Doctors bury their dead but architects plant trees!  Can you solve your renovation problem with a landscape solution? It’s worth exploring because of one main benefit – it’s almost always cheaper than doing building work.  Here are my five things that can be fixed with a landscape solution, instead of a renovation, putting money back in your pocket.

  1. Building the landscape at Toowong (2)The back deck

A new back deck is typically the first renovation a house ever has, but as soon as that new deck touches the house, your construction costs go up.  If, instead, you built a deck that was a part of the garden, and didn’t touch the house, your costs stay under control, even though your deck is the same size.  Putting your deck in the garden as a pavilion rather than attached to the back of your house is a great way to get that outdoor space without spending big.

  1. The front door

Having an entry at the front of your house is ideal, but not every house has the space for this.  A front door opening straight into your living space is often a trigger that makes people want to renovate.  A more cost effective option however can be achieved with landscape.  Building a gatehouse with a fence, and a gate with an intercom, moves the ‘arrival’ experience out to the street instead of happening at your front door.  When your guests are greeted at the gate, only your friends are let in and allowed through to the real front door.

  1. Harsh summer sun

Do you have one or two rooms of your house that are a hot box every summer?  Sure, you can renovate and change these rooms, but first make sure you can’t fix it with landscape.  All you need to do is plant some trees that will shade these rooms, especially the windows.  We like Lilly Pillies as they’re native and fast growing with good leaf coverage for shade without getting overly large.  If you can’t wait the years for them to grow, it might be worth investing in some mature trees so you get the benefit of that shade instantly.  And you’ve also now improved the view from these bedroom windows, so it’s a win-win situation!

  1. Ashgrove Queenslander (2) RESIZEYour street appeal

Let’s be honest, not every house is pretty.  Some houses need a major renovation to make them pretty, but you don’t always have to go that far.  Instead, disguise the house with an awesome front fence, a cute gatehouse and lots of green grass and luscious plants.  Make sure you have different heights in your plants, and include some taller plants, as it will help bring some variation to the garden and distract your eye from looking only at the house.  This is a great option for resale as street appeal is often the first thing people look at when buying a house.

  1. Security issues

Whether it’s to stop people getting in or teenagers getting out, there are some easy landscape solutions that can save you a renovation.  Start with fences, especially a front fence, that makes it clear whether you’re on the property or not.  We like locked gates with a keypad so that anyone found on the property has to have jumped the fence, and can’t claim to have wandered in.  Then add noisy gravel or stones down the sides of the house, so that it’s hard to quietly sneak down here.  Finish with sensor lights around the house that turn on with movement.  Let’s just encourage them to look at another house, not yours.

Rebekah Hurworth

Rebekah Hurworth  

Rebekah Hurworth started her career as an architect, and now is the CEO of “My Family Home Experts”. Her business designs renovations and new homes for families, with a focus on sensible practical designs that don't overcapitalise. They have a focus on education, with a range of talks called “Buy Like An Architect” and weekly Facebook videos that help people with the early strategy work they should do before deciding to renovate // www.familyhomeexperts.com