Planning for your project, domestic earthmoving and structual landscaping on the Sunshine Coast

Hi everyone,

Dameon here, well its fast coming up to my 20yr in the earthmoving, structural landscaping industry and I would like to share a few thoughts through my experience.

Here on the Sunshine Coast we are spoilt with an environment that encourages outdoor living and with this comes the need to create function and maximise our land, weather it be outdoor living areas, pool, sheds or even just connecting the property generally.

This all comes back to how you shape the land.  The options and methods are endless and really will be driven by needs, wants and budget.

This is not easy, and the quoting process is generally the tool that is helping you to form a plan and ultimately a realistic budget.

structural landscape and design

Stage 1 - Planning & Preparation

Question time – Ask yourself the following:
What do want to achieve
Why and I doing it
What can I do to make this process easier for myself?
What do I think my budget is?
Where do I start

Regardless of what your answers were, these questions will put you in the right frame of mind to be proactive in your quest to plan.

Grab a tape measure, if you made it to grade 8 you will be able to use a tape it’s not scary.

Start measuring the area to get some scale of visualising the REAL time size of everything ie: this does NOT have to be to the exact scale, you’re not making German furniture!

If you can then transfer your measurements to paper 1mtr = 1cm, this is the 1 to 100 scale.

Then allow yourself to sit around the table start brain storming, collect photos and jot down all your ideas even opinions from your friends and family can be useful also as the more ideas you have it will allow you to be a bit more informed when you are preparing for the quote process.

You are now ready to start talking to the professionals and start getting some quotes and pricing.

Stage 2 - Step into the Lion's Den


Social media, google reviews, past track records, referrals or recommendations are a good ice breaker to get you to the start line quicker when deciding on a company to choose.

The difficult thing with quotes, if your not crystal clear on what you want, then every contractor sees things differently, so use this time well to reinforce your plan or be flexible with new ideas that will come through the quote process

When going though all the quotes be sure to compare apple with apples, as inclusions and misleading words can sometimes be interpreted wrong.

Cheaper is NOT better with structural landscape.

If the budget permits or is tight my recommendation is do less but do it properly and break it into stages.

Follow your gut, if you feel comfortable with the contractor and get a stable feeling that helps.

Stage 3 - Engage with a Contractor

There are many simple contractors that are used, also a written quote can be legal binding – cross your T and dot your I’s

Depending on materials that need to be ordered? 20% is a fair to get the ball rolling and then break your payment schedule into drawls relative to works completed


$20,000 JOB COST



Start of works – 50%:


75% works completed


95% works completed


Final inspection


Final inspection done by all parties. This is a fair breakdown of moneys paid verses services rendered. Your time frames and expectations for duration of job can be tied into payment schedule.

If you have done all these stages in an adequate manner you should be on your way to a reasonably smooth transition.
Things may happen unexpectedly so be ready to address them and work through any issues missed.

To be honest and I’ll put myself in this boat, a good landscaper is not a contractor’s administrator or lawyer.

They are here to build your outdoor living space, so any issues that may occur, should be able to have a fair resolution if both parties are honest and fair

Generally, if things get out of hand someone’s been a dick!
“home wasn’t built in a day”

The Fun Part - Construction

Be “PRO ACTIVE and INTERACTIVE”, but don’t SUFFOCATE the contractor, all the planning is done so let the process take its course.

If you see something that does not resemble or match your expectations, go have a chat and get clarity, generally theirs a logical explanation.

To run your ego over the job once a day doesn’t hurt and be prepared to upgrade, change or massage the pan as real time, builders give the scale and form to sink your teeth into.

Have fun, enjoy the process and be nice to each other