Why You Should Have a Landscape Design Created

I have been asked this question hundreds of time by clients thinking that I could just put some flags in the ground to mark where plants go and then some paint to show areas like lawns, pools, BBQ’s etc. And yes, I have fallen to this on occasion but I can tell you that it is unlikely that this method will provide the best end product.

I always try to educate clients on the benefits of having a formal plan created as it is the best way to ensure overall success of the landscape. When I meet with clients I perform an interview of sorts. Asking questions such as;
1. What kind of lifestyle do you currently live? Do you spend a lot of time outside of your home?
2. How would you like your landscape/exterior environment to compliment your lifestyle?
3. What have you seen at your friends and neighbors homes that you like and dislike?
4. Is there a certain style of planting that you prefer? French garden, native, lush and green, water wise etc.
5. Do you have kids? If so, what would they want included?
6. Do you entertain much? If yes, how many people?
7. What times of the day do you entertain? If at night, is the light level enough or would you like to have landscape lighting?
8. Will you be doing the ongoing maintenance or will you hire this out?
9. How mature would you like the landscape to be upon completion of the work?
10. Do you have pictures of what you like?
11. What is your budget?

These are just some of the critical questions that need to be answered in order to create a desirable plan. As I ask these questions and get the answers I typically have a couple deeper questions on the topic.

Creating the plan gives me the chance to consider multiple creative options for every answer given by the client. I can manipulate the layout to come up with the best spacial options. With nearly every design I give myself a break and then come back to it later in the day as there may be things that I see later on that I did not see or consider earlier.

Frequently clients want a large list of features yet they are not fully aware of the costs associated with installing them. Creating a plan makes it possible for me to design all of there needs and desires then create an estimated budget. Once I understand what the plan vs. budget looks like I can revise the plan to better fit within their budget. I will offer what did not fit as options for the client to determine if they want it added.

Creating a plan allows the client to take the plan and study it at their convenience ensuring they are getting what they truly want. They can also use the plan to get a few bids on the installation which may send them in a different direction once the costs are received. Having a plan allows them to do the project in phases. The plan is a guide that they can go back to when ready for the next phase.

The plan also provides a ‘no gray area’ keeping the landscape contractor on task. The plan allows the client to keep track of the progress easier as well. Once the project is completed the plan should be ‘red lined’ (marked up with any changes as well as the location of key components of the irrigation, lighting and any other critical items that would be problematic if you lost track of where they were located. It also helps if a plant should expire as you can determine what the plant was and if you want to put the same back in its place.

Overall, planning is the best way to guarantee that you are getting the best end product possible at the best price possible. I hope that you can see the value and benefit of having a well thought out plan created. It really is the best way to go.