As you might expect, the amount you invest in your new garden will depend on the scope of works, the materials you choose and the quality of the workmanship.  A small, flat garden with a simple design is likely to need an investment of anything upwards of £7,000 once the clearance work, materials, labour and plants are included; this doesn't include the design fees - which are a fraction of the cost of building the garden.


Some factors to consider when thinking about your budget for the garden might include:


  • Do you need to have the garden works completed all at once?  It’s not always necessary to have the whole garden transformed at once – you can break the work down into stages, potentially over years, if required. Just make sure you have a masterplan at the outset so you can maximise economies of scale and do not have to redo works at a later date.

  • If you have an uneven garden, could you have slopes rather than terraces and steps? Slopes are less labour intensive to build and therefore cost less.

  • Could you base the design on straight lines instead of curves?  Straight edges require less cutting, less waste and therefore cost less than curves.

  • Building hard landscaping (paths and patios) is much more expensive than soft landscaping (planting beds).  Aim to create a balance between hard and soft surfaces.

  • Raised beds and/or retaining walls increase costs significantly.

  • Consider using gravel for some areas – its much cheaper per m² than materials such as paving or decking and when laid with the correct base (and only when laid with the correct base), can still provide a firm-under-foot, slip-resistant path or patio area.

  • Don’t buy cheap and end up buying twice.  For example, soft wood sleepers or decks will rot relatively quickly, even with careful maintenance.  If you want to use wood, go for oak over softwood – it costs more but it lasts.

  • Re-using existing materials can save money and is usually the most sustainable choice.  However, sometimes reusing materials actually costs more than bring new materials in – discuss this with your designer or landscaper to see what works best for your situation.

Never base your budget on TV garden makeover shows.  The prices quoted on those shows rarely include labour and very often the material costs are heavily subsidised by suppliers who hope to generate business from the viewers.  Think of your garden makeover as an investment, much like a new kitchen or an extension. Start by setting a budget and then find out what that budget will buy.  Garden designers know how to get the best value for your investment.  If you are new to garden improvements, you can give me a call to have an informal chat and help get a sense of what your budget will buy. 

Janice Horslen Garden Design


Surbiton, UK

©2020 by Janice Horslen Garden Design