Expert Advice: Planning your new build’s outdoor area, with Ascher Smith

  • 4 minutes
  • 16 October 2019

A beautiful backyard is one of the easiest things to forget in the early stages of a build but one of the hardest things to ignore once it becomes your home! Recently, we were lucky enough to chat with Ascher Smith, Perth’s leading exterior landscape designer & stylist, about how and when  to plan the outdoor area of your new build; here were her insider tips!

Q. How early should you start planning your outdoor area?

It’s never too early to start planning your outdoor area, once you know the layout of the house on the block!

Q. When you’re planning your new build, when would you look at the outdoor area?

I recommend to anyone planning a new build, the site analysis for the outdoor area is the most important step in your design. You need to consider the way the garden’s exposed to the sun, for example. Make the most of the sun when you need it, or you may need to screen it at other times.

Look at the landscapes in neighbouring yards, as you may want to either screen the landscape or, perhaps, ‘borrow’ a landscape so it becomes part of your garden. Existing vegetation in your garden may be retained, or you may want to remove it, if it’s past its best.

The way your outdoor area will connect and flow with the home is so important, as are the views from every window inside.

Q. When should you start speaking to trades?

Once you have a plan on paper, you can start estimating materials or getting provisional quotes from trades or suppliers, i.e. paving companies, plant nurseries, landscaping yards, etc.

This is also a good time to research products and materials for the design in mind. 

Q. When do you decide the budget for your outdoor area?

The budget for the outdoor area should work out to be around 10% of the overall cost of the build. This budget should be put aside and not touched, even if the build goes over budget.

The landscaping budget needs to allow for many important and necessary items such as site works, retaining, reticulation, paving, organics, plants, turf, painting, pergolas, pools, fencing, garden lighting…just to name a few!

Three Birds Renovations - Outdoor Living Zone - Front Yard Fire Pit

Q. When should you start work on your outdoor area?

Sometimes provisions can be put in place early, prior to the builders finishing – though this is done so reticulation and wiring can be placed before concrete driveways and pathways are laid.

Other items such as retaining or fencing, or even pools, can be done whilst the builder is finishing internals, so trades are not working over each other.

Best to check with your builder when they will allow other trades to come to site.

Q. How long should I allow for my outdoor area?

Most smaller gardens may take 2 to 3 weeks to complete. However, some larger gardens or gardens that may have a lot of ‘hard-scaping’ such as paving, retaining, decking, pergolas, etc. may take up to 8 weeks or more to complete!

Which is why it’s good to have a plan in mind prior to the home being completed; so you don’t have to live with a giant dust-bowl and sandpit around your new house!

Who is Ascher Smith?

Ascher Smith is Perth’s leading exterior landscape designer & stylist, specialising in renovations & new builds, with a passion for helping people uncover their outdoor style.

Known for her unique design consultations and beautiful, contemporary outdoor spaces that genuinely reflect the style and lifestyle of her clients, we were lucky enough to chat with her about how and when to plan the outdoor area of your new build project.

If you’d like to see more of Ascher Smith’s work or arrange a consultation, you can explore her stunning website here.