DIY Landscaping from Scratch: A Newbie’s Guide

If you’ve just bought your first home with an outdoor space- congratulations! Creating your own outdoor living area can be an incredibly fulfilling and enjoyable process. However, if you’ve never owned a garden before, the prospect of landscaping from scratch can be daunting. In fact, many new homeowners end up neglecting landscaping projects as they become overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done and are unsure where to start. In a bid to help landscaping newbies, this week we thought we’d put together a guide on how to begin planning a garden landscape.

A beginner's guide to garden landscaping

Think about what you want to do in your yard

Before you do anything else, take the time to think about what exactly it is you want to use your outdoor area for- entertaining? A play area for kids? A kitchen garden? A relaxation space? A little bit of everything? Once you know what you want to use your outdoor space, it will be easier to make landscaping decisions.

Get to know your garden

Next, take the time to understand the strengths and challenges of your outdoor space. Take into consideration existing plants, trees, landscaping elements and structures as well as how much sun each area of the garden gets and the soil composition. Thinking about these things before you begin planning means that you’ll be working with, rather against the existing landscape.

Do some research

Open your mind to the possibilities of your outdoor space by reading up on the basic principles of landscaping design. Once you know the basics, it will be easier to talk to the professionals about what you want and understand what is possible for your outdoor space (keep in mind though that some of the most creative and exciting landscapes often break from convention). If you want to go one step further, consider looking around for landscape design classes at adult education centres. These inexpensive courses are a great way to receive professional design advice, whilst still staying true to your own creative vision and learning as you go.

inspiration board

Create inspiration boards

Now you are beginning to get an idea about what you want and what is possible for your yard, it’s time to gather up some inspiration. Image sharing platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are great places to start exploring different garden aesthetics. Doing a little neighbourhood snooping can also pay off, as it will give you an idea about what grows well in the area as well as how other people have managed the various challenges of your local climate and landscape.

 Draw up a game plan

Next, get some drafting paper and draw up the existing boundaries of your property, your house with its windows and entrances, and any existing landscaping elements. Then begin filling in what you want your garden to ultimately look like. This will give you a better idea of the challenges of the space you have to work with.

Talk to the experts

Once you have a strong idea about the type of garden you want, it’s time to get in touch with the experts. Hardscaping is usually the first thing to go in, as it helps define planting areas and give structure to the space. As concrete contractors who specialise in hardscaping, the A Better Driveway team would be more than happy to consult with you to discuss what is possible and what will best suit your outdoor space. For planting advice, try paying a visit to your local nursery to discuss what types of plants grow best in your area as what varieties are suited to the levels of sun your yard receives. Consulting individual experts in this way can be more cost effective than engaging the services of a landscaper provided you have a clear idea of what you want. However, if you are not entirely confident in the vision you have for your garden or want to explore a few different options, working with a professional landscaper can he helpful.

mature plants

Think long-term

Unless you have bottomless pockets, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to complete your landscaping all at once. In some ways, it’s a good thing as it means you can spread out the cost and focus on completing one project at a time. It’s also important to keep in mind that plants take time to mature and you need to plan your planting around what will look good and suit your outdoor space when it is fully grown.


A Better Driveway specialise in decorative concrete landscaping solutions such as exposed aggregate driveways. To learn more about our capabilities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling (03) 9308 6112.