We left off in October discussing what occurs between our first and second meeting, the procedure of going from an unattractive yard or bare dirt to a landscape that is both beautiful and functional. However before beginning, I hope Christmas and New Year’s were enjoyable, and that during our break from this series you found the two publications, November’s ’A Good Time to Plant’ and December’s ‘ The Gift that Heals,’ as meaningful and beneficial reading. I have received several very positive comments about our December article, for which I am most grateful.
For this edition I am going to do a review of October’s Landscape 201, and then go into greater detail about the procedure I follow to create the design and estimate. In our first 201 article, I explained that at the end of our first meeting we have decided on our theme, some specific design features (water features, decorative walls, specific plants, flagstone etc.) and a verbal estimate of cost. Before I leave the yard I take measurements and fill out a form that I use to determine the materials needed, both in hardscape and plants. In the process, the design details become clearer in my mind.
This is the beginning of translating our conversation and selected theme into a physical representation. The best way for me to describe what’s happening is to say that everything in the yard “floats.” Nothing is fixed or permanent unless we decided during our meeting that it was to remain. The idea of floating rocks, plants or hardscape sounds strange, I know. It has taken a while to train my mind to see past what is visible to what is possible. Each designer sees the possibilities a little differently, so it is always important to visit a designer’s/landscaper’s website and look at examples of their work. Remember not all landscapers are also designers, and vice versa. I am grateful that we can do both.
Upon completing the materials form, my field work is done. I normally need between 10 days to three weeks to complete the design and estimate, depending upon the complexity of the job. In the busiest times of the year, which come upon us almost overnight, my project load increases, so please plan ahead, especially if we need to be finished by a specific date.
Back in my office, I begin to develop the design using my notes and design software. At times, I do a “rough” estimate prior to the design, especially if there is a “tight” budget. This way I know the ratios I need to work within, between labor, hardscape and plants, which allows me to use the budget I’m working with more effectively. When both the design and estimate are completed, I am ready to review them with the client(s).
Sometimes, a drawn design is not necessary, for example when the hardscape is going to remain largely unchanged or when I’m working with a client who can “see” what I am suggesting. In situations like these, I am able to return to meet with the client sooner.
So this explains the procedure I follow, from verbal concepts to design. Next month, I will begin to discuss design challenges. Using these photos, I will explain the particular challenges of this project.
Remember we landscape year round. In most cases the winter weather does not hinder us more than a day or so. The plants also will be happier in the warmer ground as opposed to remaining in a cold plastic can.
Finally, I will be at the Northern California Home & Landscape Expo in the Landscape Pavilion Building, sharing a display booth with Patio Perfection. Look for us midway, south end close to the speaker’s corner. I would enjoy meeting you. Blessings and Good Gardening.