I work closely with each client to create a space that integrates well with the property. As Russell Page would say a garden should have a ‘sense of unity and inevitability’. The process of creating a custom landscape design can take various paths and evolves out of a collaborative process between designer and client. The following represents an outline of the typical stages.
I visit the existing site and get a comprehensive understanding of your particular needs and desires for the garden. Your lifestyle and what you intend to use the space for figures into the equation. Following this meeting, I prepare a written design brief that includes the proposed design fees and Terms. Once you accept the design proposal, work on the project begins.
Every project begins with an accurate survey of the site, conducted either by me or a commissioned professional surveyor. A photographic survey is conducted. A soil test is sometimes required. If trees are in need of assessment, I have access to a team of ISA Certified Arborists with whom I work on a regular basis. Detailed measurements are taken of the house, garden boundaries, levels, and existing features. The resulting scale drawing of your existing garden will be the basis from which all Design Plans will develop.
Having gained a good understanding of your requirements and the nature of the site, I produce a preliminary Design Plan drawn to scale. This is presented through pencil sketch plans denoting the proposed layout. This plan may be supplemented with perspective sketches and/or elevation drawings. A mood board is produced, which is a selection of photographs compiled of potential plant materials, architectural components, and colors. These drawings serve as a springboard for discussion, allowing me to present my ideas and providing you with the opportunity to talk about any modifications you might wish me to consider. This process ensures that the designer’s vision is inclusive of your requirements. Any revisions and changes are agreed upon at this stage.
Once the preliminary design ideas are approved by you, ensuring that your modifications have been integrated, work begins on the Master Plan. This consists of a detail scale drawing showing all the elements of the design. It shows the position of the proposed hardscaping, levels, planting areas, architectural components, and any auxiliary garden structures.
The Master Plan determines which supplemental technical drawings for the project will be required to execute the garden build. One example is a Setting Out Plan, which gives the contractor accurate measurements for the garden layout. In addition, construction drawings for hardscaping and garden structures may be included, in addition to a lighting plan. These drawings along with the Master Plan are the basis from which various contractors will bid on the project and build the garden.
The Planting Plan consists of a scale drawing showing the location and spacing of all the plants, both new and existing. In addition to this, I produce a Plant Schedule which lists all plant names, sizes and quantities. In combination, these documents are used for costing, ordering and setting out of plants as specified in the design.
The drawings and any necessary specifications for the build are given to the relevant contractors. They in turn provide a bid for the respective components of the scope of works for the project. I can recommend reliable contractors with whom I have worked. Alternatively you may propose other professionals with whom you are familiar. I can collate the bids and provide you with a cost breakdown for the garden build indicating the phases in which it can be installed. I can coordinate and oversee the project's scope of works from start to completion. This will ensure that the garden is built according to specification.
I have been working with some of the best nurseries in the Midwest and beyond. I am able to source excellent quality nursery stock. I can supply you with all the plants and set them out according to plans. For large scale installations, I work with a crew overseeing and managing the planting process.
In the earlier stages of the design process, I will have found out what degree of involvement you prefer for the on-going care of your garden. The successful maturation of any newly planted design depends on the quality of attention it is given. Based on your needs there are diverse levels of support services that I can offer you, that range from coaching you in garden care to regular garden maintenance offered by my team. (This range of options can be discussed when we meet.)