The Lack of Planning and Budgeting

As detailed outdoor living areas and landscapes become more desirable it’s important to make sure they’re considered before setting your budget and layout for the build. Rather than being seen as an after thought to the house, the landscape design and build should be thoroughly planned, treating the property as a whole.

When starting a project, be sure to consult with your architect and landscape architect together, to ensure the relationship between the interior and exterior is maximised. Too often we find that doors, spaces and details could have been altered slightly during the design phase to enhance the finished result rather than hinder it.

If this principle is followed, the result will not only generate a more comprehensive layout, but the project can be priced up as one, avoiding potential budget blowouts. Adjustments to plans are much easier if carried out prior to consent. This doesn't mean that the landscape can't be completed or added to over time. Expensive features, not essential to layout, can follow at a later date. We believe that getting the initial hard surface layout down should commence at the initial stage of construction and most importantly considered when setting the budget. Once a good hard surface and garden layout is established, overused feature walls and raised planters are simply not required.

It is at this stage that we prefer to develop a detailed plan. This allows us to make informed suggestions such as the addition of a morning patio or office space. We’re able to make sure the landscape and exterior are factored into the overall budget.

Applying this thinking to an example, a house we are currently working on in conjunction with the architect is at the early stage of construction. Our plans show the living area extended to the north boundary. This creates an opportunity to create multiple outdoor living areas on a relatively small, 500m2 site. The house is situated opposite a lake and open green space. A small morning patio overlooking the view will feature to the front, and the back yard has the potential for a sheltered lounge and dining area with a built in barbecue and lawn. The client works from home so we have suggested a small courtyard and large doors to create fresh airflow into the office space.

At this point we’re happy to let the architect continue to develop the plans. We will meet them periodically to check on specifics and final placement of elements on the section.