Q: How should you budget properly for landscaping?
PL: I think clients’ expectations for their budget are one of the biggest obstacles we face because people often have no idea what to allow for in landscaping when it takes in so many varied build components. That’s why there’s a need to define what landscaping is and what it actually includes. If it’s elements, such as automatic gates and front fencing, it can be a much bigger project. Clients budgets after the house build is complete is probably such a big obstacle because we are one of the last finishing trades to come in – us and the people hanging the blinds – and people often forget to budget enough for landscaping.
The rule-of-thumb for budget calculation used by most developers to avoid over-capitalising is to allow for around 10 per cent of the fully developed project to be put aside for all landscaping. For example, if you have a $1 million block with a $500,000 house built on it, allow at least $150,000 for all externals, including driveway and front fence.
It’s also important to remember that when you are designing a new home you should also include the landscape design in that initial phase – it can help in reducing construction costs later. If landscapers have to get in there after the build with restricted access or need to undo work that’s completed, it can be costly as well as inconvenient.
Q: What does the design process look like?
PL: First, we carry out a client consultation onsite, usually further on in the project when the home build is in its final stages; this gives us the basis to create a complimentary landscape design. That’s when we do a site assessment (with site plans) and have conversations with the client to gather a detailed brief. We discuss all external aspects to be included, from necessary inclusions such as drainage and retaining walls to wish-list options. Then our in-house design team draw everything we need for a 2D or 3D plan with pin-point accuracy and realism on our latest software so our clients can see the end result before a shovel goes in the ground.
We are continuously refining our technology-driven systems and processes to ensure great results that can be repeated. We work hard to maintain a great culture within our own teams, as well as with clients, to ensure we deliver on quality outcomes that our clients are proud to show off to others.