Aura Landscapes Blog

How long should you wait for a landscaper to install your driveway or patio?

Hiring a landscaper to transform your garden or driveway is a big decision. After gathering multiple quotes and undertaking checks to ensure you aren’t hiring a rogue landscaper, it’s also advisable to consider the waiting time they provide.

What’s the average waiting time for a landscaper to complete your project?

With over 16 years’ experience in the industry, both working for other landscaping companies and successfully running his own, Aura Landscapes’ Director and landscaper Mike Warman has found reputable landscapers will have at least 3 months waiting time.

However, there are factors that can affect this, such as customers encountering unexpected circumstances and cancelling their project.

Another factor is the time of year, with the landscaping industry experiencing peaks at certain periods. With a new year, we all look towards a fresh start in January and transforming your home can often become a New Year’s resolution, creating an influx of enquiries for patios and driveways. The summer months offer a similar story, and are the main peak for any landscaping company, both periods increasing waiting times dramatically.

In contrast, leading up to Christmas will be quieter with the focus on the festive season, and can often reduce waiting times.

Why should you consider the landscapers start date before booking?

If your chosen landscaper offer a near immediate start date, it’s wise to bear in mind the factors of unexpected circumstances and time of year.

However, if you’re concerned about the shortness of the waiting time, ask for the next available start date or query it with the company. Any reputable landscaper will be more than happy to answer your queries to ensure you are comfortable with the decision to hire them.

When is the best time to book your patio or driveway?

With the run up to Christmas, towards the end of a year is always quieter for landscaping companies. If you want to transform your outdoor area in time for Summer, a great time to gather quotes is towards the end of the year October on. This will ensure there is plenty of time to get quotes, agree a design, look through samples, have multiple meetings with your contractor to finalise the project and finally the build to be completed.

However, this will vary with each landscaper, and you can often have a waiting time of over 6+ months. Although this may seem a lengthy period, you should consider booking earlier rather than leaving it till later as your preferred start date may have then been booked up.

Even though the deadline may be longer than what you initially wanted, an extended waiting time is another pillar in place confirming you’re hiring a reputable landscaper, and that they are going to provide you with an outdoor area that will not only last a lifetime but is completely bespoke to you and your requirements.

There are countless stories of homeowners who’ve been ripped off by a rogue trader, and have ended up spending double the amount to correct the issues. Click here for an example on Watchdog.

If you have a deadline for your outdoor area, and the waiting time is a key factor in your decision– just ask! Waiting times will vary consistently, and to ensure you’re not wasting your time, we recommend asking during your initial enquiry with a landscaper. They should be more than happy to answer this, and you will not be wasting time with landscapers that are unable to work to your deadline.

Have any more queries? Click the link below to book a free consultation.

Driveway installers Hampshire and Surrey

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Garden Makeover Shows – Love ’em or Hate ’em?

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.

garden makeover, garden, patio, Southampton, Petersfield, Hamshire, Garden Design, Award winning gardenSo 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…



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Small Garden – 12 Tips for the Design & Build

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:

  1. Furniture – can take up a lot of space, consider building in seating areas or buying foldaway items that can be stored away.
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    Neutral colours, pots and built in seating in terrace garden (image: Ideal Home)

  2. Fire Pits – can be built into the design and make the area cosy whilst not taking up much space
  3. Use Pots –pots are a must for planting in small spaces and great for roof terraces and balcony gardens too
  4. 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
  5. Plants – think about size you don’t want  to use overly large plants that will crowd an already small garden
  6. 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
  7. Use of Mirrors – mirror panels are used widely in small garden design to create the illusion of space and create interest and areas within
  8. 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.
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    garden transformation using neutral complimenting colours and mixing of materials (image: Aura Landscapes)

  9. Low maintenance – more patio and potted plants means minimum fuss with maximum impact. Perfect for the small garden.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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!
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    Small Garden Design (Design: Aura Landscapes)

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:

Please view our garden transformation gallery here:

Useful Links:

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Gardens and Outdoor Spaces

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

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Driveways, Drainage & Planning – All You Need to Know

The Legislation

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)
  • Soakaways
  • Natural drainage (allowing water to simply run off into lawns or flowerbeds)

Our advice?

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  or visit: 



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