budgeting to complete the outdoor areas of your new home

Building a brand new house is an exciting adventure, and there are many choices you get to make along the way. In order to make sure you can finish your home the way you choose to and not the way you have to, it's important to draw up a robust budget at the outset.

A general guide for a medium level of finishing for the whole home is 15 per cent of home building budget. If you to go high spec you may want to allocate up to a quarter of your budget to finishing options. A budget calculator is a good place to start.

Your new outdoor area

There are plenty of considerations for your new home, but one of the biggest can be the finishing off your outdoor area. What could be better than enjoying a beer and a barbecue in a beautiful alfresco area after spending your first day in your new home?

In order to ensure you have the best experience possible, you should budget for a the following key items:

  • landscaping
  • reticulation
  • hardscapes
  • paving
  • plants
  • water features
  • outdoor furniture
  • barbecues and kitchens

Landscaping and hardscaping

Hardscaping isn't necessary on every home building project, but it's something to consider. If you think your new building site will need a retaining wall to make the yard more functional, that will fall into this category. Any feature walls or screens you install will also need to be budgeted for.

Landscaping is the layout of your garden and outdoor area, planning how it will all flow and look together. This can incorporate a lot of the other expenses you need to budget for, but the cost of the service itself also needs to be considered. Don't forget things like lawns and any planters or flower beds you may want.

Plants and paving

Choosing the plants for your new house is almost as exciting as decorating the interior. One thing to bear in mind is that more developed plants, like full grown trees, can be much more expensive than saplings. If you have the time to tend a garden, you may wish to save some money by nurturing your plants yourself.

Paving can be done for aesthetic reasons or for practical purposes - most likely a combination of both. Choosing a paving option that will create a useable outdoor space, as well as look good for years to come is an important factor to consider.

Allow enough money in the budget to get quality products and good workmanship when it comes to creating your outdoor entertainment area. Finishes like exposed aggregate may cost more, but they are certainly worth it.

 Water features and reticulation

Budgeting for reticulation is imperative, and the amount of money you spend on this will determine the features you can afford. A fully automated sprinkler system will set you back more than a tap and a hose pipe.

When planning water works, it may pay to consider water features. Even if you do not plan on installing one now, you may wish to have the fittings installed to do so easily at a later date.

Aside from a fountain or pond, bigger water features like spa or swimming pools need to be considered as well. These come with additional expenses, like pool fencing and paving. Remember that if you have a narrow lot design or a spread out single level home, it may be best to install the pool during construction as access could be tricky later down the line.

Outdoor furniture, barbecues and kitchens

These items really dictate how much enjoyment you will get out of your alfresco areas so, if possible, try not to skimp on these.

An outdoor kitchen is the creme de la creme of outdoor entertainment and can be customised to include any number of appliances, accessories and surfaces. If you are going all out with your exterior design, this could be the option for you.

A more simple approach would be a freestanding or built-in barbecue and some nice outdoor furniture. Make sure to allow for some level of outdoor entertaining options, as everything else is useless if you can't make time outside to enjoy it.