If you are considering a residential landscape design for your home or property there are a few items that I would like to share with you so that you are better prepared to make the right decisions not only when you hire a landscape designer but when you are presented with a concept or plan to review.
Understanding the key fundamentals of the residential landscape design process will help you extend the life of your landscape and increase the value you see in return for your investment.
Define Your Goals & Objectives
The first step you should take before you hire anyone to design your landscape is to take a few minutes and really think about what you would like to accomplish with the landscape project. What has motivated you to do this project? Are you seeking a new look and feel? Are you having problems with plants dying? Have you recently moved and you want the property to reflect your preferences?
Understanding WHY you want a new landscape design will help you better know and understand WHAT you want as a finished product and keep you from feeling like you made a mistake after the bill is paid and the contractor is on to the next job.
Inventory & Analysis
After communicating your goals and objectives to your residential landscape designer he/she will then begin the inventory and analysis phase of the design process. This is when the designer will take inventory of the natural environment of the property such as sun patterns, wind exposure, moisture levels, grade and elevation changes, drainage issues and much more.
After gathering this information the designer will then analyze the information against the goals and objectives you shared with him/her and begin developing a conceptual draft(s).
The conceptual phase is where the experiences, education, talent and local knowledge of the designer really become apparent. It is during the conceptual design phase when the designer gets to consider and balance the many variables of the natural environment and the objectives of the client, combined with express his/her understanding of landscape design fundamentals such as scale, shape, form, function, color, contrast and texture.
A clear understanding and experience working with the landscape design fundamentals is what separates an accomplished landscape designer from a novice. Having the ability to integrate these residential landscape design fundamentals with the client’s objectives is in essence what creates a successful landscape design. A design that will not only stand the test of time with mother nature but the test of “client time”.
Presentation & Comments
Upon completion of the initial concept the landscape designer will present the plan to you. At this meeting you should be preapred to ask questions, engage and take the time to understand and visualize the design. Request to see pictures of the plant materials proposed and listen to your instincts about what you like and don’t like about the conceptual design.
While you may not be a professional landscape designer you do have your opinion so make it known and help the designer better understand what it is you are looking for and how he/she can best serve you. The following are a few of the major points you want to consider and questions you should ask about the design:
- Maintenance Level- how much maintenance is involved to care for the landscape
- Plant Growth- how will this design look in 5+ years, will it be crowded or remain balanced and funcitonal
- Disease & Pests- are any of these proposed plants susceptible to major disease or pest issues? Should we routinely spray or treat the plants?
- Irrigation- any special considerations for the irrigation system to effective water this landscape plan.
- Color- did you use a specific color palette? if so which colors?
- Bloom time- when do these plants bloom?
- Circulation- did you consider the routes, paths, entry’s and exists of human circulation on the property?
- Other questions……anything else that is important to you
Residential Landscape Design Final Plan
After the review and comments of the concept phase the designer will then create a final plan for estimating and construction purposes. At this point you should be excited about the upcoming project and have a clear understanding of what you are going to create with your new residential landscape design.
While this is the end the design phase of the project remember a quality landscape design is only as good as the way it is installed. If you have taken the time to hire a landscape designer to produce a custom plan for you take the additional time to source a quality installation contractor (preferably someone who has worked with the designer) to execute the project.
At the Cotleur & Hearing Landscape Company we offer both residential landscape design and installation services. Please Contact Us today for a complimentary landscape design consultation so we can help you reach your landscaping goals. We are a proud member of ASLA- American Society of Landscape Architects