A design project begins in one of 2 ways:
- You’ve requested a free get-acquainted meeting; or
- You’ve requested a consulting / coaching visit.
Below you’ll find detailed information about how a landscape design projects works, start-to-finish.
Free get-acquainted meeting. You might choose this option to hear about my services, see more of my portfolio, and ask me questions. I will also ask you questions about what you want for your landscape. We will likely take a brief tour of your property.
This get-acquainted meeting is not a design meeting, and I will not give concrete design ideas. I will speak in generalities such as a patio going here, the veggie area there, or make comments about what I’m seeing maybe isn’t working as well as it could be.
The get-acquainted meeting is for you to become comfortable with me, and for me to get enough information from you to make a good estimate. People interested in having a drawn design plan are most likely to schedule a free get-acquainted meeting.
Consultation / Coaching Visit. You might choose this option to hear my design ideas before you select me for your project. Consult / Coaching is a paid service. Read about cost. Read about this service. During consulting / coaching, I very often get enough information from you to make a landscape design estimate (in case you decide you want a drawn plan). But if I don’t, I will shift our visit to the free get-acquainted meeting where I will also show my portfolio samples and go over the levels of design service, and of course, that part of our meeting is free.
Usually, within a couple days of the initial free meeting or paid consulting / coaching visit, I will send a written estimate to you via email. Once you receive the estimate, you can reject it, have me tweak it to your satisfaction, or accept it as is. Estimates are good for 30 days after which they expire and would need to be re-written (unless I tell you otherwise).
If you accept the estimate, you’ll print it, indicate your acceptance (as instructed on the document), sign it (after which it becomes our contract), and mail me the document and a deposit (check) of 1/2 of the lower estimate range amount. If you reject the estimate, we simply go our separate ways.
After receiving your deposit and signed contract, I will get in touch to schedule your project. During March through September, it is common for me to have commitments as much as 4 weeks out. You will have been told approximately how long you’ll have to wait for my services at our first meeting. But I will firm up an actual start date at this time. I will also email you with a links to my Knowledge Base (dropbox and website) so you can start getting smarter in whatever way best suits your needs.
I can finish a design project (once it is measured) in about 2 weeks. But as is very often the case, our schedules may not be in sync for the project to progress that quickly (though it can happen more quickly in some instances). Holidays, vacations, work. These things get in the way of the meetings. I’ll do my best to finish as soon as possible. A more realistic project duration seems to be closer to 4 weeks.
If I feel unclear about your desires (particularly if it has taken a long time to get your project started, as is common in summer), I may schedule a refresher meeting.
Then, I will come photograph your site, contemplate design options, and measure (which could be the same day as this second meeting). Ordinarily, you need not be present for my photo/measuring visit unless your property is locked. Then I go to my studio and design.
Occasionally I run into issues once I start designing. Perhaps I see that what I initially proposed to you, in fact, would not be the best design solution. Or maybe I’ll have questions about some legal issue like property lines, right of ways or underground utilities. If such issues hamper my ability to design as we’ve agreed in our contract, I’ll want to meet with you to discuss these developments before I proceed.
Depending on my workload, I should have a preliminary concept plan ready to show you within a few days. We will meet to review my concept for your project. If I am choosing plants for you, I’ll show plant photos. You will have a chance to give additional input about everything.
This meeting generally takes 2-3 hours depending on the scope of the project and how much detail you’ve requested. You likely will have questions, particularly if you will be doing much of your own installation. A lot of this meeting is consulting / coaching — education.
Most clients feel comfortable seeing the concept drawing, hearing the rationale for my design decisions, giving me some of their input, then having me go back to my studio and finish up their plan. Some, however, feel the need to think about the preliminary concept for a while, looking over the drawing, walking their lot, then meeting with me again to discuss any concerns before I proceed. If you want me to leave the preliminary concept drawing with you after this meeting, I will require payment for my time to date (if it has surpassed what you paid as a deposit).
Once you approve the concept drawing (and any alterations we discuss at the concept meeting), I will return to my studio and finish up your design.
If for any reason there are extra costs along the way, I will make sure you approve them before they are incurred. Along with your estimate, you’ll receive my Services / Procedures document. It explains most situations that will occur during the course of your project.
Note: A Site Analysis sketch does not include this concept meeting. Essentially, a site analysis shows the best locations for the variety of uses you propose to do with your lot. It shows you what ambient features are good and bad, which may help you be more realistic about use, design, plant selection, and budget. It is just me giving you information and resources, so you can make some decisions.
Within another week or so (depending our our mutual schedules), I will schedule the final meeting at which time you’ll receive the final hardcopy drawing(s), the invoice, and an email with link(s) to my Knowledge Base where you’ll find files specific to your project. (See Landscape Design for details about each design service and what you get specific to your project.)
This meeting is generally shorter than the concept review meeting because we’ve already discussed design nuances and plant selection. I will just go over all the symbols and legends and lists, take you on a tour of the drawing. If you will need to stage installation in more manageable bits, we’ll go over that as well.
Payment in full is due at the end of this final meeting. At this time I take personal checks and cash.