Thinking About Your Garden
These questions will help you prepare for your first meeting with a designer.
1. What uses will you make of your garden?
Creating a beautiful view from
inside the house
Creating curb appeal from the street
Growing herbs, vegetables, fruit, or
flowers for cutting
Sitting outside, especially in a sunny
or shady spot
Cooking and entertaining
Enjoying a pool or hot tub
Providing a place for kids or pets to play
Providing privacy from neighbors
2. How would you describe yourself as a gardener?
I like to work in the garden every chance I get
I enjoy gardening occasionally, but not all the time
I would put some effort into edibles, but not much else
I enjoy light gardening as a stress reliever, but don’t care for regular maintenance
I like looking at my garden, but have no desire to work in it
I don’t pay much attention to the garden, one way or the other
3. How do you want the garden to feel?
Traditional or modern
Whimsical and lively or serene and meditative
Manicured or natural
4. Here are some distinctive garden types. Which of these appeal to you?
A four-season garden (interest year-round)
A native plants garden
A "deer or rabbit proof" garden
A garden for children
A garden for entertaining
A low-allergen garden
A container or rooftop garden
A garden that emphasizes a particular climate, geography, or time period:
Mediterranean, English Cottage, Tropical, or Japanese
5. How will you install your garden?
In one complete installation
In several smaller installations, spread over one to five years
Using a landscape contractor for all of the installation
Doing some of the work yourself
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why should I work with a designer?
A designer can help you identify goals and uses for your landscape, choose a style of garden that complements your home’s architecture, and solve problems that your property may have. A designer can help you select the most appropriate materials and plants for your site, and find the best people in the landscape industry to work with. By spending the time to work through the details of a design, you will save money during the installation phase (it’s better to change your mind on paper than after something has been installed!). Through sketches, preliminary plans, and budget estimates, you can see what your landscape will look like and make informed decisions about the process. A designer can also provide quality control on a project during installation.
2. How much do you charge to do a design?
Our fees are based on the individual project. We take into consideration the size of the yard and the complexity of the design. Do you want a simple sitting garden or five separate garden areas including a pool, outdoor kitchen, water feature, and vegetable garden? The latter would be a more expensive design. After we visit your site, we give you a fixed bid. Typically, fees for suburban properties range from $600.and up. See Services and Fees for more details on the process.
3. How long does it take to get a design?
A simple project could take a few days and a complex one several months. One of the biggest factors is how frequently you can meet and how involved you want to be in the design process. If you have a special event coming up that you want the garden to be ready for, let me know and we can work with you to meet your deadline.
4. What if I don’t like something you suggest?
Our first role is to listen to what you want and help you develop a plan to achieve that vision. We often make a variety of suggestions and draw up several different versions of an idea. The goal is to find the best solution and that means throwing out ideas. The process is collaborative. We don’t have a single “look” that we impose on clients.
5. What happens when the design is ready to be installed?
As a licensed landscape contractor, we will provide you with a complete bid package for the project and we can help you locate any specialty contractors (if the design involves complex elements). We can help you evaluate bids and negotiate details, if needed. As part of our design fee, we meet with the contractor, go over the design, and walk the site to answer any questions. We are also available during the installation process for specific questions. In some cases, our clients prefer that we handle the installation fully, and in that case, we can prepare an additional bid to serve as a project manager. We only work with licensed and insured contractors and check to make sure all documents are on file for each of them. We have a successful track record of projects that were completed on time to the client’s complete satisfaction. As project managers we coordinate all the scheduling of the individual contractors so the process runs smoothly, and is enjoyable for everyone involved.
6. What happens after a design is finished and installed?
As your designer-contractor, we are happy to remain on call for questions that may arise about specific plants or features of a new landscape as it settles in. For most clients, a landscape is a major investment, and one they want to develop and extend over time. Landscapes are also dynamic and ever changing (as are our lives). We are happy to provide follow-up consultations, help clients select and purchase individual plants to add to their landscape, or assist in the case of a real estate sale or purchase. We view each design as the beginning of a long-term relationship, one that builds and deepens over time. We also provide a full service maintenance program of specialty gardening for many of our clients. At the time of the installation we can discuss the on going maintenance of your garden. We will provide you with an information sheet regarding fertilizing, pest control and the best times for trimming and pruning. We provide a follow up walk through at 3 months if we are not providing the maintenance and we are a phone call away if you have any questions about your garden.
We hope the above question and answer list provided you with a good look at what is involved in designing a new garden for your home and how the process is brought to completion. With each client we submit a Design Proposal, which is tailored to your specific needs and requests and lists what services we will provide and what the Design Package will cost.
Please give us a call and let us know how we can bring the ‘Great Outdoors’ into your garden.