Creating an outdoor space you love is easier than you think! From starting your project to choosing material, here’s your guide to landscaping
A beginner’s guide to landscaping your garden
Us Kiwis love to spend time outside but the prospect of landscaping your garden can often seem a little daunting. Whether you have a quarter-acre dream or a just a pint-sized property, creating your own little slice of heaven is easier than you think. All you need is a little inspiration and you’ll see that even the smallest of changes can completely transform the feel of your home.
The trick is to figure out what you’ll be using the space for and then choosing the right material for the job. The first point to consider when embarking on your landscaping journey is what you’d like to get out of the space. Do you want to create an area for entertaining where you can have friends and family around for a BBQ and host outdoor dinner parties with ease? Or do you need a space for the kids to play and a spot you can relax in the weekend? Alternatively, if your garden or home is on the small side do you need to extend your living space and maximise the room you have available?
Once you’ve decided on your concept the most important next step is to draw up a plan and decide on your budget. Don’t worry if your drawing skills only extend as far as a stick figures, the main thing is you get the basic lines of your idea on paper so you can visualise what you want your garden to look like. This will also help you to prioritise and be realistic with your budget. It’s important to not cut corners and with a clear budget in mind you’ll be able to invest in the best quality materials for the job. Remember, a higher spec usually requires less maintenance than its low-grade counterpart and could save you money in the long run.
The best way to create a space that looks considered and cohesive is to limit the number of materials you use. Reducing your options will also speed up your planning and decision making. Choose one or two plant varieties and use liberally throughout the space and stick to pavers, concrete or timber when hard-landscaping. If you have a small courtyard try splitting your garden up into ‘zones’ in a similar way that you would with an open-plan living room inside your home. Designated areas can help you to get much more use out of your garden and it can prevent a small courtyard from feeling too busy. Take a look at these three foundation products to help you get started with your landscaping project:
Paving is a really quick and easy way to dress up a tired garden. Whether you want to create a special focal point, extend your living space or even just add small pathway, you can get really creative with the shape, size and pattern of pavers. Paving also doesn’t have to be a full-scale event – even something as low-effort as placing large waterworn stones across your lawn can have a big impact. It’s important to consider what the area will be used for when choosing your paving. For example if it’s a high traffic area you’ll need to choose smaller, thicker styles that can withstand weight, or if you’ll be paving around a pool you’ll need to ensure they are slip resistant. PlaceMakers have a huge variety of pavers and can also provide expert advice on what styles will work best for your requirements.
Concrete is a favourite material for landscapers; it’s strong and durable and used to create a low maintenance and easy to use outdoor space. Lay concrete flush against your home to create seamless indoor-outdoor flow and set up a special dining and BBQ spot. Or try exposed aggregate concrete to add texture to your outdoor space with pebbles, glass or shells. If you’re looking to cover a large portion of your garden make sure you check your ideas with your local council in case they have specific landscaping restrictions that could impact your project.
Concrete is now available in a range of nature inspired colours, which are a fantastic way to add subtle drama to your outdoor area. PlaceMakers supply a colorful concrete range by Firth called ‘Elements’, available in colours ranging from subtle beige to deep reds and forest greens. The concrete can be laid to give the appearance of large tiles or in contours which suit your garden design. The best part is the oxides used to colour the concrete are made with recycled metals and because coloured concretes can also be recycled, they have low environmental impact.
The most versatile of materials, timber is the go-to option for landscaping. From decks and retaining walls, to raised vege beds and pergolas, the options with timber are endless. People are now taking a more considered, design-lead approach when choosing the type of wood and finish for their landscaping projects. Light wooden steps are accented with black trim, while dark timber stains are being used on fencing to give colourful plants a backdrop that makes them pop.
Ready-made trellis panels are also being used to divide ‘zones’ in larger gardens or are interspersed with regular fencing for a lighter look. However, the big question that hangs over timber is if it has been sustainably sourced. We’re lucky in New Zealand as many of our forests are managed in a sustainable way and PlaceMakers in particular stock timber that has been responsibly grown.
- The direction of your pavers or decking can help create the illusion of space, for example placing them horizontally will make your garden appear wider.
- Add some cover near a brazier or outdoor oven so you can still make the most of your garden in the winter.
- Plants are essential for softening any hard landscaping you’ve done. Run them along the edges of a path, pavers or around decking.
- Choose native plants as they will usually require less attention.
- Dress your garden up with fairy lights, candles and outdoor cushions.
Visit PlaceMakers.co.nz or head to your local PlaceMakers to start planning your own outdoor oasis.
Photography by: Felix Forest, Helen Bankers, Derek Swalwell, Rachel Dobbs and Sally Tagg / bauersyndication.com.au.