The importance of green spaces in general and gardens in particular was highlighted during lockdown. Since then, increasing numbers of homeowners have committed to garden makeovers.

An effective garden makeover can be an astute investment. It can improve your experience of your garden, whilst also increasing its appeal to future buyers. As with all investments, however, it’s important to understand the garden makeover cost as well as its benefits.

How much does a garden renovation cost?

The cost of a new garden can vary from nothing at all to several thousand pounds. Most significant garden makeovers cost at least several hundred pounds.

What factors affect the cost of a garden makeover?

Ultimately, the main factor that affects the cost of a garden makeover is the size and complexity of the project. These factors will determine your design and landscaping requirements (both hard and soft). Subsequently, this will influence other expenses such as labour, equipment hire and materials.

Here are the four main categories of garden makeover costs that you should consider and budget for.

Design and planning

A full garden makeover is often a significant project. As such, it needs to be carefully planned. If you’re employing a professional, you can expect their fees to reflect their expertise. In return, you can expect detailed plans and possibly renderings and 3D models.

Hard landscaping

The installation of hardscape elements like patios, pathways and decking will typically require some level of site preparation (e.g. clearing, levelling and/or excavation). This may need to be done by skilled professionals. Even if you can do the work yourself, you may find you need to hire specialist tools and possibly take out insurance for them. You will also need to budget for the cost of materials.

Plants and planting

In addition to the cost of the plants themselves, you will need to think about the cost of planting them. This may include not just the cost of labour, but also the cost of materials to help them bed in (e.g. soil, mulch, compost and/or fertiliser).

It’s also advisable to think about the practicalities of maintaining them. For example, you may find it helpful to add features such as containers, trellises, raised beds, outdoor irrigation and/or drainage systems and lighting.

Other features

If you want to make your garden an outdoor living space, then you will probably want garden furniture and possibly outdoor cooking equipment. You may also want decorative features such as water features.

Five tips for reducing garden makeover costs

Although garden makeovers are generally significant projects, there are often ways you can reduce the cost without diminishing the end result. Here are five suggestions.

Plan thoroughly

The more thoroughly you plan, the less likely it is that you will experience avoidable hold-ups and/or make (expensive) mistakes.

Plan in stages

It can be lovely to see a garden transformed overnight (or, more realistically, over a few days or weeks). It is, however, often a lot more practical to undertake a garden makeover in stages. As a minimum, it will usually allow you to spread the cost. It may potentially allow you more time to find bargains that will reduce the garden makeover cost.

The key to success here is to ensure that each stage follows logically from the previous one. For example, if you want to plant climbing flowers on a trellis, you need to have the trellis installed before you can plant the flowers.

Fortunately, this is generally very easy to do as long as you have planned effectively. This is another reason why it’s worth taking the time to create a robust plan.

Define your priorities

This can be very subjective. Even so, there is a useful guideline to keep in mind. The harder something is to change later, the more you should lean towards doing it exactly how you want it the first time.

Of course, for you to be able to apply this guideline, you need to be clear on what it is you want. You also need to be clear on the extent, if any, to which you’re willing to compromise.

For example, you may want an extensively-equipped children’s play area. Your children, however, may be quite happy with one or two large items. They may even prefer having extra space to run around and play games.

Do thorough research

Before you spend any money, spend some time researching what it is you intend to purchase. This means everything from labour to equipment to materials.

Make sure you know all your options and the differences between them. If you’re on a tight budget, actively look for places where you can reduce costs with minimal to no impact.

As a guideline, it’s unwise to try to pare back the cost of labour or equipment hire (or insurance). There may, however, be options to cut back on material costs without any meaningful difference. For example, having gravel paths can be a lot more affordable than laying paving.

Go pre-loved

One of the big advantages of doing a garden makeover in stages is that it gives you time to look for pre-loved options. You can also try looking for plants in need of new homes (e.g. people moving), cuttings and seeds. Just make sure that you get these from people you trust, so you can be confident that the plants are healthy.

How to afford a garden makeover?

There are basically two ways to afford a garden makeover. One is to pay costs out from savings or your available funds. The other is to get a loan through one of our trusted broker partners. Depending on your situation, it can often make sense to combine both approaches.

For example, you could use a loan to cover the cost of any work that you need professionals to do. This would put the key elements of your garden makeover in place. You could then finish the work yourself according to your available time and budget.

Obviously, you should only take out any form of credit if you are confident you can manage the repayments. You should also be comfortable that the overall cost of the loan is worth the benefit. This is why it’s generally best to look at more economical types of loans such as a homeowner loan.