1 March 2024

Garden Transformation Guide

Create Your Dream Outdoor Haven: The Ultimate Garden Transformation Guide

As brighter days, warmer temperatures, and the tempting aroma of barbequed burgers beckon, now is the perfect time to embark on transforming your garden into a captivating outdoor retreat. Whether you’re planning to create a stunning space for al fresco dinners, late-night summer drinks, or for exploring new green-fingered hobbies, our comprehensive guide will ensure you’re well-prepared for your upcoming project.

Define Your Requirements

Whether you have a sprawling garden or a compact patio, transforming your outdoor space into a haven demands meticulous planning. Begin by defining the primary purpose of your outdoor space. Do you envision a cosy retreat for relaxation, a vibrant entertainment area for guests, or a family-friendly play zone? Clarifying your purpose will shape the design and functionality of the space.

Audit Your Garden

Capture multiple photos of your garden from various angles and measure the available space. Note down any changes in terrain levels, drainage considerations, soil types, sunlight direction, as well as access to water and electrical power throughout your garden. These will help your Landscape Designer understand the canvas they have to work with and any constraints there may be.

Set a Realistic Budget

Before delving into the exciting world of outdoor design, establish a realistic budget. Factors such as the size of your outdoor space, desired materials, and potential professional services should be considered. A clear budget will guide your decisions and ensure your dream outdoor space aligns with your nominated spend. As with any home project, factors such as location, garden size, complexity of requirements, and professional involvement will influence the final cost. Consider the following categories when setting your budget:

  • Labour – Landscape Designer, Landscaper, Plumber, Electrician
  • Hard landscaping – Paving, steps, walling, fencing, rockeries, ponds
  • Soft landscaping – Plants, trees, gras, turf, flowers
  • Garden structures – Sheds, pergolas, greenhouses, garden room
  • Furniture and furnishings – Outdoor dining table and chairs, outdoor sofas, cushions

Get Inspired

After determining your requirements and budget, it’s time for the fun part: searching for inspiration. A great place to start your search is online with platforms like Pinterest or Instagram as well as our website. Use our interactive Product Visualiser, scroll through previous Case Studies and roam around our Fivemiletown show garden from the comfort of your own home with our 360° Virtual Tour.

This initial search will help you to decide on the general creative direction of your space, do you prefer a more contemporary look featuring clean lines, smooth textures and uniform greys or do you want to embrace a softer palette with a rustic feel?

Once complete we would suggest seeing any potential big ticket items in person at your local specialist. If you are based in Northern Ireland you can visit one of AG Outside Rooms locations, where you can browse our showroom and accompanying show garden for inspiration across paving, walling, kerbs and brick.

If you’re still struggling to decide what to include in your garden renovation project, our dedicated AG Outside Rooms Landscape Designer, Ronan O’Dowd, has provided a list of the most in demand requests from clients in 2024 so far:

  • Dining area with a built-in bar
  • Relaxed seating area with a firepit/fireplace
  • Outdoor working kitchen/Built-in BBQ area/Pizza oven
  • Water features/natural ponds
  • Wildflower meadows
  • Areas for composting/log stacks
  • Greenhouse/herb gardens/vegetable patches
  • Areas to house chickens/bees

Enlist the Professionals

Working with an experienced Landscape Designer will help elevate your project from maximising your budget to helping you avoid common pitfalls.

Knowledgeable Landscape Designers will have designed hundreds of outside spaces and can help guide you on what will work best for your project. They can advise on products, features or themes you may not have previously considered, offering advice on both the aesthetic and functional aspects of your garden, to optimise your new space from focal points to lighting.

Experts in their field they can help you allocate your budget effectively, helping you to make informed decisions about where to invest for the best impact in your new space. Skilled at identifying and solving any potential challenges whether that be landscaping obstacles or drainage problems, Landscape Designers can help to prevent unnecessary expenses further down the line by providing solutions to any issues early on. The finalised design they complete will also help to communicate your vision and expectations clearly to your chosen Landscaper, creating a more seamless garden renovation experience.

Having a deep understanding of plants, soil, climate, sun direction and horticulture, Landscape Designers can help you choose plants that will thrive in your specific environment. They’ll also take into consideration long term factors like plant growth, maintenance requirements, environmentally conscious materials and practices ensuring your garden’s longevity and alignment with your goals.

If you’re based in Northern Ireland or a neighboring county you can find out more about our Landscape Design Service here.

Top Tip:
Be realistic about the level of maintenance in terms of plants and hard landscaping you can commit to, if you want a beautiful but low commitment garden, let your Landscape Designer know so they can advise to suit your requirements.

Once you’ve got the design, now you will need someone to implement it. If you plan to outsource this aspect to a Landscaper we suggest that you do your research, read reviews and get recommendations from friends, family and work colleagues before obtaining quotes from multiple Landscapers.

If you’re looking for an approved Landscaper in Northern Ireland, we have a list of AG approved ones available here. Upgrading your outside space is as popular as ever so we advise booking your Landscaper as quickly as possible to secure your slot.

Top Tip:
You can reduce labour costs by removing any unwanted structures, plants and paving before your Landscaper starts the project, saving them time and you money.

Through careful planning and with the right experts on hand, you can transform your garden in to your dream outdoor room, an extension of your home that will host you and your family for many years to come. To find out more about how we can help you achieve your dream outside space and the different types of Design Consultations we offer, click here.

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