So you’ve been watching the garden makeover shows. You read the garden magazines and drool over photos of beautiful backyards on Pinterest.
Then you look at your own backyard and wonder about the possibilities!
With a bit of preparation, and some professional help from the experts at Kennards Hire and hipages, it's definitely possible to pull off a landscaping project yourself.
To get you started, here's what to consider before you start digging!
1. The scope
What’s on your landscaping wishlist?
Before you pick up a shovel, draw up a plan or some way down the track you’ll find yourself having to backtrack and undo lots of hard work.
Measure up the yard and see what will fit where. How about access – can you get in a mini excavator or loader, or will it have to be done the hard way, by shovel and wheelbarrow? Do you need water or power to complete your plans?
Are there large trees in the way of your plans? Do you need to move large quantities of soil? Does the fence need replacing?
This is the time to think about the equipment you’ll use. A mini excavator has a multitude of uses. Optional attachments include rock grabbers, hydraulic diggers, post hole diggers, ripper blades and concrete breakers. A post-hole digger makes short work of digging footings for a deck or timber posts for a fence. You might not be ready to proceed with all your projects now, but it could make sense to do the groundwork all at once.
A stand-on mini loaderis ideal for narrow or limited access landscaping projects, including moving and levelling soil, mulch, sand, gravel and rubble, trenching and backfilling, and loading trailers and trucks.
3. Dial before you dig
If you’re going to be moving large quantities of earth, or digging post holes, visit Dial Before You Dig in your state to check for pipes and cables. Water authorities and/or councils also keep plumbers’ plans of water, stormwater and sewerage pipes, showing their location and depth. Your electricity supplier will be able to tell you where the underground cables are.
This is also the time to find out whether you need to get a building or planning permit for your project. Regulations differ from state to state, so check with your local council.
4. DIY vs professional
There are some jobs that you won't be able to DIY. Electrical work must be done by a licensed electrician, who will also supply a safety certificate. You’ll need a plumber for anything related to sewerage or drinking water. In some states, you can install a water tank yourself; in others you must use a plumber, so check with your local water authority.
You can certainly tackle tasks like carpentry, earthmoving, concreting or paving yourself. But consider whether it’s more cost-effective – or safer – to get in a professional. Hipages has some great resources that estimate the cost of getting someone in to do the work versus the cost of doing it yourself.
If you need to remove tall trees overhanging houses or fences you should employ a professional, but you can handle smaller trees and shrubs yourself. Check out Kennards Hire’s range of chainsaws, stump grinders and hedge trimmers. New users also get a quick lesson in how to use them safely.
When you need a professional, hipages can connect you with trusted arborists, concreters, electricians, plumbers and earth movers. You’ll get three quotes and you can read genuine reviews before you accept to move on with the job.
Many of us have watched contestants on The Block transform a worksite into an amazing garden - often in a short period of time. Depending on the scope of the project, it could take you a bit longer without a whole TV team behind you! It's important to be realistic about your timeline and your expectations. Hiring earthmoving equipment and a professional will cost, but can speed the timeline up and may be worth the reduction in stress.
Finally, you need to consider safety before you start your project. Be prepared to slip, slop, slap before you work outside. Make sure you have the right PPE, including sturdy boots, a hat, gloves and ear and eye protection if you're operating heavy machinery.
Whatever your landscaping project, Kennards Hire and hipages make a great support team, with ideas, advice, equipment and professional help when you need it!