Every project is unique and requires a different approach to design. Whether working to develop a home garden, institutional master plan, landscape maintenance guidelines or strategic plan, we use the most appropriate methodology and produce the best design, based on the particulars of the site and client. In most instances, our design process follows six general steps:
STEP 1: Inventory, Analysis & Initial Consultation
Each project begins through the process of inquiry in an effort to understand and describe the design challenge at hand. For residential projects, we typically provide any new client with an initial consultation that is performed as a free service and lasts up to two hours. At this point, we will visit the site together, observe and document its attributes and discuss the project goals. For more complex projects, such as public facilities and commercial spaces, we might develop an inventory and analysis document to understand a site and its context and develop a user program wherein the project goals are outlined.
STEP 2: Schematic Design
Based on the user goals that are discussed during the initial consultation, we work to create three distinct schematic concepts. These concepts explore various spatial configurations as well as different levels of cost. Precedent studies are often evaluated and shared with the client for additional feedback. At the end of the Schematic Design phase, we meet with the client to review the concepts, discuss their merits and shortcomings and arrive at a singular design direction for further refinement.
STEP 3: Design Development
This phase narrows the three initial schemes into a single design concept, based on the client’s feedback. We refine the details and materials palette and develop a more detailed cost estimate, then meet with the client for final design review and approval.
STEP 4: Construction Documentation
Following the Design Development review, the final design will have been determined. Construction Documentation involves drafting the design and developing drawings that a contractor can use in order to construct the scheme. Documentation typically includes a layout and materials plan, planting plan, design details and written specifications. If the client wants to obtain multiple competitive bids from contractors, we will assist in the management of this procurement process.
STEP 5: Construction Administration
This is in many ways the most critical step in the process and one that is often overlooked. During construction, we help oversee the landscape installation in order to ensure that it is built per the client’s vision. We are also available to visit the project site at critical milestones to inspect the quality of work and respond to contractor inquiries. We can visit regional nurseries and material vendors to select the most critical elements for the project.
STEP 6: Maintenance and Stewardship
Landscapes are living systems that evolve and change over time, reaching maturity only after many years have passed. All gardens require guidance and periodic editing – adding things here, subtracting things there – in order to achieve their full potential over time. After a project is constructed, we highly recommend that a client continue to engage our services in limited increments for seasonal maintenance consultations in order to help guide the landscape into its mature state.