Aura Landscapes Blog
Personally as a landscaper I hate these garden makeover shows – they get right on my nerves as they promise the garden of your dreams for a minuscule price.
Last week I watched a garden makeover show (that shall remain nameless) where the homeowners wanted a garden with a theme of Africa for the grand budget of £6,000 – I laughed and thought no way.
So it starts with the design – god awful designs presented to clearly un-knowing homeowners who have no clue what is a good design, what is a realistic budget and clearly what is good landscaping.
They were over the moon and chose their favourite design, this then progressed to the build…cue shockingly bad landscaping! Now the soft landscaping may have been acceptable (I’m no expert) but the hard landscaping well let’s just say it left a lot to be desired. The blockwork walls they put up were rendered… badly and the table they built wobbled– it was overall pretty shocking.
But why do I get so annoyed by programmes like this….well it gives homeowners who know little about landscaping unrealistic expectations of cost, it also leads them to believe that the presenters on the telly are ‘experts’ in their field – I’m not sure I concur with this. Yet this doesn’t just happen on garden makeover shows but I have seen it on various shows that focus on buying and selling houses where the presenters (who are not tradesmen) say things such as, ‘this driveway should only be £50 per m2’ or the best I heard was for a property that had no rear access but to completely re-turf the garden (no mention of prepping the base/digging out/ getting rid of waste etc), ‘should only be max £1,000’ this was based on the price of turf then multiplied by the area!
Where do they get these so called experts from!!!
So, my rant is officially over BUT the morale of the story is to ignore these garden makeover shows and these ‘experts’ and do your own research on what you want from your garden or driveway before making a budget as it could be unrealistic and achievable.
Landscaping, done properly that will last many years, is expensive! A design led installation will be more expensive as it will no doubt be a more complicated design and therefore more labour intensive. Great products are expensive, the ground preparation is expensive…it is not cheap to have a fantastic garden or a driveway that draws attention from everyone who passes. FACT.
If you want cheap be expected to have a installation that won’t stand the test of time as corners will be cut to ensure there is profit in the job i.e. not a suitable dig out or sub base, poor quality materials, no attention to detail, waste fly tipped – I think you get the picture.
However if you want to add real value to your home (think +20% of your property value for a well maintained garden and +10% for a driveway) and want the garden that will last 10+ years and you are happy to pay for ‘Wow’ please do get in touch! If you want cheap please go speak to another landscaper there are plenty out there that will do it for you…try Checkatrade…
Many homeowners have small gardens and the challenge is what can we do with them to make them usable and beautiful? Read our tips to consider when looking at designing and building your dream small garden space:
- Furniture – can take up a lot of space, consider building in seating areas or buying foldaway items that can be stored away.
- Fire Pits – can be built into the design and make the area cosy whilst not taking up much space
- Use Pots –pots are a must for planting in small spaces and great for roof terraces and balcony gardens too
- Lighting – good use of light can make the space seem bigger than it is and the right lighting goes a long way in creating the right atmosphere
- Plants – think about size you don’t want to use overly large plants that will crowd an already small garden
- Use the Walls/Fences – climbing plants, wall hanging pots and even (if budget allows) a living wall are great ways to plant up a small garden space
- Use of Mirrors – mirror panels are used widely in small garden design to create the illusion of space and create interest and areas within
- Mixing Products – such as patio slabs, decking, planters, and decorative stones are great to create different zones in the garden. Make sure the colours are neutral and complement each other.
- Low maintenance – more patio and potted plants means minimum fuss with maximum impact. Perfect for the small garden.
- Colour – outdoor colour schemes are extremely important when it comes to small spaces. The key is to keep walls and flooring neutral and light but using vibrant flowers, features and soft furnishings to add depth and colour.
- Privacy – this is many homeowners biggest issue the feeling of being overlooked. Why not use cedar fence panels that look contemporary but are a great screen or pergolas strategically placed with climbers to create seclusion and privacy.
- Consider a Garden Designer – to ensure you get the most out of the space. Garden designers can visualise your garden and advise on what products to use, colour schemes and overall how it will fit perfectly for your lifestyle. However be aware that garden designs are not cheap and neither is the build. But it can save many costly mistakes and if you want the overall garden to be great you may want to forget DIY and get the professionals in!
If you are looking for a professional garden design and build service then just call 02380 434231 to discuss your small garden project.
Please view our garden design gallery here: www.auralandscapes.co.uk/what-we-do/garden-design/
Please view our garden transformation gallery here: www.auralandscapes.co.uk/what-we-do/garden-transformations/
It’s that time of year where homeowners are thinking of their gardens and outdoor spaces and it can be daunting to know where to start. Many homeowners have discovered Houzz and are using this platform to source products, research and hire professionals. Over 2 million homeowners in the UK are using Houzz to create and share idea books and connect with professionals on the site in order to renovate their gardens and outdoor spaces. We thought it would be a good idea to look back on the UK gardens and outdoor spaces trends from 2016 according to the UK Houzz report 2016. You may find it interesting… Over 1,000 UK homeowners were surveyed who were planning, had started or had recently completed a garden project: 90% updated structural elements of their gardens and outdoor spaces (such as patios, sheds, decking) … Continue reading
On 1st October 2008 new rules apply for householders wanting to pave over their front gardens.This legislation states that driveways must have adequate drainage if there is any possibility water is able to run onto public paths or highways.
However, You will not need planning permission if a new or replacement driveway of any size uses permeable (or porous) surfacing which allows water to drain through, such as gravel, permeable concrete block paving or porous asphalt, or if the rainwater is directed to a lawn or border or to a purpose built soakaway.
If the surface to be covered is more than five square metres planning permission will be needed for laying traditional, impermeable driveways that do not provide a drainage solution (as per above options) for the water to run to a permeable area.
While many approved landscaping companies who install to British standards factor in this cost and advise on drainage, many companies do not advise their customers it is a necessity and ignore the legislation altogether. This means the company is able to quote a project for a much lower cost than companies who do factor in this requirement – as drainage significantly increases the price of a project.
Many customers are enticed into going with a company who have quoted a lot less for a similar job. Unfortunately these home-owners have not been advised that if the council find out the property does not have adequate drainage, they will be the people footing the bill to put it right – which may mean finding another landscaping company to fix the problem.
So Why this Legislation?
So why can homeowners not pave can over their front gardens as they wish anymore? It all stems from the serious flooding in 2007 that affected the UK.
In many cases the flooding happened because drains could not cope with the amount of rain water flowing to them. Climate change can also be attributed based on the heavier rainfalls we now experience and the drains are unable to cope.
Paving over front gardens to create driveway parking adds to the existing problem. The government say, “Although paving over one or two gardens may not seem to make a difference, the combined effect of lots of people in a street or area doing this can increase the risk of flooding. The harm caused by paving gardens is not limited to just flooding. Hard surfaces such as concrete and asphalt collect pollution (oil, petrol, brake dust etc.) that is washed off into the drains. Many drains carry rainwater directly to streams or rivers where the pollution damages wildlife and the wider environment.”
By adding parking areas and replacing grassed areas with concrete and asphalt means that the water does not soak into the ground. Hence if you are having your front garden made into a parking area you do need to be aware of having a drainage solution – see below.
How we can help?
We are able to assist you with the planning process by providing drawings of existing driveway to put forward into planning applications as well as drawings of the proposed driveway. We can also advise on the best surface and drainage requirements for your driveway.
We are SUDs trained.
Have a look at our driveways here (link to driveways gallery) to see examples of shingle and paved driveways all compliant with the current legislation.
Companies who install to British standards should offer a range of drainage options. These include but are not limited to:
- Permeable paving solutions
- SUDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems)
- Natural drainage (allowing water to simply run off into lawns or flowerbeds)
Be wary of any company who do not mention or advise on drainage requirements for your driveway project. Before agreeing to any work, make sure the additional drainage costs are stated in the quotation, ensuring you will not be liable to pay if the council decide drainage should have been installed. At the end of the day, the home-owners pay the price and rogue paving companies get off lightly!
As always make sure all quotations are in writing, ask questions about drainage requirements, ask for samples of products before agreeing to a solution and keep in mind that it is worth paying once and to get the best it is not the cheapest option, but it will save you money in the long term.
For more information, please email email@example.com or visit:
Wow! We are very excited here at Aura Landscapes to be awarded Best of Houzz 2017 – Service! Although it’s fantastic to add to our growing number of awards and prove that we are a landscaping company that prides ourselves on our service delivery, what exactly does it mean?
Houzz is the leading platform for home renovation and design. It provides people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish. As landscape designers we often use Houzz as a starting place for design inspiration for our clients. Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals needed to turn their dream into a reality.
We at Aura Landscapes, were chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, home improvement and design industry professionals.
The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners work was the most popular among the 40 million monthly users. Customer Service honours are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2016. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were popular are recognised in the photography award.
With the ability to display the ‘Best of Houzz 2017 Service’ badge on all platforms and profiles it is a sign of a companies commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated professionals on Houzz.
We are incredibly excited to have won this award and will continue to provide a top class service to our customers!
Follow us on Houzz at: www.houzz.co.uk/pro/auralandscapes/aura-landscapes-ltd