Creating a garden has many similarities to that of building a house.
There are many steps you can do yourself, others that are best undertaken by professionals. However unlike building a house, there are more things that you may wish to be directly involved in.
First step is to identify in broad terms what you what from the garden. What is your big picture, how do you plan to use it. Will it be for having parties by the pool, perhaps to grow some self-sufficient fruit and vegetables, or it is to maximise use for the children in a safe environment?
Your intended mood or theme of the garden will also greatly affect the design. Do you desire an escape of a tropical paradise or recreation of your outback homeland?
At this early stage rough drawings and plans are advisable as it helps you to formulate your ideas into something solid which can be referred to later.
Although the temptation is to jump in and immediately create your landscape, it is not advised at this early stage. Errors made at this point will only be compounded towards the end. It is best to allow the ideas to develop over a few months so that ideas can be refined.
At his later stage you now have two important decisions to make:
1/ go ahead with designs and start work
2/ consult a professional
If there are any perceived problems, or possible ramifications regarding council regulations or buildings, then it would be necessary to consult with a designer.
At this point you may need one of the following:
You may find these consultants via:-
www.plant.id.au (Plant ID website) – all contacts of other groups can be sourced from this one website. Click on http://plant.id.au/links.aspx
www.aih.org.au Australian Institute of Horticulture (AIH)
www.aildm.com.au Australian Institute of Landscape Designers and Managers (AILDM)
www.aila.org.au Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA)
www.qali.asn.au Queensland Association of Landscape Industries (QALI)
www.lcansw.com.au Landscape Contractors Association NSW (LCA NSW)
www.liav.com.au Landscape Industry Association of Victoria (LIAV)
www.landscapewa.com.au Landscape Association of Western Australia (LAWA)
Using a Landscaper
When hiring a landscaper to undertake any work ensure that they are covered with insurance.
Each state has similar rules, but as an example, here follows guidelines for Queenslanders.
Regulations in Queensland mean that if you have any structural landscaping work (such as paving, retainer walls, irrigation, pergolas, and so on) over $1100 to be undertaken, then the landscaper must be licensed through the Building Services Authority. You can check who is and isn't licensed on the BSA website (www.bsa.qld.gov.au).
However, if you are only obtaining soft landscaping services such as designing, replanting, mulching, and so on, then no license in required.
For jobs over $3,300 ensure you only deal with landscapers who provide you with a contract. Again, this is a law requirement if the work involves structural landscaping elements.
Good communication between yourself, the designer and landscaper is important as it ensures your garden will be created as you desire.
Your Garden – Your Landscape
At all times remember that the garden is yours. It is part of the home, part of the family and part of your lifestyle.
It should satisfy your needs, captivate your soul and reflect your style.
BY: Paul Plant F.A.I.H. writer for HOME magazine, Courier Mail