When building your first home, the idea of walking into your house all shiny and new is very exciting. Many builders offer “turn key” or “full turn key” packages which typically include all the extras: fence, driveway, landscaping and turfing, mailbox, clothesline, roller blinds etc. While the option of having everything done for you is certainly tempting, it is rarely the most cost effective option.

Personally, I am an advocate of including most of the above items in your builder quote. The last thing you want is to move into your brand new home and have to park your moving truck in the patch of dirt where your driveway should be. That being said, some of the above items are prime targets for a bit of DIY.

Bunnings sells a wide variety of clotheslines and mailboxes for under $250 which are simple to install – but the big one I would consider doing myself is the turfing and landscaping (for a few different reasons).

First of all – professional landscapers can be expensive. More than that though, landscaping can actually be pretty fun, and it allows you to put your own personal touch into the exterior of the property. There has been a huge amount of recent interest, particularly with young people, in growing their own plants.

Not only could you save thousands of dollars by not paying a professional landscaper, but you can get some sun and exercise plus the sense of accomplishment you get by creating your own garden. There is a million ideas on sites like Pintrest for everything from small gardens to water features and fire pits.

All this being said, some people lead very busy lives. For anyone using the property as an investment, or if you don’t think you are going to be able to commit to the garden, the best thing to do is have the builder complete the work prior to handover to make sure it is done properly.

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