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1) The Initial Consultation

First, we schedule a meeting to discuss your needs, wants and desires. During the meeting, we will evaluate the site in order to identify all the essential conditions that will influence the design.

Then we will make general suggestions on how to move forward.  It is helpful if a client has photographs of typical designs or styles that he/she prefers. Frequently, clients only know in general terms what they want to accomplish and are relying on the landscape designer to present a concept to give them resolve. These responses are explored in the Preliminary Design Concept Phase.

The initial consultation is one of the most important stages of the process where the client and designer can develop a unified vision for the property. The role of the designer is to beautifully and artfully compose the client’s vision while considering constraints and additional opportunities.



2) Site Measurements

After a signed contract, we will come to your property to take site measurements and on site photographs to create an accurate base map. A professional survey of the home may be required depending on the complexity of the project. It is helpful if the client supplies the designer with a plot map of the property (typically included in your deed papers).



3) Site Analysis

We then hit the drawing board and make judgments pertaining to the site. For instance, should the architectural elements of the house be extended into the garden? What plant material, if any, should be retained? Should the topography be altered and if so, how? Are there views that need to be screened? Views to be enhanced?  Does the property need shade in some areas? Are there drainage issues? Are there opportunities that exist that may have been overlooked in the initial consultation?  This inventory includes the topography, existing site elements such as walkways, fences, off site conditions, availability of light, soil, moisture, wind and existing plant and hardscape elements.



4) Preliminary Design Concept – Design Development

We will then create a sketch concept based on your vision and site analysis. This concept may be supplemented with elevation/perspective sketches so you can better perceive the design intent.  Then we will schedule a meeting with you to review the pliminary design. Feedback from you at this stage is crucial. Clients frequently can visualize the design intent thoroughly enough from viewing the conceptual design that they want to take the plan to a contractor for bids. Sometimes this works out nicely. However, the conceptual design at this point does not have enough information to allow a contractor to bid the design accurately, nor to allow a contractor to create the final result intended. Allowing the design, at this stage to be bid can often cause unexpected costs and an overall bad experience for the client.  If you do choose to move forward into construction with a preliminary plan make sure the designer is involved in the bid and construction phases.



5) The Final Plan - Construction Details

The creation of the final plan includes: Construction detailing of structures, hardscape and plant material clearly called out in a hard lined layout plan. Typical construction details such as fencing, wall, paving, pergolas, water features and planting are important for to the contractor to reference during construction.  The final copy of the plan will include a plant chart which specifies the botanical and common name of each plant, the quantity, and if the plan is going out for bid, the desired installation size. 

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6) Bid & Construction

If desired, the client can have the plan bid to multiple contractors. The main advantage of the bidding process is to save the owner money. The designer’s involvement is very important during this stage so the intended vision will be realized.  Many questions usually come up during the bid phase that the home owner may not be able to answer correctly.  A building permit is required through the city for most structures such as decks, patios, fences and walls. You can have your contractor submit the needed paperwork (such as the final construction detailing) to the city for approval.  During construction, it is wise to have the designer on site intermittently to direct the contractors.