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Dm Stan

For various reasons we ended up with a blank canvas, ie, dirt for a back yard. As non-gardeners, we had no idea what to do with it, how to start, and we hadn’t budgeted for any of it.

We discovered it was futile to call landscapers without having a defined plan to show them. Most wouldn’t offer any ideas either. We couldn’t afford a landscape designer or architect. It was disconcerting to discover how costly the project could be, even with a minimalist approach. But it had to be done. When the space was well maintained we didn’t use it. So, replicating a garden bed around the fence line with grass in the middle would’ve been a waste of money. We needed something very minimal maintenance, but something that would entice us to use the area.

I got very familiar with the awkward dimensions of the yard and started sketching ideas myself. I created concept plans in PowerPoint. We got a few quotes but, gulp, they were double the budget.

We found a guy who actually preferred us to purchase materials direct from suppliers - no mark up. Nor did he insist on a high end irrigation system when all we needed was something basic from Bunnings. These factors and his practical, common sense brought the project back into budget.

It was recently completed. Everything needs to grow. The timber panels need to be properly affixed. We’ll get a fire pit and suitable furniture for the ‘helipad’. We may even start using the space now!

Seeing the only plant name we knew was a dandelion, it’s not too bad. If you have any suggestions for improvements, we love to hear them.



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I am like you Jennifer Bradley, love the show but am terrified about the budget. I have 5 acres of a total blank canvas aka paddock that I would like to make native animal and bird friendly as well as a bunch of other things on my wish list. When I am quoted $2,500 as a minimum job cost, I can only think about how many plants that would buy - I just don't know which ones!!

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Jennifer Bradley

I wish you luck - - it's a much bigger task than mine. And yes, working out the best plants is hard. They need to look good and thrive in the conditions you've got. Sometimes I think it works if you start either at the edges and work in, or from the house and work out.

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