Building Gardens in Sydney
A beautiful garden is more than skin (or soil) deep and, when building gardens in Sydney, the key is understanding what’s lies beneath the surface. Do your homework and put energy into your planning, though, and you’ll be rewarded with a gorgeous garden that will survive and thrive.
Get in early
The secret to building a better garden is in the planning – and the early bird gets the great garden! If you’re planning a renovation or new build, think about engaging a landscape designer early on, even at the same time as your architect, with the two ideally working collaboratively. Among the advantages of getting in early with your landscape planning is ease of access – when landscapers are brought in post-reno, they can strike problems such as needing to install irrigation or drainage where the builders have just laid concrete, or not being able to access the backyard to bring in soil – having a crew spending three days carrying soil in buckets makes no one happy!
Plan your build well
Engaging a landscape architect or designer to draw up a concept plan is a fantastic start, but a beautifully built garden is about more than just surface appeal – compare it to a DIY sketch of a home’s prospective floor plan versus an architect’s detailed drawings. The devil is in the detail; a landscape architect or designer will map out, not only where the garden beds will sit relative to the patio, but exactly where each plant will sit and how many of each you’ll need. They will go into the finer details of light fittings and placement, irrigation lines, tile selection and all the nitty-gritty the average DIY gardener might not think of. The benefit of all this detailed planning is a build that runs smoothly, with no confusion and, ultimately, a garden that exhibits seamless design and functionality.
What lies beneath?
Sydney throws up plenty of challenges to building gardens, with most properties in our fair city sitting on a base of sand, clay or sandstone, each of which has unique benefits and challenges; clay shrinks and expands dramatically with changing moisture levels, sand shifts unless properly compacted, while rock can cause serious drainage issues when water seeps through a too-shallow soil layer and pools on the stone bed. All of these can be dealt with, but might place restrictions on your garden design if you don’t want to blow out the budget on the (relatively) boring bits – if you’re sitting on a bed of rock, for example, you might have to opt for raised garden beds and say sayonara to your dream of an in-ground pool.
Expect the unexpected
Sydney gardens are full of surprises and plans can go awry – even when based on the most educated assumptions – as soon as a spade strikes an unexpected layer of bedrock. To avoid throwing out designs and budgets, it helps to do your homework before building your garden; geotechnical reports can tell you exactly where you might encounter bits of rock or tricky soils, saving a lot of guesswork and potential expense down the track.
Also see Landscaping in Sydney.