Experience has shown me that you will be more able to concisely articulate your gardening issues if you spend some time before my visit pondering and even writing down your ideas, desires, problems, etc. Doing this HOMEWORK will help get you focused, which saves you money.
Walk your landscape, ponder and make notes or lists about some or all of the following items as they may pertain to your situation:
- Current landscape likes/dislikes.
- Desired elements for new landscape. Patio/deck, pool, fire feature, vegetable garden, outdoor kitchen, utility storage, walking paths, etc.
- Do you have special needs? Dogs, kids, elderly persons or those with other disabilities.
- Plants you like.
- Plants you dislike.
- Colors, style and decor you like (or dislike).
- Take a field trip (or several) and photograph other landscapes, gardens or nursery vignettes that you love. Print the photos for me to see when I arrive. (Even if you can’t afford what you are drawn to, knowing what you like helps me help you.)
- What would be your ideal landscape if money was no hindrance? Why?
- If you intend maintain your new landscape yourself, assess your tolerance for doing that work. Or decide how much money you can afford to spend to have a contractor maintain it for you. This is one of the most important pieces of information I will need to know about you in order to adequately help you. You need to be brutally honest with yourself on this issue.
- List your specific maintenance, culture, pest questions or concerns.
- Are there pruning issues? Please give me notice if I’m to teach you pruning techniques. I can teach how to prune most ornamental woody plants, but I demonstrate only on trees/shrubs under about 8′ tall. If your trees are larger, I can suggest an arborist to help you.
- Are some plants not thriving?
- Are there drainage issues?
- Anything else?
A few more important things about coaching…
If I’m going to teach you pruning, have the appropriate tools (bypass hand pruners, loppers, hand saw, gloves) available, clean and in good working order. If you don’t have tools, please inform me in advance of our meeting so I can see about supplying them for you. After all, you can’t learn to prune if you don’t DO some pruning.
If I’m going to help with plant placement or container design, have the appropriate tools (spade, shovel, gloves, maybe a tarp), soil, container, water source, etc. ready.
Wear clothing you can get dirty.
I will make a digital voice recording of our visit. The device hears both you and me in our gardening discussion. You will receive the recording via internet after the session. You will also gain access to a huge amount of support materials in my Knowledge Base. See Knowledge Base for more on that.
And though my clients and I agree the voice recording is invaluable, it can occasionally fail (as technology seems to frustratingly do). So, you will need to take some notes, too. And I will be making brief notes of the specific things I want send you after the visit. You will get an email from me after the visit containing a link to where you can download the voice recording as well as where to access to my Knowledge Base.
Amazingly, I don’t know everything about EVERYthing.
There will be questions I can’t answer during our session. Sometimes I am unable to find suitable answers in the quick amount of time dedicated to the visit follow-up. However, for an additional fee (paid at time of session), my normal follow-up can be expanded into a detailed and/or lengthy report (I generally can find answers to most of your questions) complete with photos, plant ID, notes, instructions, sketches, etc.
We can discuss your needs at the end of the consulting/coaching visit, and I’ll tell you how much it will cost for me to prepare such a report (or just make sketches, etc) for you.