I recently hired a landscape designer to help me install my dream backyard at my Canberra residence. In this blog, I share my creative process and note the insights I learned from being on the client side of this project.

Initial Stages: Inspiration and vision development:

Like any creative project, I began by gathering inspiration from various sources. Whether designing a garden or an interior space, inspiration imagery is essential to define the aesthetic and mood you want to achieve.

My goal was to clean up the back peripheral utility area by installing a dividing hedge in the main garden. The idea to start the garden early, was to allow it to mature as we saved money to complete the future house extension.

My non-negotiable design elements were raised veggie gardens, a composting station, a chook run, a new shed and a retractable clothesline. I also wanted to repurpose the 1930s bath and laundry tubs that were sitting unused in our backyard. I also wanted a black fence, and a seat, with a mirror behind it for depth. A practical consideration was I’d ensure that no trees were planted under the power lines, to avoid the cost of constant trimming.

Aesthetically, I was going for a hidden but enjoyable utility area, that would become sectioned off as the hedge grew, dividing the area from the main lawn.


Note above, the bathtub I wanted to repurpose, and in second photo, the view from the back verandah.



Creating a clear vision helped set the tone for the entire project. I had plenty of other beautiful inspirational images I’d gathered over the years, but I decided to narrow them down to non-negotiables and favourites before briefing the landscape designer, as ideas cost money.

Installation & Quality Control:

Ensuring the quality of the completed works was important to me. This meant I was on-site for most of the installation, so I could oversee and monitor progress, and make real-time adjustments as needed to meet the project’s goals. Ensuring installation is executed correctly is a critical step that requires attention to detail, to ensure the desired outcome is achieved.

Effective Communication: Clear communication is vital at every stage of project planning. Whether you’re the designer or the client, fostering open and effective communication channels is key to ensuring everyone is on the same page.

Flexibility: Regardless of the design discipline, flexibility is crucial. Unexpected challenges can (and probably will!) arise. Being adaptable and open to adjustments is essential to achieving your design goals.

Trust in Professionals but Speak Your Mind: Trust the professionals you’ve hired to bring your vision to life. Designers have the skills and experience necessary to guide the project to success – but they are only as good as their listening ears.

Occasionally, you may come across a professional who feels they ‘know better’ than you. Maybe they do – but you are the paying client at the end of the day, and you get to make the final judgment call on the options that have been presented to you.

Make sure to check off and approve all options in order to mitigate surprises. Self-advocacy and speaking up if you feel something is unclear is crucial.

Whilst it may feel challenging to speak up in the moment – it saves time, money and potential conflict in the future should an outcome not match the agreed brief.

Managing Expectations:

In a perfect world, every single project I install would go strictly to plan. The reality is, there are always elements that fall inside our circle of control. For instance, a tile with a lead time of 8 weeks may get stuck at the port which takes the project off course. These things happen. There are always solutions, but given there are so many working parts to a large scale interior project, a degree of flexibility and understanding is required. It’s worth accounting for potential delays and setbacks by building them into your project timeline. Being realistic, instead of idealistic can prevent headaches and reduce a timeline blowout.

The big reveal?

The final reveal is the moment when all the hard work pays off, and whilst it is the most rewarding moment, home renovations are not nearly as exciting as the flashy reveals and transformations we see on television.

Why? Many people complete renovations in phases, due to cost, and if able, will reside at the residence throughout. This means there’ll often be days you’ll be sharing your home with tradespeople, may have to navigate around skips out the front, endure paint fumes, or manage a day without a working toilet. This can be stressful. It is something to think about, when considering your expectations of a flashy reveal.

That said, when I head a project, I always complete a walkthrough of the finished spaces. This when I see clients faces light up, satisfied with the results of the project, and ready to inhabit there beautiful new spaces.

What happens when you work with Journey Home?

I understand that navigating project planning challenges can be overwhelming. That’s why I offer a comprehensive solution. When you choose to work with me, you can trust that I’ll manage all the complexities of the project planning process, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey for you.

I listen. It is your forever home, after all. I will provide you with the expert opinion and direction you desire, but know, that you will be heard along the way, and we do everything in my power to ensure the final result not only meets, but exceeds your expectations.

I handle all the planning, coordination, and execution, leaving you free to enjoy the creative process. If challenges arise, I will always be upfront, transparent and come to you with options to ensure the project stays on track. If you’re ready to transform your home, contact me for a complimentary discovery call here.

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