Willagee Landscape Design

Design, Construction and Maintenance: One Homeowner’s Experience

This month we are revisiting some wonderful clients from a recent project, to speak with them about their experiences. It can be hard to imagine what it will be like undertaking a major renovation, but having taken their garden through design, construction and now maintenance with TDL, Hannah and Andrew are able to share their unique insights into the client’s side of the long and rewarding process of designing and building a brand-new landscape. They take us through their journey with their home, and we will share how their garden has progressed since their landscape project began.

When they first purchased their home 17 years ago, Hannah and Andrew wanted a space to grow into.  Kids were on the horizon, and since then they’ve become a family of four. Not long after they first moved into their home, they employed a landscaper to make some improvements to the split-level garden and found that while it looked good for a short time, the changes weren’t significant enough to make a lasting impact on their use of the space.

“We engaged a landscaper, but not a landscape designer. While it suited our budget back then, it wasn’t necessarily the best use of this smaller amount of money as the benefits of the work didn’t last long, and it didn’t help us utilise our garden.”

Just under two years ago, the family realised that they would like to take a more comprehensive approach to the landscape. They reached out to TDL to help them enhance and better utilise their outdoor living area.

“Our experience with TDL was completely different – highly professional from the get-go, inclusive, helpful, never too busy to explain choices or works, and took our needs seriously.”

Having a vision

Hannah and Andrew came to TDL with a stylistic vision for their outdoor living space. They were not using the split-level garden to its full potential and found they utilised the upper level, but rarely ventured into the lower garden. A large portion of their space went unused.

They wanted a landscaped garden they could access with ease, incorporating entertainment zones that would be enticing to kids, teenagers, and adults. With young children, they did not want an adults-only entertainment area.  Areas for kids’ play were vitally important.

Initial Landscape Design Consultation

During their initial on-site landscape design consultation with TDL, we discussed their vision for activating all areas of their garden. After these conversations, we proposed a series of functional changes to the space to enhance the previously underutilised, disconnected landscape. Some of the changes explored include:

  • An elevated, moated concrete pool with decking.
  • A conversation circle and fire pit below the deck.
  • Refresh of the old garden shed.
  • Reserve some turf in the lower garden and border the space with a lush screen of plants.

The family were initially unsure about how a pool might work in their garden, but they decided to go for it following consultation. This turned out to be a decision that sat well with all family members.

“It’s become a focal point for us all and sees us use our garden so much more than we used to.”

Keeping the lawn area was essential, as it was where the children kept their play gym until they grew out of it.  All that was needed to improve the existing garden shed was a fresh coat of paint to blend it into the landscape.

The couple enjoyed the initial landscape design consultation process and the resulting discussions because they felt well supported by the team at TDL and trusted their guidance throughout.

“The design process was fun, informative, and inclusive. The team worked hard to understand what we wanted and delivered it.”

Sketch Plan Stage

During the stage following consultation, TDL developed the proposed landscape features into a series of rendered images, sketch plans, 3D models, and a video fly-through, giving the clients a comprehensive vision of their proposed landscape design. Hannah and Andrew then provided their feedback on the budget and the proposed designs, and worked with TDL’s design team to reach an optimal outcome, balancing their priorities and budget.

Concept Plan Stage

During this stage, TDL consultants worked with the couple to refine the final landscape plan. Throughout this process, the family found they had to make minimal changes and were pleased with those few compromises that were recommended.

“Interestingly, our ‘compromises’ were actually our preference – an aluminium pool fence instead of a glass one, for example. For us, this was a (money) saving, but more importantly, it meant that we weren’t constantly cleaning glass and that our pool towels hang and dry so much better on a ventilated fence!”

TDL presented the final concept plans to Hannah and Andrew for approval. Following approval, TDL provided the homeowners with a fixed-price landscape construction contract that outlined the steps that would follow.

Landscape Construction

Following an internal handover and introduction to the clients, TDL’s in-house landscape construction team got to work and commenced earthworks on the site. Hannah and Andrew noted that for them, the earthworks stage was the most difficult in the whole process. There were challenges with plumbing and foundation work, but they were impressed by the professional attitude of the construction team and their ability to keep disruptions to a minimum.

“TDL did a fantastic job minimising any impact of these challenges on our family. We also dealt with COVID lockdowns during construction, but those too were handled well by TDL.”

With major earthworks out of the way, the landscape team could construct the pool and decking areas and plant the garden without major difficulties. The entire project from design to construction took approximately 10 months, reaching practical completion in the second half of 2021. Hannah and Andrew noted their surprise by how involved and invested they were in the process, and say they found themselves willing to do go the extra mile to complete their garden to their satisfaction. The couple said they found the process easy, guided by the professional and cooperative landscape team who always came to the site happy and ready to help. Despite their involvement throughout, the quality of the results of their efforts came as a surprise.

“What surprised us most was how much the end-product looked like the designs and fly-through, which can often be an optimistic view of a result.

Landscape Maintenance

Hannah and Andrew say that engaging TDL Landscape Maintenance to protect their investment in the garden was one of the most critical decisions they made during the process. With the experience of hindsight, they knew what it took to maintain a garden, and wanted to see their project thrive and reach maturity.  They committed to investing in professional landscape garden maintenance to give themselves more time to enjoy the fruits of their labour, and to ensure that the landscape reached its full potential.

“We are a time-poor family and, to be honest, we all have brown thumbs; so we didn’t want to make this large investment just to have it wither and die in a few years and have us back at square one.”

The family has engaged TDL for regularly scheduled garden maintenance, TDL’s qualified horticulturists are there to catch problems early, and to ensure the garden thrives for the long term. Hannah and Andrew are relieved to know that their garden is in expert hands. Over the course of their service so far, TDL has added reticulation as needed, pruned trees, organised plant replacements when required, and provided professional garden advice.

“TDL has been a pleasure to work with. It’s honestly a relief to know that our garden is in TDL’s care.”

Living in their dream home

Now that the project is complete, Hannah and Andrew finally feel that their garden is an extension of their house. The whole garden is functional and beautiful, from the elevated pool to the cosy conversation pit and the lush planting throughout.

“We utilise it night and day now and have been able to host family and friends more often and much more easily.”

The couple feels that TDL has helped them realise the full potential of the home they purchased 17 years ago and say that they don’t want to move out any time soon.

“It would be difficult to leave this home now, given our fabulous new backyard!”