If you’ve just bought or built a home, the garden isn’t usually the first thing on your mind. A new kitchen or some painting and decorating will be more the order of the day. But after a few years getting your interior how you want it, there’s often the itch to move your focus to your outdoor rooms and spaces. Feel like it’s time to finally get your garden in shape? See our handy guide.
1. Find the garden you want
Don’t rush things and think it through. Just as your interior rooms affect your mood, so do your exterior ones. Extending your indoor space outdoors to create a natural extension to your home will get you and your family and friends outside to relax and enjoy your garden.
Make sure you know exactly what you want and try to find inspiring examples of gardens you love.
- Browse through gardening magazines (including online ones)
- Attend open garden days for eye-opening ideas
- Visit gardening shows and garden centres
That will help shape your idea of your ideal garden and let you start comparing what you’ll need and the costs involved. Garden design is similar to home interior design. You could keep things minimalistic and get into a Zen state of mind with the restricted plantings and strong landscape lines of a calming Japanese garden or go for full-on frivolity with a more formal, Versailles-like garden.
2. Design the garden of your dreams (or leave it to the professionals)
If you know exactly the way you want to go with your garden, you can either get started with the design yourself or find a professional to shape it how you want it. If you decide to go down the landscape architect route, here’s some advice to bear in mind:
- Get a guide price to avoid excessive quotes and do your homework in advance to compare what can be seriously differing landscape architect rates.
- Tell your architect exactly what you want (like a low-maintenance garden requiring little effort, a shady or sunny patio, garden shed, swimming pool, pond or outdoor kitchen).
- Check what utilities there may already be in your garden to see whether extra cabling for power supply and lighting might need to be installed and contact an electrician in time if you need to.
- Ask your family and friends whether they can recommend a reliable landscape architect.
Avoid waiting until the springtime to start designing and landscaping your garden as that’s when most landscape architects and landscapers are busiest and booked solid.
3. Rethink where necessary
If your first garden design ends up too expensive, budget friendly choices will have to be made.
- Using cheaper materials is not necessarily the best way to save on costs. Stone or mosaic patio tiles may initially send costs soaring, but their greater durability is usually a worthwhile investment long term.
- Consider having landscaping done in several stages to help spread costs.
- Do some of the work yourself if you can. If you’re into gardening, you won’t mind doing the planting work. You may also be able to find a family member or friend who’s a wiz at laying tiles or other hard landscaping jobs.
4. Get a loan for your garden
Your costs may still be too high or you may not want to wait any longer until you’ve saved up enough for your new garden. And if you don’t want to skimp on materials (and usually therefore also on quality) either, there is another solution. You may wish to take out one of our garden loans to finance your new dream garden at an affordable rate. If you already have a mortgage on your home, ask us about how you might be able to re-use your existing mortgage to get another loan.
5. Review your insurance
A nice garden can also be a great place for your kids. Install outdoor playground equipment like swings, slides or sandpits for endless fun on sunny days. For those more changeable weather days during the summer, a roofed patio area offers protection in rainy, windy conditions. The shelter of a garden shed is in any case a must if you’re an avid gardener wanting to store your gardening stuff in a dry place. In that case, check whether you need to update your insurance. It’s advisable to add cover for your garden shed if you own or rent your home.
Finding out more about insurance for your garden is easy. First choose the right property insurance for you. The options for that show you the types of cover you can add to your policy.
6. Enjoy your garden
Once springtime comes, it’s nice to bring out the garden furniture again to bask in those first rays of sunlight. Now that you’ve transformed your garden into a cosy and comfortable place to relax, it’s time to enjoy leisurely outdoor meals, drinks and chatting with friends during sun-kissed summer barbecues, autumn evenings round the warmth of a flickering fire basket ... and more besides.
Remember to insure your home against fire and theft.
Lender: KBC Bank NV, Havenlaan 2, 1080 Brussels, VAT BE 462.920.226, RLP Brussels, FSMA 026256 A.
KBC Financial Protection Insurance for Instalment Loans is group insurance taken out by KBC Bank with KBC Insurance. To be covered by the scheme, you need to have signed up to and paid for this insurance. This insurance is optional. See the conditions of cover to find out which risks are covered and to see the main exclusions. Alternatively, ask for more information at your KBC Bank branch.
Insurer: KBC Insurance, Professor Roger Van Overstraetenplein 2, 3000 Leuven, Belgium, VAT BE 0403.552.563, RLP Leuven, IBAN BE43 7300 0420 0601, BIC KREDBEBB. Company licensed by the National Bank of Belgium, de Berlaimontlaan 14, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, for all classes of insurance under code 0014 (Royal Decree of 4 July 1979; Belgian Official Gazette of 14 July 1979).