Outdoor Secrets

5 of our Favourite Ground Covers

Whether it’s that bare space under a feature tree, or between steppers, there’s a ground cover out there for it!

Zoysia tenufolia

A great low maintenance ground cover which grows very slowly. Ideal for both full sun or shade, this grass forms soft, green and undulating mounds that create “puffy” appearance. This groundcover is a fantastic architectural feature, great for bases of feature trees, Japanese themed gardens, in between steppers and in pots.

Photo: Centenary Landscaping

Dichondra Repens

This hardy Australian native produces a beautiful carpet of lily pad leaves. This stunning groundcover grows happily in full sun or dappled shade and is ideal for between steppers, the base of feature trees or a great substitute for mulch.

Photo: @ascher_smith

Dichondra argentea ‘Silver Falls’

This herbaceous and evergreen perennial is a hardy groundcover that continues to spread as it grows. It not only works as a great filler, but it’s also ideal for hanging pots, cascading over walls or pots and between steppers. The name Silver Falls comes from the unique colouring of the leaves, a silvery pale green. It’s an extremely drought tolerant and heat tolerant plant and perfect as an indoor or outdoor plant.

Photo: @acre_studio


Mondo Grass

Mondo Grass is a great low maintenance garden filler or standalone grass like groundcover. The groundcover performs well in both sun and shade but requires adequate moisture to survive. 

Photo: Peter Fudge Gardens


Star Jasmine

This versatile plant has glossy foliage and sweetly scented flowers. Star Jasmine can be trained to grow on a trellis, over a pergola, cascading over a wall, as a border or filler plant, and it’s also suited to pots.   

Picture: Honey Suckle Garden


Lighting the way

Lighting offers so many advantages to garden owners and its use is becoming far more widespread. Illuminating your garden makes a lot of sense in our climate where the use of gardens late into the evening can be a real bonus and, in winter, views into an attractive garden from inside your home bring another dimension to domestic life.

Lighting need not be expensive, especially when you think of the capital cost over the life of the garden scheme. The key to outdoor lighting is good planning on many levels – from what effect you want to achieve to the location of wiring and lights, and your budget.

Uses in the garden

Safety is the first consideration.  Lighting is invaluable in emphasising steps, or the interface of paving and water.  Using lights on a front path gives guest confidence as they stroll along an unfamiliar walkway and creates a warm welcome.  Lighting here may be permanently on, could be switched on when you are expecting guests, or might be controlled by a timer.

Lighting can be enabling. For example, around your barbecue it will make cooking easier, or on a pergola it could encourage you to eat outdoors more often or stay outside for longer.  Fundamentally, lighting gives your garden the ‘wow’ factor.  Select the positions of your lights carefully to maximise the aesthetic benefits you gain from them.

Choices available

Lighting costs vary enormously, depending on all types of elements. The more sophisticated the scheme, the more complex the switching, and the more robust the construction materials, the greater the cost.

Having a landscape designer draw up a lighting plan for you can be of great benefit if you are on a budget as it ensures that if you are having the lights installed in stages, the cabling can all be laid out ahead of time and therefore not disrupting the garden any further down the track.  It will also ensure more bang for your buck as planning is always key in saving money and doing things the right way the first time around.

For more information regarding lighting options feel free to email us at [email protected] and we can discuss putting together a lighting schedule/plan to give your garden that ‘wow’ factor.

When fake is fabulous

It has been almost 50 years since the first species of astro turf was invented. Astro turf, which is also known as fake grass or synthetic turf, is continually evolving in the manufacturing technique, look, feel, quality and popularity over this time.

Initially, astro turf was designed as an alternative playing surface for sports such as baseball, soccer and gridiron. Nowadays, fake grass is used in a myriad of applications both commercially and residentially, from rooftops, alfresco dining areas and photography studios to landscaping, cat runs and balconies to name a few.

Continual advancement in modern technology is resulting in the most realistic looking fake grass yet. Previously, the words ‘astro turf’ conjured images of a scratchy, coarse, short pile grass. Not only is the evolving technology attributing to synthetic turf’s popularity in the community, environmental changes and a wide spread increase in the length of an average workday, it is also having a direct impact on how we best use our spare time.

A synthetic solution for difficult areas

Synthetic turf is a fantastic solution for difficult areas, such as shaded or drainage challenged spots. No matter how hard you try, it’s just impossible to grow natural grass in these areas. Adding to the frustration is an endless supply of dirt and dust in summer or mud and sludge in winter, inevitably making its way into your home. Astro turf is not only an affordable alternative to cover dirt and hard to grow areas. Gone is the cold, grey look of concrete and there is no more getting down on hands and knees to scrub tiles and grout. Put the broom away and eliminate dusty sweeping sessions forever.

Not only does fake grass offer pleasing aesthetic views as well as more ways to use ‘dead’ space, it also gives you peace of mind in knowing you are helping the environment. There is increasing pressure nowadays to be conscious of what impact our actions have on our environment. Installing artificial grass reduces water consumption; let’s face it, with water restrictions in force more and more we must be proactive in finding ways to conserve our precious H2O.

Forget about fertilisers

No more fertilisers or harmful pesticides that pollute our groundwater are required. It’s easy to dismiss this by thinking that one person not using them isn’t going to make a difference. However, it’s not just one person; it’s thousands of people every day.

In today’s modern, fast paced and ever increasing environmentally conscious world it is indeed reassuring to know there’s never been a better time to fake it.

10 Reasons Why Landscape Design Matters

Some people might not be able to realise the value of landscaping. That may be the reason they just leave their yards as is and merely clean it.

Adding some decorations or going beyond cleaning is a double effort for them and could even be unnecessary on their part. But there are also people who pay much attention to their yards and really allocate time in designing and decorating them.

Investing for landscaping accessories is a luxury for some but for others, it is part of their hobby and in giving back to nature the care it deserves.

Aside from those mentioned, what other good reasons is there that would urge us to do landscaping? Is it really necessary or just something merely inclined to aesthetics? Does landscaping really matters?

Let us look into ten things that would make us realise the value of landscaping.

1. Preserve nature.

No one would like to live in a place that doesn’t have trees or plants anywhere. Even big urban areas still preserve trees and plants. They do that by landscaping. This way, they are able to preserve nature even if modern architecture were already added to the structures.

There would be hardscapes- concrete flooring, stone pathways and wood decks but you will always see plants around. That is why good landscaping is needed to create the balance.


2. Conserve natural resources.

Aside from preserving nature, it can help conserve natural resources not just the soil but even air and water. This happens when you have proper landscaping because the plants and trees are well-taken care of.

Healthy plants will greatly affect the entire environment and can even help conserve natural resources especially that these are part of the ecological balance in the Earth’s system.

3. Secure inhabitants.

How can landscaping do this? For instance you are living on a steep area. It would be wise to use retaining walls to avoid the soil from eroding and from rocks from falling down. This way, your entire home will be secured. You have to do this especially if there are kids around. You don’t want accidents to happen because of your environment.

Remember that as an inhabitant, you have to make sure that you are living in a safe and secure place.

4. Create a setting for living.

Of course, you want to live in a place that looks and feels “liveable”.

It has to be cozy, comfy and has a good ambiance. Designing your landscape will help you achieve that. Try to picture a yard that has tall grasses and weeds around it. Then compare that scenario to a landscaped yard. Which one would cater a better living environment?

5. Makes a more comfortable environment.

We have mentioned in the previous entry that a landscaped area could create a cozy and comfy ambiance. It would make you feel more at home and will also make you wanna go home!

If you have a courtyard that has that “vacation” feel, you would really have that urge to go home so you can relax and feel comfortable in your very home.

6. Sets lot limitation.

Every property has certain limitations. If you decide not to use the entire lot, then it is important that you define your own property. This will make it easy for others to determine which is part of your home and which is not. This will avoid trouble when we talk about territories.

Aside from that, it can also create areas in your own home like a patio, a courtyard and also the pathways that leads to them.

7. Achieves outdoor function.

If you think your outdoor area is useless, you are wrong. Try to design that space. Allocate sitting areas. You can have an outdoor dining area or living area. You can even add an outdoor kitchen.

You could also have a small bench where you can spend time while enjoying the beauty of nature.

8. Preserve the natural feel.

One main reason of landscaping is to preserve a natural feel. Once you step into a landscaped area, you should feel that you are one with nature. We all know how great it feels to have nature around us!

That is why we opt to try to adopt nature’s look even for the interior of our homes due to the desire to bond with nature.

9. Creates coherence with nature and man-made elements.

We are residents of Earth and we have to take good care of it. Since we are like “renting” the place, we have to make sure that the structures we create above it will not ruin it. Instead, let us adjust and adapt to it. This is true when we talk about landscaping. Aside from that, landscaping involves the design of both nature and man-made elements.

Hence, landscaping unites both making your home a better place to live in.

10. Visual appeal and aesthetics.

You will surely nod on this because this is the obvious reason why we landscape our yards.

Seeing a garden or yard with proper and beautiful landscaping is not just refreshing for the eyes and would certainly give us a great feeling of being one with nature in our own home.

One reason why some homeowners are hesitant to work on their home’s landscaping is due to the expenses it entails. But you don’t really have to spend a lot! You can landscape your home even if you are on a budget. It is possible to have a well designed landscape that fits your needs, your budget and your space.

Brett’s Backyard Rescue

What do you get when 12 close friends, over 170 contractors and suppliers, a leading Brisbane landscaping design and construction team and Channel Nine come together? The Johnson family’s dream backyard! After having their lives turned upside down, award-winning landscape company, Outdoor Secrets led a generous, highly skilled and passionate team in the visionary transformation of the Johnson family’s idyllic backyard in Brisbane.


Buying the typical suburban family home last year, the Johnson’s took the next big step in life. However, unfortunately for the Johnson’s, life is far from typical.  33 year old Brett Johnson is a loving husband to Casey and doting father to one year old Jack and for over four years now, Brett has been fighting Ewings Sarcoma. An aggressive cancer, the disease has a very low survival rate and although the once hard-working ex-boilermaker and now family man has beaten the disease twice, his third diagnosis is devastating. Doctors have given Brett just 18 months to live, a judgement no one ever wants to hear.

Understandably, every moment the family has together is precious and they are committed to staying positive and maintaining a healthy lifestyle; with both Brett and Casey dedicated to undertaking the Gerson Therapy.  Each day, the Johnson’s wake up grateful for what they do have and also determined to achieve as much as possible. One dream they had always planned to achieve was the transformation of their large overgrown backyard. This was the perfect opportunity friends and family knew they could help do something about!

Operation Maxted

Led by best friend Tina, 6 couples, all close friends of the Johnson’s united to form ‘Operation Maxted’. Together the team came up with the brilliant idea to make this project bigger and better than the Johnson’s ever imagined! After Channel Nine’s ‘A Current Affair’ put their hand up to organise and showcase the backyard makeover, the next crucial step was to secure a landscape design and construction company; and while any help would be greatly appreciated, it was vital that the right landscaping team were on board. This job would be massive and require superior project management skills and importantly the complete understanding of the importance of the makeover and how it would change the Johnson’s lives.

After receiving interest from several Landscaping professionals, ‘A Current Affair’ felt a great affinity with Outdoor Secrets and selected them to create the Johnson’s dream backyard. Renowned for creating outdoor havens that epitomise style, functionality and purpose, Outdoor Secrets are passionate about transforming spaces into places where families thrive together. At the helm of the award-winning landscaping team are husband and wife team, Nathan and Laurene Bisshop, who passionately infuse their slogan ‘Discover Design and Live’ into every project they deliver.  “Laurene and I were both touched by this situation as we have encountered clients and friends where cancer has completely changed their world. We believe that mental and physical health are key elements in living a wholesome life; that’s why we design and build gardens that change people’s lives and get us back to the basics of fun times with our friends, families and neighbours”, Nathan expressed.

The Brief

Sitting down with his highly skilled and experienced team, Nathan used ‘wish list’ sketches Brett had actually drawn himself as a starting point to design the ultimate Johnson family backyard. The Outdoor Secrets team specialise in incorporating multi-purpose functionality into a space so elements such as an outdoor gym, shower & bath, entertaining zones, pool & children’s play areas were all incorporated, designed to co-exist in harmony. Also taking insights from Operation Maxted, every element Brett and Casey could ever wish for were put down on paper to create an idyllic family backyard.

The Plan

Prior to Brett’s diagnosis, both he and Casey led healthy and active lifestyles – so much so that Casey studied Nutrition and is a Qualified Personal Trainer. The family are in their element anywhere outdoors so creating a backyard space that would allow them to enjoy it all year round was vital.

Before starting the project a working bee was scheduled to clean the entire backyard. As there was only one opportunity for Outdoor Secrets to conduct a brief 30 minute on-site inspection, attention to detail was a must! Typically Nathan would spend two hours measuring a site and documenting it with photos. Together Operation Maxted, Brett’s vision and the expertise and dedication of the Outdoor Secrets team prevailed and drawing by drawing the Johnson’s backyard came to life.

With an enthusiastic team of trades and suppliers generously donating their time and materials, the Johnson’s backyard plan was ready to be set into action. In just 3 weeks, and 180 hours spent planning, organising and scheduling all trades were organised and supplies were ordered. “Our team were absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone involved… there was over $400,000 worth of labour and supplies donated.  This incredible gift of kindness truly showcased what an amazing community surrounds and supports the Johnson family,” Nathan commented.


With just 7 days to complete the transformation, 120 tradespeople, 50 suppliers and heightened emotion invested, it was an uplifting environment to be a part of. Onsite, project managing the job, Nathan was overwhelmed, saying “I knew how passionate everyone was when pitching the project to them, but to actually see the comradery in action is truly inspiring; there are definitely no egos here at all.”

Just when everyone thought they had seen the greatest feature in the backyard, another team of trades would come in and continue to raise the benchmark. From the exquisite outdoor ceramic bath and shower and fully equipped CrossFit gym to the private sunken fire pit and the stunning inground pool; every single element of the design seamlessly came together to bring to life the Johnson’s dream backyard.

While there were minor setbacks such as burst pool pipes keeping Nathan and the plumbers’ onsite until 11pm one night, Nathan’s wife and Outdoor Secrets Co-Owner, Laurene was behind the scenes ensuring the transformation ran as smoothly as possible. Renowned for her phenomenal project management skills, Laurene worked day and night throughout the entire three weeks leading up to the project – organising, planning and scheduling trades, supplies and media. These vital project management skills are often what many clients are lacking when they come to Outdoor Secrets following a failed DIY attempt; they truly do make the difference between completing a project on time, on budget and to a high standard – or not.

The Reveal

After 100 hours of labour and installing thousands of dollars worth of supplies, the moment everyone was waiting for had arrived; it was time to welcome the Johnson family home. After spending a week away with the belief that Brett and Casey’s friends were tidying up the yard and repairing the pool lining while they were gone, the Johnson’s were truly in for the surprise of their lifetime!

Unaware of what to expect, Brett and Casey walked into the backyard, lifted their blindfolds and were immediately overwhelmed by the unbelievable transformation in front of their eyes! With over 100 people standing behind them, supporting them, they gushed with emotion. Unable to hold back her tears, Casey looked around in amazement with awe at what had been achieved in just one week! Trying hard to stay calm, Brett was shocked and appreciative to see so many people showing their love and generosity, all for his family.

The Outcome

A couple of weeks following the reveal, the Johnson’s absolutely love their new backyard, using the new pool and outdoor shower & bath nearly every day since reveal! There are several amazing places for Brett to enjoy the sunrise or sit back and watch Jack scoot around on his trike and Casey loves the convenience of having an amazing gym at home she can use for both personal and business use.  Already, Brett and Casey have planned many get-togethers with family and friends in the coming months!

The outcome of the Johnson family’s backyard is breathtaking and it really has to be seen to be believed. Nathan and his team at Outdoor Secrets are consummate professionals and although it may be tempting to try your own backyard makeover, it takes three key elements seamlessly aligning for a project to come in on time, on budget and to a high standard; highly skilled trades, high quality products and most importantly, superior project management. Outdoor Secrets are at the forefront of landscape design and construction, creating design mastery that is functional, inspirational and that ultimately, changes lives. Discover how Outdoor Secrets can enrich your family’s legacy today!

Landscaping in a Nut Shell

Over the years we have come to the realisation that there is still a lot of confusion out there when it comes to what is a Landscaper and what do they actually do? We have tried to sum this up briefly below in the hope of bringing some clarity to this topic.

What is Landscaping?

People have practiced landscaping for centuries. As far back as the ancient Mayans, humans were manipulating the land for both aesthetic and practical reasons. The addition of plants, changes to the existing terrain and the construction of structures are all part of landscaping. Today landscaping refers to the planning, laying out and construction of gardens that enhance the appearance and create useable space for outdoor activities around a home.

When it comes to landscaping, the options abound. Some people want a perfectly balanced combination of hardscape (concrete, outdoor structures/features) and softscapes (plants, turf, irrigation). Some people want a sustainable landscape design that saves water and creates a natural habitat. While other people want to recreate a certain garden style they find appealing, such as modern or tropical. Still, others want a space complete with an outdoor kitchen, fire pit and swimming pool where they can entertain friends and family.

Our Landscaping Process

Landscaping is a task that combines science and art. Armed with horticultural knowledge, as well as familiarity with the elements and principles of landscape design, Outdoor Secrets can help you transform your property. Our Landscape Architects will guide you through the landscaping process, which consists of a design and construction phase.

The biggest mistake DIYers make is rushing into the construction phase without a plan. Landscape plans turn ideas into visuals and ensure that scale and layout have been thought through prior to construction. At Outdoor Secrets, we will create a plan for your yard that suits your needs and provides solutions to common landscaping problems, such as slopes, wind, sun or lack of space.

If you want to know more about how landscaping can add value to your property contact us today on (07) 3899 1248.

Choosing a Landscaper

Constructed properly, the landscape of your home will look and function beautifully from the moment of its installation and will continue to flourish for many decades to come.  Designing and implementing a beautiful and highly functional landscape, however, is no small feat. A successful end product is more likely if you use a professional landscape company that has extensive knowledge of plants, design, system technologies and construction.  Here are some tips for choosing the best landscaping company for your home or business.

1. Full-service company

A company that can manage a landscaping scheme from start to finish not only helps ensure that the project is delivered as originally envisioned but on time and on budget as well. Landscape companies with limited experience in all aspects of landscaping won’t have the same control over quality, costs and schedules that full-service landscape architecture companies have.  Even if the proposed project is small in scale, hiring a company that is equipped to manage everything from concept to completion is a sound idea.

2. An established reputation

It takes both time and experience to build a solid reputation. Landscape companies that can point to a broad array of past accomplishments are more likely to deliver the best product. The best landscape companies will not hesitate to provide references and will take pride in pointing out the diversity of their successfully completed projects.

3. A team approach

Landscaping companies that can boast a team of certified professionals are likely to take a rounded approach to a landscaping project. Companies that can draw from the expertise of a team of individuals make it more likely that only the best ideas, technologies and materials (for the project) will be employed. No matter how many people are involved in the project, however, it is important that the company provides the client with a single point of contact, a project head that the client can go to with any questions or concerns.

4. Industry affiliations and memberships

Affiliation with national trade organisations demonstrates that the company is keeping abreast of innovations and advancements in the industry. Organisations like the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects and the Landscape Queensland Industries Association Inc. indicate expertise in landscaping. Landscaping companies that are skilled in structural landscaping may be affiliated with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission and the Master Builders Association.

5. Sound practices and policies

The right landscaping company will have established safety practices that ensure the company complies with industry standards and government regulations. Companies that also have water conservation, waste and recycling programs in place demonstrate a commitment to the client and the community over the long term.

6. Make sure they have insurance

A very important point, as public liability insurance means you are covered by the landscaper if any of their work is found to cause damage to persons or property. A fact of life means things can and sometimes do go wrong and by having insurance in place, the landscaper has their bases covered. It’s a great peace of mind, should the contractor encounter a problem on yours or someone else’s site, their insurance should look after any financial losses meaning there is less chance of the business going under and you being left with an unfinished project.

7. Get at least three different quotes.

This will help you to compare and choose the one that suits you best. Look around for a landscaper. Check out online directories and also ask around for recommendations.

8. Shared vision

The landscaper that you choose should share your sense of style, and your vision for your landscape. There are greatly different looks that can be achieved in landscaping, as in building design. It’s important that the overall look and feel that you want will be acknowledged and worked towards by your landscape company. Viewing examples of their previous work is a great way to assess if they will be a good fit with your aim. It’s no good hiring a company who specialises in cottage gardens if you like a slick, sculptural feel, for example.

For your initial consultation with your landscaper, these things are important to note:

  • Can you communicate well with them?
  • Do they ask you what you want, and ask further questions?
  • Are they interested in your opinion?
  • Are they enthusiastic about your project?
  • Are they rushing you or pressuring you into something you don’t want?
  • Do you feel comfortable in discussing budgets and timelines with them?

After this initial meeting, plans will then be presented to you. Review and evaluate your different quotes, with the following points in mind:

  • Did the landscaper listen to your needs?
  • Is it in line with your budget?
  • Does it fulfil your requirements?
  • Are all points being considered, such as drainage of excess water, as well as the aesthetic considerations?
  • Do you feel that it is achievable with the budget and timeframe you have specified?
  • Are there changes that need to be made?

Evaluating these points realistically will give you a good idea of what it will be like working with the company once you accept their quote and design. Professionals are comfortable in meeting the client’s needs and will be happy to make changes to the initial plan if required. Review the plants specified to see that they are the right choice for now and also in the longer term. Look the plants up online or ask your landscaper if you are not familiar with the specified plant.  A good landscaping company will have the knowledge to not only do the hard landscaping work but also choose the right plants to fit your needs.

Hopefully, these tips have helped you decide on how to best sort through the many landscapers and design companies out there. Like anything, do your homework, get no less than three quotes, evaluate with a cool head, and you should be one happy customer.

Have You Put Your Garden In the ‘Too Hard’ Basket?

Do you look out the window into your backyard and cringe? You have so many ideas and dreams for the space but it all just seems too hard?

Those were the exact frustrations of Brisbane homeowners Jen and Mark. The couple living in the inner city suburb of Red Hill loved their home but the same couldn’t be said for their backyard. Positioned on a steeply sloping block they struggled to find a landscaping team skilled and willing to tackle the job. That was until they contacted the award-winning team from Outdoor Secrets!

Highly experienced in transforming the ugliest ducklings into inspiring multi-functional outdoor havens, Outdoor Secrets’ Director Nathan Bisshop paid the couple a visit. Stepping down into the backyard was like venturing into an abandoned overgrown lot where the weeds were the only ‘features’ and heavy rain events created a ’garden bed’ of soil and debris at the bottom of the hill. To top it all off, access was a major issue meaning hard manual labour would have to take the place of convenient modern landscape machinery!

After presenting some unique solutions to the couple, they jumped at the opportunity to entrust Nathan and his team to bring their dream garden to life! The ideas were pretty straight-forward, Jen and Mark wanted a lush tropical inspired space to entertain and relax, a fire pit, somewhere to grow their own fresh fruit and veg and they needed some privacy too.

Collaborating with his innovative design team, Nathan presented a plan to Jen and Mark that not only gave them everything they needed within budget, but it masterfully provided solutions to all of the challenges that were simply put in the ‘too hard’ basket by other landscaping teams the couple had spoken to.

Completed on time and on budget, Jen and Mark were left speechless the minute they set their eyes on their breathtaking backyard retreat. Here’s what they came home to!

  • A tiered tropical haven set over six levels – this gave the couple unique outdoor rooms that all had a distinct purpose
  • Evergreen planting offering year-round colour & privacy and purposeful planting to endure shade tolerance, add privacy, prevent weeds and help control the Bush Turkeys.
  • Positioned under the upstairs deck is the top level – this space was transformed from rubble into a private outdoor dining room complete with an inviting table setting. It also houses a storage area which has been tucked away using recycled corrugated steel and timber screening. Spectacular living walls have been created using lush tropical planting and the rainforest feel continues down to level two where a charming pond infuses vibrant life into the space, housing fish and providing a soothing trickling water soundtrack all day long.
  • Levels three and five are sprawling canvases of native Wintergreen turf – perfectly level areas to play or simply relax and bask in the summer sun!
  • Undoubtedly, the showstopper for Jen & Mark is their custom built fire pit. Located on the fifth level, a handcrafted horseshoe-shaped gabion bench seat wraps around the pit and features timber slates for comfort. Encased with galvanised steel and illuminated with vivid LED strip lighting, oversized river pebbles fill the caging, eluding to the natural beauty found in local Brisbane waterways. Adding theatre to the space, steel meshing intertwined with intricate vines provide an impressive backdrop and thriving privacy.
  • The bottom level of the garden is reminiscent of a magical secret hideaway. Natural stone steppers create a charming winding informal path and the space beautifully comes together to frame the multi-tiered garden.

 The Outdoor Secrets team surpassed Jen and Mark’s expectations both visually and functionally. While that was the priority, Nathan was particularly impressed with his team’s ability to exceed the extremely high standards they’re renowned for considering the numerous challenges the project presented.

Regardless of the terrain, location or challenges,  Outdoor Secrets specialise in masterfully creating unique outdoor solutions that look beautiful, use the space intelligently and compliment the natural landscape. It might seem like you have an impossible canvas to work with but a solution does exist! Contact Outdoor Secrets today to reveal yours!

Budgeting for a Landscaping Project

Creating a budget is an importing part of planning your landscaping project. Everyone has a budget so it’s important to figure out what is important. Focus on the functions or areas you’re going to use the most or which are driving you crazy and need to fix immediately.

Try these tips when developing a landscaping budget!

1. Take an Inventory

The first step of any landscaping project is to make a list of what you already have. You might be surprised at how many gems are hiding around your yard—plants that have gotten lost in the overgrowth and need only to be relocated, pruned, thinned, weeded, grouped or divided to regain their former glory. You can also repurpose hardscape materials such as bricks for a walkway or a rusty railing for a garden trellis.

2. Hire a Professional

One of the best ways to avoid costly mistakes is to hire a professional to design a master plan, which not only helps you visualise the possibilities and but also maps out the steps to achieve them—and get it right the first time.

A master plan also helps you understand where the money goes, which isn’t always where you can see it. For example, many suburbs require drainage systems to catch storm water run-off if you install a certain amount of impervious paving. It can come as a surprise to have money spent on something you don’t see because it’s underground but if you ignore things like drainage issues, it can wind up costing you a lot more to fix after the fact.

3. Don’t Be Coy About Costs

Know what you want to spend and talk budget up front with your landscape professional. Understand what things cost by getting at least three estimates and If you’re unsure what to budget a suggestion would be to start with 5 percent to 10 percent of your properties worth. The good news: a good landscape design can add as much as 20 percent to the value of your home compared to other houses on your street.

4. Splurge on the “Maximum Value” Features

Consider which features will get the most use or provide the most enjoyment to you. For example, it might be an outdoor kitchen or living room patio that serves as an extension of your indoor living space for a good portion of the year. Or it could be a beautiful backyard vista to be enjoyed primarily from inside your house.

5. Consider the Return on Investment

When prioritising your needs and wants, ask yourself these questions; How long do you plan to live in the home? What will be the long-term maintenance costs? Does it make financial sense to do everything at once or in phases over several years?