if they didn’t employ a qualified professional they have nothing to fall back on,” Mr Turner said.
“I am a firm believer that qualifications are a way of providing reassurance and protection for consumers.”
“At The Garden Planners we have a fully qualified team of horticulturalists, landscape designers and landscape architects and are proud members of the Australian Institute of Landscape Designers and Managers (AILDM) - the leading professional association for qualified landscape designers and management professionals.”
“As an AILDM member we are required to demonstrate a sound knowledge of landscape design principles, plants and environmental management, so you can be confident we have the professional knowledge and practical expertise to bring your garden or outdoor space to life.”
“Here at The Garden Planners we are passionate about what we do and have a vested interest in the community we live and work in. It is our dream to have the entire area looking green and amazing. Not because it is good for business, but because it has a positive impact on the sustainability and aesthetics of our region, on local real estate and how it makes people feel.”
"It is important you take into consideration the level of qualifications you are looking for in a landscape professional and make sure you are confident the team you employ has the necessary skills to complete your project to the standard you desire."
A landscape architect is professionally trained and needs to have a degree during which they learn a great range of skills and disciplines including construction design, drawing, ecological studies, environmental studies, environmental studies, land management, design, heritage studies and cultural studies. Landscape architects are best suited to larger projects or when trying to deal with steep slopes, designing significant outdoor structures, major retaining walls and finding solutions to elevation problems.
A landscape designer is a professional who designs outdoor spaces and gardens by preparing detailed plans to suit client tastes and budgets. A certificate IV in Horticulture is a prerequisite to study landscape design and provides them with a thorough understanding of plants, agriculture, soil, pests and diseases, maintenance, weed control, irrigation and turf.
A landscaper is someone who actually performs the work to increase the attractiveness and functionality of an area. They are often skilled across a number of trades including concreting and paving or may specialise in a particular area, like turf and irrigation for example. Most professional landscapers will have completed an industry apprenticeship in sports turf management or landscaping and are usually highly skilled in areas of planning, site construction and ground preparation and irrigation.
Here are some tips to help you decide how to choose the right landscaper professional for your next project:
Do your homework
It is important to take the time to research landscaping options in your area and compare them. Some companies might just do design, some just landscaping and others might do both. It is necessary to be clear on what you want and what services they can provide. Professionals with large portfolios of work and lots of local experience are going to have a greater understanding of the type of plants that will be better suited to your climate and the best places to source materials from.
Be wary of contractors offering ridiculously low prices - you usually get what you pay for.
Word of mouth can be very valuable. Talk to your friends, family, colleagues and other members of the community to find landscape professionals that have a solid reputation and positive reviews. Look for companies who can provide strong references and examples of their work from previous clients with similar needs to yours.
What kind of credentials do they have?
Before employing a landscape professional here are some of the key questions you should ask:
- Do they have a degree or qualification from a professional institution?
- Are they a member of a professional organisation?
- Are they thoroughly conversant in compliance regulations for local and national standards?
Other factors to consider include:
- The length of time the company has been in business?
- Do they provide any satisfaction guarantees?
- Testimonials from past clients
- Pictures from past projects
If they can tick these boxes you should have all your bases covered, just in case anything goes wrong or permits are required.
A landscaping contractor can have all the skills in the world, but if they can’t talk with you and understand your needs, it could be a very long and frustrating process!
Some key personality traits to look for in your potential contractor are:
- Good communication skills
- Patience and understanding of your needs
- Willingness to listen to your ideas
- Creativity and passion
Good luck! If you would like some help to assist with your next DIY project - our Coolabah team are here to help you as little or as much as you like - just give us a call and we’ll walk you through the process. Or, if you are looking to engage the services of a landscape professional to wave a magic wand and just make it all happen - call our Coolabah team today for a full list of recommended installers best suited to you!