New build gardens – preparing and planting

Homeowner advice,New Homes

New build gardens – preparing and planting

by on Tuesday 9 February, 2016 in Homeowner advice,New Homes

When you move into a new-build home, it’s likely that the garden will be a blank canvas. You might have a patio or deck area and either newly-laid turf or even bare soil depending on the options you selected at the time of reservation. Creating a beautiful new build garden from scratch can seem daunting but the Royal Horticultural Society has published some guidance about how best to go about it.

Assessing your new build garden and working out what you want to achieve

  • If you’re a keen gardener, it’s likely you will want to create some planting areas where you can plant flowers and shrubs. You may even want a vegetable patch. If you’re not a keen gardener and have children, then you may want to maximise lawn space and create an area for play equipment or a sand pit. Being clear about what you want to achieve and planning the different areas of the garden is key.
  • Establish what type of soil you have and what the drainage is like. This will impact the type of trees and shrubs that will be suitable. If you see signs of water-logging, you may need to install some drainage before you start implementing your plans.

Soil improvement

  • The quality of top soil in new build gardens does vary so it’s worthwhile doing a soil analysis so you know what needs to be done to make your soil ready for planting.
  • You may need to fertilise the soil or buy additional, good-quality topsoil.
  • Breaking up compacted soil is also a good idea and removing any obvious debris.

Hard landscaping and fencing

  • If you have steep slopes in your garden, you may need to put in retaining walls and may need the assistance of a landscaping contractor or builder.
  • If you’re planning to erect new fencing be aware that a fence over 2m will require planning permission (same applies to a new fence over 1 metre adjacent to a road or pavement).


  • When choosing plants, trees and shrubs consider the soil type, the location i.e. how near the house is appropriate, the amount of sun/shade. You can use the RHS Plant Selector to help you. This article on planting trees may also help.
  • Think about what colour you want in your garden and what the plants will be like in different seasons. Some plants can provide colour in more than one season.
  • Consider whether you can make your new build garden more wildlife-friendly but adding features that provide shelter and structure that might attract creatures.


> See more on the RHS website

> Read our previous article on planting trees in new-build developments


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