The South West London Gardener

How Long Does a Garden Transformation Take?


Picture this: a patch of neglected land, overgrown and underloved, slowly morphing into a lush, vibrant garden.

It’s a gratifying experience, but how long does it take to turn a dream garden into reality?

Here at The Southwest London Gardener, we have used our experience of working on many different projects over the years to create this blog to try and answer this question.

Let’s take a look.

Understanding Your Garden’s Needs

First things first, assess your garden’s current state.

Try and find all of the information you need to get a comprehensive overview of your garden transformation requirements.

What type of soil does it have? Are there any preservation orders on tress, restrictions on height if you are building a cabin, a no-dig area, or are there any garden structures that may need removing or updating? Does it bask in the sun all day, or is it a shady retreat? And what about the plants already living there?

This initial evaluation is crucial.

It helps you understand what you’re working with, which plants will thrive, and what changes you need to make.

This stage can take a couple of days, depending on the size of your garden and how thorough you are, and is always time well spent when it comes to the project getting underway.

japanese garden

Setting Clear Goals

Next, ask yourself: what’s your vision? Are you dreaming of a vegetable patch, a fragrant flower garden, or a serene spot to unwind?

Setting clear goals helps you focus your efforts and resources.

If you’re aiming for a simple revamp and tidy-up, you might be looking at a week of work and your new garden will be ready for you to enjoy.

Take this Japanese Garden transformation for example, which only took 3 working days, and consisted of us removing and thinning out overgrown bamboo, pruning trees and plants, and cleaning buried chipping, among other jobs.

However, if you’re planning something more elaborate, like a full-scale landscaping project, it could take a couple of months, and perhaps even longer for extra-large spaces.

This project, for example, took 25 – 30 working days to complete and incorporated lots of changes such as adding a clay paver path and new plants.

Remember, your goals should be as unique as your garden, so don’t be afraid to let your preferences be known, no matter how outlandish they are.

Planning and Design

Now, let’s talk about planning and design.

This phase can be as quick as sketching your ideas on a napkin or as lengthy as involving professional landscapers, such as our team, for detailed plans.

If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you might spend a few weekends drafting your garden layout, choosing plants, and deciding on hardscape elements.

For those seeking professional help, this process can last for as long as it needs to, sometimes taking weeks to finally settle on the perfect plan.

While this may seem a long time, it is vital that every project starts with a clear vision, and this can help make the actual installation process much quicker as everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.

Especially for unusual gardens, such as this unusually shaped, three-sided garden in Wimbledon Common that took some time to plan to really maximise the performance of the outside space.

With a build time of 30 – 35 working days, this was a really great project and the clients were delighted with the outcome.

yearly planner

Preparation and Groundwork

Preparation is key.

This phase is all about clearing the area, improving the soil, and laying the groundwork for your garden. Depending on the condition of your garden, this can be labour-intensive.

Take this project in Clapham, for example, which involved a garden that was completely covered in decking. This all had to be removed before anything could be installed, and the client handled this before see started the project, which took us 16 days from the day we started to completion.

If you’re clearing overgrowth and amending the soil, it might take anywhere from a few days to over a week depending on the size and extent of the growth.

For larger or more neglected spaces, this could extend over several weeks. This stage sets the foundation for everything that follows, so don’t rush it.

Structures may be quicker to remove, but great care has to be taken to make sure they are done so safely, and that no damage is left behind.

Something that is important to us is that all green waste, as well as other waste such as fences and concrete for example, is removed responsibly, and when possible, recycled in the correct manner to promote an eco-friendly process.

Implementation and Planting

Now, the exciting part – bringing your vision to life.

This stage is where you plant, build, and see your garden start to take shape. The duration of this step depends on the complexity of your design. A simple garden might only need a few days of planting, while more intricate designs with various elements like paths, water features, or outdoor seating can take weeks or even months.

This family garden we installed in Earlsfield took 20 working days to complete, and this involved extending a patio, adding new grass, heightening boundary fencing, and more.

As we’ve shown throughout the projects listed here, a garden transformation can take anywhere from three working days to over thirty, and this all depends on the job required.

What is vital is that you work with a team that provides a realistic timescale at the start of the project, so you can know what to expect.

wildlife lovers garden

Maintenance and Patience

Remember, a garden transformation doesn’t end with the last plant in the ground.

Gardens are living, breathing spaces that evolve.

Maintenance, like watering, weeding, and pruning, is ongoing. And here’s where patience plays a role.

Some plants take time to establish and flourish.

You might not see the full glory of your efforts until the next season, or even the next year, so bear with it, and revel in watching your dream garden come to life in front of your very eyes.

The Southwest London Gardener

Transforming a garden is a journey with varying timelines.

From understanding your garden’s needs to maintaining its beauty, each step plays a vital role in shaping the outcome.

The time it takes can vary greatly – from a few weeks for a simple makeover to several months or more for a more complex transformation.

This can be a huge task to undertake on your own, and we always recommend seeking professional help to ensure the best job is done.

Our team have worked on many projects, and always provides realistic timelines which we regularly stick to.

If you want to know more or would like to discuss a project with us, then get in touch today.