The Garden Design Process
The most common way that I work with people is through producing landscape construction documents. This is the deluxe model of landscape design. The process is aimed at finding the best solutions to your landscape needs. Plans are usually drawn when the landscape is more complex and/ or larger.
The process begins with an initial meeting where I can assess the scope of the project. This meeting is like a mini consultation so I do charge a fee for the initial meeting. At this meeting we will discuss what your needs are and I will give you great ideas on how I will approach the design. After the initial meeting, I write a fixed fee proposal for my services.
Generally, services are in two design phases and one construction phase. The first design phase is the preliminary design. Here I present you with a design for all the different features that you are looking for. In most of the categories, I present you with different options. I like my clients to take an active part in the design process so you will be selecting the plants, hardscape, etc. with my expert help. At this phase there will also be a preliminary cost estimate to give a budgetary figure for the installed cost.
After all the decisions are made, the design moves to the final stage. This is the time when I do the construction documents which are biddable plans and specifications for landscape contractors. When those are complete then the plans are ready to go out to bid.
I can recommend great contractors to help you install the landscape or you can hire people recommended to you by friends or neighbors. When you get bids back, I can help you sort out the bids to make sure they are all complete.
Once you make the decision on the contractor, we move to the construction phase. During the construction phase, I can be available to review the construction at key times so that the plans will be implemented as planned.
If your landscape is smaller or the design is very simple, the most cost efficient way to work with me is to design the landscape through a consultation. Most of my consultative clients are redoing their front or back yard or parts of their landscape. Generally, they are not doing hardscape or they are doing some minor type of paving or small overhead structure.
With a landscape consultation, I charge an hourly fee for the amount of time that it takes to design. The process is that I bring a sketch pad and some books and/or my computer and we design the yard together. The sketch is detailed enough for people to have a precise vision of what the final landscape will need to be built and a contractor or skilled gardener can implement the design. A small front or back yard may take two hours of design time. A large space may take four to six hours to design.