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How to avoid DIY disasters this Queen’s Birthday long weekend

TAFE NSW Richmond

How to avoid DIY disasters this Queen’s Birthday long weekend

Australians are notorious for using long weekends as a time to catch up on odd-jobs around the garden that they’ve been putting off for months.

With the Queen’s Birthday long weekend right around the corner, TAFE NSW Richmond Head Teacher of Landscape Construction, Allen Tuck, has put together his top tips to help navigate your way around any DIY disasters in the garden during the three day break.

  • Know your ability – Before starting a project, you must understand your own abilities and capabilities. There are a number of projects advertised as being DIY projects, when this is not always the case.
  • Do not rely on Google – If you find yourself Googling how to build landscape structures like retaining walls and decks, it is usually best to consult a professional. It is also good to keep in mind that it is a requirement for many 'load bearing' landscape structures to be built by a licensed and qualified tradesman.
  • Safety first – For larger jobs where you may have to hire machinery to assist with your project, make sure that you are competent in its safe operation practices. There’s nothing more important than your safety.
  • Understand your property – It’s important that before you start a project you understand your property and familiarise yourself with your local councils regulations. Prior to any digging or excavating, ensure you know the exact locations of your underground services. These include storm water and sewerage pipes, gas and electricity, water and telephone lines. A quick call to ‘Dial Before You Dig’ can help with this.
  • Planning is key – If you wake up Saturday morning and decide to start on a substantial project, stop and think it through. Planning is the most important step in successful project management, so taking the time to plan will prevent costly errors, assist in avoiding dangerous situations and aid in the efficient and economical completion of your project.
  • Find the right plants for you – When selecting plants for your garden it’s important to consider two things; the environment they will be in and how much time you will be able to spend maintaining them. Your local nursery can provide advice regarding what plants to plant where, the difference between high and low maintenance plants, and the best types of soil and drainage to keep your plants alive and healthy.

Mr Tuck has worked in the construction industry since 1980. He originally worked as an electrician before choosing to change careers, returning to TAFE NSW in 2000 to complete a Certificate III in Landscape Construction and start his own business. After operating his landscaping business for 17 years, Mr Tuck is now passing on his skills to the next generation of landscapers at TAFE NSW Richmond.

To find out more about studying Landscape Construction, call 13 16 01 or visit

Media contact: Emma Cawley, TAFE NSW Media Officer, mobile 0412 478 415,