How To Buy Landscaping On A Tight Budget

How To Buy Landscaping On A Tight Budget

Need to make garden improvements but worried about the cost? Here’s how to buy landscaping on a tight budget.

Top Tips For Landscaping On A Tight Budget

  • Don’t compromise on quality- it’s better to scale back the scope of works than to pay for shoddy workmanship.
  • Always start by consulting a garden designer. They can save you more money than you’d imagine.
  • Consider bringing your garden design to life in phases.  Your landscaper will be able to advise you on which order to build the elements.
  • There may be cost savings when you choose the right designer/landscaper combo
  • Soft landscaping usually costs less than hard landscaping. 
  • Straight lines are less labour intensive than curves
  • Stick to the plan. Making changes part way through a project will likely add to the overall price
  • Have a contingency in your budget for unforeseen problems
  • Be patient with plants.  Younger (smaller) plants cost considerably less than mature specimens and they tend to establish quicker too.

steel supports beneath raised decking structure

If you want your new garden features to last long into the future, buy the best quality materials and workmanship you can. Even if that means simplifying your wish list.

Poor Quality Landscaping Is A Huge Waste Of Money

When you are landscaping on a tight budget, the last thing you’ll want to do is waste any money.  

I love a bargain as much as the next person.  But it’s one thing to buy 3 bars of chocolate for the price of 2, and another thing altogether to spend thousands of pounds on something that Is not fit for purpose.  

Landscaped gardens can’t be taken back to the shop if you don’t like them. And if you are unhappy with the standard of workmanship from an unscrupulous trader, there’ll likely be a long and stressful legal battle to get your money back. So please, please, please don’t accept the lowest landscaping quote on face value.  Do your homework, read the reviews and ask the right questions. Only hire a landscaper who is honest, experienced and has a genuine passion for building gardens that last.

Click here to read our article on choosing the right landscaper for your project.  

Why You Need To Invest In A Good Garden Design

Hiring a garden designer may feel as though you are adding an extra layer of cost to your project. But when you are buying landscaping on a tight budget, you’d be surprised at how much money you can save by investing in a good garden designer.

Garden designers are not just the high flying celebrities who you see on TV coverage of the RHS Flower Shows.  Most of them are ordinary, down to earth people who use their creative flair and their knowledge of landscaping to maximise their clients’ budgets.

A good garden designer will listen to your dreams and your worries about your garden space. Then they will suggest stylish features and a layout that can be bought with your budget.  Your garden designer will be able to create a balance between hard and soft landscaping. And also design your new garden in such a way as it can be built in phases. That way you can spread the cost of the work.

We work closely with several garden designers but our favourite by far is Tapestry Design Studios in Colchester.  Because we share an office with them, we often discuss designs in their early stages. That often means we can save our client’s money by advising the designers on landscaping costs. Also, by understanding the designs in great depth,  we don’t need to pay for detailed construction drawings.

private seating area in overlooked garden

Working with a garden designer helps you to create a garden that is pleasing to the eye, meets your needs, and doesn’t break the bank.

Build Your Garden In Phases

Once you have an overall design for your new garden, you may be able to split the construction into two or more phases to help manage your cashflow.  Although I have to say, it is more cost effective to build the whole thing in one go. There is always a cost associated with moving machinery and materials on and off site. And it seems daft to pay for that twice if you don’t have to.

Discuss your decision with your landscaper.  Things like drainage, irrigation and electrical wiring are best installed all at once. You don’t want to be digging up work done in the first phase in order to complete the second phase. Good project management is key to keeping costs down in a multi-phase scheme.

Changing Your Mind Part Way Through A Project May Cost More Than You Think

Any landscaping work will be carefully project managed from the moment you sign the contract.  Tasks need to be carried out in the correct order and those materials with a lengthy lead time for delivery will need to be ordered in advance.

Your garden makeover will begin by marking out the site and doing groundworks.  Foundations will be built and earth moved in order to get the correct levels for the next stage.  If you change your mind about the layout once that work is underway, everything will need to be undone and started again.  Your landscaping quote won’t include labour costs for big changes and so you’ll probably find that your landscaper needs to add a little more to the price of your garden. That’s not great if you are landscaping on a tight budget. Be sure of the design BEFORE work begins.

When it comes to landscaping materials, very few landscapers hold stock. And very few suppliers accept returns unless the product arrives on site damaged.  Your slabs, decking boards, lawn edging etc will have been ordered especially for your garden. 

Delays in deliveries will upset all of the project management plans. So if you change your mind about the size of your patio or the slabs you want installed, you will likely disrupt all of the costings and the timings of your project.  If labour has been calculated based on a day rate – you might find that gets skewed too.  Again, if you want to save money on your landscaping project, agree the design, agree the materials and stick with your decision.

young plants are a good choice for anyone landscaping on a tight budget. Picture shows a richly planted herbaceous border grown from 9cm plants

9cm plants don’t take long to grow and will soon become a riot of colour and texture

A Great Way To Save Money On Planting

No landscaping project is complete without plants Your landscaper will probably have a good relationship with a wholesale nursery. Meaning he or she can buy your plants for less than you’d pay at the garden centre. Make the most of this fact.

Another way to save money on plants is to buy perennials in 9cm pots rather than 2 litre pots. It does mean that the planting may not peak in its first year. But my goodness, young plants really do grow fast and they seem to establish better than their older cousins.  If you are landscaping on a tight budget, you can save hundreds of pounds if you are prepared to wait a few months for small plants to grow into larger ones.

Communication Is Key To Landscaping On A Tight Budget

There’s no shame in wanting best value for money for your garden makeover. So don’t be afraid to talk about your budget from the outset.  Be clear about what you can afford to pay.  If the landscaping quote is higher than you’d like, don’t compromise on workmanship – you’ll only end up regretting it.  Instead, discuss design tweaks with your landscaper BEFORE work begins. You’ll be surprised how little changes here and there will alter the overall cost. Plus, your landscaper will appreciate your honesty and the two of you will likely get along all the better for it.

What To Do Next

If you’d like a quote for garden design, talk to Katie at Tapestry Design Studios

To discuss a price for landscaping in Essex and Suffolk, talk to Paul at Holland Landscapes

Visit the APL website to find a reputable landscape professional near you

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