- Complete Design — A to-scale, full-color, computer-generated drawing with hardscape elements and most plants selected for you.
- Concept Sketch — A hand-drawn, sketch that can be very useful as you are evaluating your site’s features that will affect your design choices. It is almost always used in conjunction with Consulting / Coaching. Such a drawing can help you remember the design ideas we talked about during our visit, and I usually draw it as part of the visit (rather than going back to my studio to do the work).
[/su_list] For more detailed information about each type of design listed above (including Who Chooses This Type of Design & What You Get), and examples of both types of design, choose an item below.
Two Types of Design
[su_accordion][su_spoiler title=”Complete Design” style=”simple”] This type of design is comprehensive. It defines the landscape’s structure, function, and most of the plants. For Complete Design, I select plants using the tried and true design principle of thirds — 1/3 evergreens, 1/3 deciduous woody plants, and 1/3 perennials and/or annuals. This approach provides 4 seasons of interest and has positive ecological implications as well. I utilize the right plant / right place principle for design and plant selection which helps lower maintenance and, again, has positive ecological implications.
Complete Design is an option for clients who don’t want to make many decisions about design or plant selection. However, in most cases you will make a few decisions for yourself, like plant size and specific building materials. These things affect how much money you will spend for installation, and I prefer to stay out of your pocketbook in such matters.
Another thing I usually leave to the client is selection of ground cover and flowers (perennials, annuals, and bulbs), though I show graphically on the final plan where such things should be located. Some people choose to omit the flowers and ground cover altogether. Doing so sometimes gives a simpler look which may or may not translate into lower maintenance. It will depend on your tolerance for doing manual weeding or using chemicals (which I do not recommend). You will get access to plant lists in my Knowledge Base to help you decide. But if you don’t feel completely competent choosing plants, you can schedule Consulting / Coaching for assistance.
But if you really want a turn-key design where you don’t have to make any decisions at all, you could have me just choose what I like. I love doing that! Truly, that is the only way to get a designer’s design. But seriously, I have found that most clients actually want to make decisions about the things noted in the previous few paragraphs.
In my practice, I focus heavily on education. As such, during the course of the project, I will go over the elements you will need to decide for yourself, and give you tips on how to make informed choices. My Knowledge Base can help you make the flower and ground cover choices. And if you have contractors do both installation and maintenance, then you can just ignore all of my educational resources.
Who Chooses Complete Design?
- Clients who want me to choose most of the plants
- Clients who want most design details clearly defined
- Clients who will have a contractor do all or most of the installation
- DIYers like Complete Design, too, because they just have to follow the plan
What You Get with Complete Design
- 22″x34″, full-color, hard copy of base plan and planting plan. PDF version of both plans.
- Separate plant list. Most plant names will also appear on planting plan, but the separate list is helpful when sending the project out to bid before installation.
- Access to my Knowledge Base. About 1 GB of horticulture and DIY information, and my categorized plant lists & plant photos to help you help yourself. Read more about my Knowledge Base.
- Information that is specific to your project that may include such things as: collection of photos — plants and style samples (when available); all photos I’ve taken of your property.
Your estimate will state exactly what is included in your design package.
[/su_spoiler] [su_spoiler title=”Concept Sketch” style=”simple”] This type of design is useful at the early planning stage of a new, or old, landscape. A Concept Sketch can help you evaluate a site’s features which may affect design choices. My clients use this type of design to help them wrap their brain around reality. What they want vs what they can afford. What they want vs what Mother Nature will allow on their plot of ground.
A Concept Sketch is generally a planning aid, not an end product. Many clients start with it, spend some time coming to grips with the reality issues, then have me expand or change the plan into Complete Design (if they decide it’s best to leave most of the decisions to me). Or, they make good use of my Knowledge Base, maybe do some Consulting / Coaching with me, and finish the design and do their installation on their own.
Who Chooses Concept Sketch?
- Budget-minded DIYers who want to install in stages or over a longer period of time
- Competent gardeners and DIYers who know gardening & plants but not art & design
- Clients at the very beginning of a design project who are looking for a reality check
- Clients who want to team their design project with Consulting / Coaching in order to learn about plant selection, placement, and other gardening practices
- Clients who need HOA (or some other sort of) approval
- Clients who want enough information to get an general hardscape installation estimate (so that they can moderate expectations if need be). Most install contractors won’t give an estimate without seeing a design of some sort.
What You Get with Concept Sketch
Most packages include:
- A not-to-scale, 8.5″ x 11″, hand-drawn, black-and-white, hard copy sketch.
- Access to my Knowledge Base. About 1 GB of horticulture and DIY information, and my categorized plant lists & photos to help you help yourself.
- Information that is specific to your project that would be what I’d provide for you for a regular Consulting / Coaching visit; any photos I’ve taken of your property.
I don’t usually make estimates for Concept Sketch because they are drawn while you wait as part of a Consulting / Coaching visit, but if I do make an estimate, it will state exactly what is included in your design package. [/su_spoiler][su_spoiler title=”Side-by-Side Comparison of Design Services” style=”simple”]
[table caption=”” width=”600″ colwidth=”150|150|150|150″ colalign=”left|center|center”],Concept Sketch,Complete Design
Short Description of this service,Defines concept for landscape’s structure and function in a general way; usually no specific plants chosen,”Completely and specifically defines landscape’s structure, function, & most plants”
Physical plan,8.5″ x 11″,22″ x 34″
Digital version of plan,No,Yes
Choosing plants,None or very few,Designer chooses most
Plant list (see item below),No,Yes
Access to Knowledge Base which includes many plant lists,Yes,Yes
Photos from your site,Maybe,Yes
Your budget,Tight,More Generous
Your timeline,Over time,Over time / Immediately
Who will installation,DIY,DIY / contractor
Good for HOA approval or install estimate,Maybe,Yes
Your planning stage,Early; explore options; get a reality check,Any time; just want to get it done
You want designer to make most decisions,No,Yes
You want to learn more about gardening,Yes / Maybe,Yes / Maybe[/table][/su_spoiler][/su_accordion]
No matter which type of design you choose, your project is as unique as you are, and not all fit tidily within the bounds of a single service. I can generally customize a project to suit your exact needs. We will discuss your needs at our initial get-acquainted meeting. For what to expect during your design project, see Design Process.