Sometimes we all feel the need for a little bit of change, and the garden is one such place we may reflect this - whether it’s as small as buying a few new pots for your outdoor plants or planning a full garden redesign.
It could be that you’re planning to have extensive landscaping work done, in which case you may consider hiring professional help. However, you may decide that you want to try your hand at attempting the task yourself, in which case you will need to do a lot of considered planning in order to complete everything safely and achieve effective results.
We’ve put together this guide to help you, from the initial planning stages, to the equipment you’ll need.
Planning your Landscape
The first step of planning a garden redesign is to picture the outcome you have in mind. Whether you’re already working with a blank canvas or have existing features that you plan on removing before starting anew, you will need to plan the final result of how you want your garden to look.
We recommend planning not only with aesthetics in mind, but with practicality. Think about the purpose you want your garden to have - is it somewhere for the kids to play around, somewhere you want to sit out in and relax or somewhere you want to entertain guests? Also think about the areas in your garden you gravitate to the most - these can be the areas where you focus your attention during the design process.
By envisioning the final results first, planning the process itself will be much easier, as you will be able to target things area by area and prioritise tasks based on how much work will need doing and how long they will take.
For example, if you wish to have a pond area in your garden, you will need to decide where you want this feature to be, then see how much work it will take to excavate the land that is already there. Perhaps you’re also wanting to plant some hedgerow, which is something you could do later on in the project timeline, as this will be fairly straightforward to carry out and won’t be as time-consuming as other tasks.
When you have your design in mind, you will need to compare each aspect you have planned out to the ecological characteristics of the spaces in your garden to ensure that what you’re intending will actually work on a realistic level. The reason for this is so that you can determine whether the changes you plan to make will allow your garden features and plants to prosper, or if they will be short-lived before declining in quality and/or practicality.
Examples of things you will need to consider include:
● The position of your garden (e.g. north or south facing) and how much sunlight each area gets a day
● How much protection your garden has/will have from weather conditions (wind, rain etc.)
● What soil type/conditions your garden has and what plants tend to thrive both in these soil conditions and your local area
● The different levels in your garden and whether these will need to be accentuated or flattened to work with or compliment your design vision
Taking all these factors into consideration is important to avoid disappointment in the long-run. It is better to identify where things won’t work and rectify these before you begin, rather than experiencing the results of poor design planning after money, time and effort has already been invested.
One way to help you determine these things is by spending time in your garden in the areas where you will most frequent. If there’s an area where you wish to place a firepit, note if there are strong winds that would likely cause disturbance to this and blow the fire out. If you plan on having decking at the top of the garden, note the lay of the land to see whether drainage will be effective and carries water away from the area rather than towards it, as well as how much rainfall it is likely to see that may impact the materials you use for it.
There is no point planning extensive landscaping work and numerous design features if they will take you over your budget. Doing this will leave you with an unfinished garden when you reach the point that your budget has been exhausted, or leaving you with debts should you finish your project without thought of the financial consequences.
Setting a budget that you can afford and are willing to stretch to allows you to see whether your design vision as a whole is achievable, or if you will have to limit yourself to only incorporating certain features, then devising how you will allocate your spending to achieve as much as possible as affordably as possible (all within reason).
It could be that you will have to prioritise a few features to develop in your garden redesign, then leaving or changing others to a smaller scale, or it may just be a case that you will have to be conscious about the materials and products you buy and where from.
Preparing for your Project
Equipment you’ll Need
Now that you have a plan in place for what work you will carry out, you will need to think about what equipment you will need to assist you in this work.
Some basic equipment you are likely to have already, being essential in any form of gardening work. This could include:
● Trowels and garden forks
● A garden waste bin
● A wheelbarrow
● Gardening gloves
● A mower and strimmer
● A drill (if working with decking)
● A tape measure
There are some more specialist or large pieces of equipment that you may also need, depending on the extent of the work you will be undertaking, and are less likely to own. This could include:
● A rotavator
● A garden chipper
● A hedge trimmer
● A garden roller
● A skip
Though potentially helpful for your project, such equipment will be expensive to buy outright and may no longer be required after you’ve finished your landscaping project. Thankfully, there are companies that offer landscaping equipment hire, such as Rocket Rentals.
Knowing what equipment you will need throughout the duration of your project rather than acquiring it as and when you need it lets you see what equipment you will already have access to and what equipment you may need to hire, which you can then factor into your budget.
Just as you will need to make a list of equipment you will need, likewise you will need to do the same with all your materials.
From fencing and decking to plants, turf and decorative stones, there is a plethora of materials that you will potentially need for your project - especially if you’re undertaking a particularly demanding full garden redesign. Once you have a comprehensive list of these, it is best to order them ahead of time, so you will have everything you need ready for the project to commence, rather than facing delays due to unforeseen stock issues or prolonged delivery times.
Top Tips During the Project
Keep Spaces Tidy
Before starting your project, ensure that you are working with a blank canvas. Though it may sound obvious, you should not overlook the importance of clearing your space as much as possible before you begin to carry out your landscaping work.
This can look like removing any pots, plants, furniture and decor that you no longer need or want, or simply need out of the way before going through with heftier excavation work. Having as little obstacles in your way as possible will make your garden much easier to navigate and provide space to store materials and waste.
Similarly, throughout the project you should tidy up after yourself ideally as you go, but after each day as a minimum. Keeping things as tidy as possible not only reduces the risk of accidents occurring from any equipment that’s been carelessly left out or items becoming lost, but will mean you can approach each day with a clear and fresh perspective of what needs to be done, boosting overall productivity and efficiency.
A natural consequence of working outside is that you are reliant on the weather. Depending on what time of year you plan to undertake your project and how long it will take you, expect your progress to be affected by the weather conditions.
If carrying out work in the summer, remember to stay hydrated and protected from the sun and take regular breaks to avoid heat exhaustion. It is a good idea to limit your working time to the morning and late afternoon, rather than working out in the midday sun when the day is at its hottest.
In the autumn, though temperatures will be much more manageable to work in, it is inevitable that you will experience wet and windy conditions some days. On such days, you may have to pause or postpone progress on larger tasks, such as laying decking, where consistent, dry weather is ideal. It could be that you could focus on completing some smaller tasks, or that you’ll have to wait out the bad weather before getting back out in the garden again and continuing your work.
As frustrating as this may be, expecting it from the start means you are less likely to become disheartened midway through the project or caught off-guard by any reasonable delays. This is also affected by the amount of help you have in completing your project, if any, or if you’re completing it solely by yourself.
Whether making a few small changes or planning a complete garden makeover, if you require the use of garden equipment that you do not currently own, Rocket Rentals has a range of equipment to suit your needs. We offer various gardening and landscaping equipment, from garden chippers and turf cutters to leaf blowers and petrol driven mower rental.
Get in touch with us today for more information about all the products we have available and to enquire about hiring them.