How to save money landscaping a garden.

There really is no such thing as a cheap landscape gardener, they are called cowboys, costing a lot more in the end.
There are however, several ways to keep the cost of garden makeovers down. 
On this page are a few sensible ways to save money and cut the cost of landscaping your garden. 
This is what a cowboy looks like
I will undercut anyone!!!!

Cheapest landscaper in town

The cheapest way to landscape your garden, adding patios, steps, and ponds, is to do part or all of the work yourself.

 We all know there's no such thing as a cheap lunch, unless you grow your own. In the same way, there's no such thing as a cheap landscape gardener. You get what you pay for!
If you are on a tight budget, these tips could help keep the cost of hard landscaping as cheap as possible, without compromising on quality.

Money saving tips on this page,

  • Sharing some of the work yourself will save money.
  • Helping with the labouring cuts costs.
  • Good skills but not that fit? build the steps and lay the slabs, hire a labourer for the shoveling etc.
  • Use secondhand and recycled materials.
  • Don't hire a cheap landscape gardener.
  • Ask for cash discounts.
  • Having a design ready (doesn't need to be to scale) saves a lot of money.
Keeping landscaping costs down by doing part or all of the work yourself.
You may pay more for materials like paving slabs, bricks, sand and cement than an established landscape gardener with trade prices set up with companies supplying landscaping materials, but you will save on the labour cost. Ask suppliers for a discount, if you don't ask you won't get

Doing some of this will save money.

The work is split into three main partsDesign, Labour and Technical stuff

Labouring  includes clearing the garden of unwanted plants and trees (including roots), leveling the surface, digging out footings, digging out the base for patios and then adding and compacting a level hardcore base. 
None of this requires to much brain power just strength and stamina. 
Depending on the type of soil in your garden (clay is the worst) and the rubble under the surface. You will need a pick axe, good shovel and spade and a strong wheel barrow to wheel the sub soil you are taking out into a skip and to carry in the materials to build your garden, like sand, cement, slabs, bricks, etc and, a few tons of hardcore. 

A skip costs about £180 so if you can use the top and sub soil somewhere around the garden to form a raised bed or fill a low area etc. you will save money.

Hiring a Digger costs about £100 if you can operate it yourself,  If you need a digger operator add about  £100 a day. A digger will take a lot of the back breaking digging work out of job, but you will still have to wheelbarrow the stuff into a skip.

Technical work. This includes building retaining wallsterracing a slope, laying patio slabs, installing a pond or simply erecting a fence. Some tasks are harder and more important to get right, like retaining walls, garden drainage and making sure patios drain away from the house. Getting these things wrong, can cost a lot more money to put right than the savings you might make.

Garden design.
Design it yourself,  Designing your own garden layout can save hundreds of pounds. There are many books, CDs and websites that can help. Probably the best way, especially if you are not sure your ideas are practical, is to discuss them on site with a good landscape gardener.

There may be a charge if the changes to the garden involve drainage or leveling, but If you hire the landscaper to do the work they will probably waive any charge.

TIP. If you do use a professional garden designer, make sure every aspect of the work is covered, including gradients, retaining walls, suitable hard landscaping materials, water table and garden drainage in the plan. Some "airy fairy" garden designers are great at planting plans and aerial views, but not so good at the practical stuff.
  • If the design involves moving tons of soil, is their access for a digger?
  • If the layout includes digging out a pond or deep footings for retaining walls, will the water table allow excavation?
  • If paving is planned for low areas of the garden, will the area require drainage to be installed?
  • These are just some of the problems I have found this year, following plans drawn up by professional landscape garden designers.
Saving money on the cost of landscaping material. 
Paving stones, soil, building sand, bricks and gravel are a major expense, so if you think you are going to use a ton of sand or scalpings, buy it in bulk bags from a builders merchant, or loose from a local aggregates supplier, it's much cheaper than buying 25kg bags from Homebase, Wickes or B&Q. Same with slabs, bricks and block paving. 
Work out what you will need and get it all delivered in one go to save on delivery costs. 

If you are going to lay your own patio or supply the slabs and materials to save money. 
The builders merchants listed on my patios page deliver to your home, the quality is good and prices are competitive and they will also help you work out the quantity you will need. Also on the page is a simple guide to laying slabs.
Patios, paths and steps introduce interest into the garden, creating divisions, levels, seating areas and walkways. "The Patio Specialist" is a great book for anyone building one themselves.
The book starts with the basics planning, preparation, tools, materials and foundations. Then, explores the many different types of patio from natural to brick patios, Indian sandstone and concrete. Paths and steps are covered in a clear way with box features, lists and questions and answers.
Beginners and experienced DIY enthusiasts will find this book invaluable time and again and makes a useful present.

Using secondhand and recycled hard landscaping materials can save money.

You should be able to pick up paving slabs secondhand. Anyone renovating  their garden will be pleased to have them taken up and cleared away, saving them money too, you may break one or two taking them up, but still save money, especially if you are not to fussy about colour. 
Recycled house bricks and walling stone can be cheap to buy, but recycled flagstones can work out expensive.

Even if you are having the work done for you and have a neighbour who want's the old slabs and will remove them, make it clear to the landscape gardener you are asking to quote, that the area will be cleared, saving the clearance part of the price.

Don't waste money buying expensive plants for your borders and raised beds after you have saved money with the hard landscaping. Many good plants can be purchased cheaply if you avoid large garden centers.

Large garden centers are the most expensive way to buy plants, DIY chain stores like B&Q and Homebase can be cheaper than nurseries or garden centers. Roadside stalls selling homegrown plants are normally good value and if local, you can be pretty sure the plants will suit your type of soil, 
the same goes for car boot sellers. 

Friends and neighbours are the cheapest option and might be pleased to let you have surplus Seedlings and cuttings. Perennials are always good value as are bulbs like Daffodils and other varieties of narcissi, snowdrops and crocuses that come up and multiply every year.

Healthy plants
It is important to make sure that wherever you buy your plants, they are healthy and will grow in your type of garden soil, or any savings are a false economy, the plants will die or introduce disease. It is expensive and impossible in the long-term to try changing your soil type. Grow what will grow, It is cheaper and easier.

Planting plan.
Planting plans for most gardens, sunny areas, shade, slopes, damp and soil types can be found free on the net. To get the most out of your garden and plants, it is a good idea to follow one.

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