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8 Top Tips From a Garden Designer

Create a professional looking garden in no time!

Creating your ideal backyard is all about designing a beautiful garden that’s perfect for your needs. However landscaping your garden to a professional standard can seem like a massive feat when you’re looking at a blank canvas -  where do you start? Do you have a consult with a garden designer, hire a landscaper, or give it a go yourself?

It’s crucial to note that homes that are landscaped can increase in value; which is essential if you are looking at selling in the near future. The added value of well-presented landscaping is generally in the overall saleability of a home; through that ever-desired street appeal! It’s a great way to get potential purchasers through your home on open homes too.

The facts:
·        A well-maintained garden can increase your property's value by up to 16%!
·        The average return (including costs of plants, maintenance, and makeover) can be estimated at 3.1 times the money invested.
·        A neglected garden can actually lower property value by 5 – 15 per cent.
·        55% of real estate agents believe that a well-landscaped garden can shorten selling time.

For those of you with the Kiwi do-it-yourself attitude, we’ve managed to twist the arm of our lead garden designer (Claire Talbot) to give you the 8 top tips you’ll need to get your dream garden design started on your own, in your own time.

1 / Function First!

A good garden design thinks about function first and looks second. Take into consideration family requirements, screening, maintenance, pets and activities. Make a full list of practical considerations first, then build your design around that.

Maintenance is key here! There’s no point having a beautiful garden that you’ll never have time to upkeep. Keep it simple, or go all out – the choice is up to you and what you’d like to get out of your backyard and garden.

2 / Choose Plants Wisely

The plants you select for your garden are so important! Take a look at the list below and choose what suits you best:

  • I need a low maintenance, drought tolerant garden
  • I want to make a statement!
  • I’d like to create a beautiful sanctuary
  • I’d enjoy growing my own fruits and vegetables
  • It would be amazing to attract wildlife
  • Noise / wind reduction and sun protection are really important to me
  • I need to create privacy

3 / Make A Plan

Nurseries are wonderful places where we know it’s easy to get carried away! The worst thing is getting home and discovering you don’t have enough plants of each kind, or even worse, having too many! Always ensure you plan for your garden and have everything thought out before you begin to buy.

Measure your garden beds and create a plan of your garden.  Imagine 1m in your garden is 1cm on your piece of paper.  Choose the plants you want to place into your garden beds and research how wide they will grow.  When you know how big the garden beds are and how large the plants will grow , you can then calculate how many you need for your space. 

Sculpt Gardens measure up their client's gardens and carefully choose a selection of plants, which complement each other, are loved by the client and are suitable for the chosen location (sunny / shady aspect).

4 / Choose A Plant Personality

Do you prefer the modern touch, a tropical twist or classic NZ natives? A loose informal garden full of bright and bold colours, or perhaps formal, with tidy and straight lines? Jump on sites like Pinterest and NZ gardening sites and choose the personality that reflects your ideal aesthetic.

5 / How To Choose Your Plant Palette

You’ll need a mixture of textures, sizes, shapes & colours… the trick is to bring these together into winning combinations!

Refer to your plant personality and then choose a mixture of:
·        Feature plants
·        Ground covers
·        Fillers
·        Hedging
·        Climbers/creepers

6 / Embrace Your Inner Designer!

Think of plants as building blocks to create structure, walls and spaces. A good plant selection can be thought of like furniture choices in your home – paint and wallpaper need to be cohesive and so do your plants! Use a somewhat restricted palette to give your entire garden a sense of coordination and direction, without having to “match” everything.

7 / Don't Disregard Ground Covers

Ground covers can often be overlooked after choosing feature plants but they are a crucial element in design and act as amazing weed barriers!

When planted in the right spot and the right distance apart, groundcovers will give you a stunning array of texture and colour – essential for low maintenance planting schemes.
Plant them a little closer than their full-growth size for solid coverage at the front of your garden bed, where you really don't want to see any weeds.

8 / Keep Your Plants Alive!

All this hard work needs some pay off - make sure your beautiful landscaping lasts by investing some time in keeping your plants alive and happy! Make sure you keep your plants in top condition right from the beginning by following these tips for plant choice, ground preparation and optimal planting conditions.

Read more: Keeping Your Plants Alive

9 / Landscaping on a budget and ready to sell? We’ve got you covered.

·        Add colour with annuals, perennials, or seasonal flowering shrubs, mulch, tidy edges, remove weeds and get the grass green and full. Quick and inexpensive fixes that can be extremely effective!

·        Do a full garden tidy-up (mowing, weeding, edges) and plant a few flowering annuals.

·        Paint the front door and get new house numbers.  Improve whatever the eye will see from the street and instantly boost curb appeal.

There you have it! Keep these 8 top tips from a garden designer in mind when you’re planning your backyard transformation and you'll have a beautiful looking garden in no time at all!


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