Landscaping and finishing
Many good architects or designers will discuss aspects of landscaping and garden design at a very early concept stage, but this isn't always the case. For some people it is not until they move in and find their dream home surrounded by a sea of mud and builder's rubble, that their thoughts turn to landscaping.
At this point you may want to call in the services of a professional landscaper. The process of briefing a landscaper is much the same as briefing an architect. They need to know what you like and how you live. Do you want lots of lawn for the kids to play on? A low maintenance garden? Is privacy an issue? Do you want a structured formal look, a rambling garden, or something tropical ?
Again the best thing you can do is gather together as many ideas and photos of the features and plants you like and have some idea of what you want before you brief your landscaper.
One big difference between the landscaping and building process, is that many keen New Zealand gardeners not only have lots of their own ideas, but they also like to get their hands dirty and be very involved in the physical work of building the garden themselves.
That's great, but it also pays to call in the experts when it comes to paving, and concreting or plastering unless you are absolutely sure of what you're doing. There will be lots of tasks however, that with the right advice, you can undertake – for example,sowing the lawn, painting fences, building up garden beds and planting.
If you chose not to use a landscaper, you should still approach the project in the same way. Ask yourself the questions you would expect a landscaper to ask. Be clear about what over-all effect you want to achieve. Even if the landscape is simply a backyard lawn, with a rotary clothesline – have a plan! If you are trying to achieve something more exotic or exciting than that however, here are a few thought-starters: