How about a majestic view of an idyllic bay? If you dare to dream big you can come closer than you imagine.
Most homeowners accept less than they want from their landscape design because they don’t understand how the process should work.
Don’t worry about your needs and wants too much. They will evolve as you progress through the landscape design process, but if you follow these six steps they will magically come together.
None of this is possible without a solid foundation that begins with you.
One of the keys to success is compatibility with the designer. He or she should involve you with the process.
A designer is not designing for you as much as she is with you.
Of course, you have to want to be involved. You have to work.
This means showing up prepared and staying with the project to see it through. If you are not prepared to do this you results will be less than optimal.
This is a major investment you are planning to make, regardless of the size of the project. For it to reflect your personality and style you have to do research, make decisions. speak up, and challenge your designer.
You have to be a team player while also knowing what you want and don’t want.
Life is experienced by contrast and there are layers of relativity to that. Keep that thought in mind because it applies to everything, including style, flexibility, and space.
As you get comfortable with that concept you will indeed realize that you can get everything you want.
#1. Money Isn’t Everything
You can quickly notice a design that was driven by an unlimited budget and little thought to design.
The elements are out of place and out of scale. Pools and spas are grandiose and consume much of the space. They seem to be curiosity elements to look at but nothing that anyone would want to use.
Design is more art than science.
It follows principles that are consistent from one design discipline to another. The first of those is thoroughly understanding your space, the canvas that you have to work with.
#2. Understand The Extended Space
You cannot begin your project without a legal plat of survey. If you do the problems you may encounter down the road could be crushing. It’s important to know it’s orientation, what’s north and south. If that is not clear you cannot proceed further until you nail it down.
Next is to understand its boundaries and the elements within the space, starting with your home and extending beyond to include offsite elements. Look further than adjacent properties because sounds, sights, and smells, to name a few, will impact your enjoyment of your outdoor living.
The best way to do this is to walk around the space. Pull up a chair and sit there for a while, if not hours, and at different times of the day and night.
Soak up everything you can because the more you know the better prepared you are to use the space well.
#3. Always Show Up Prepared
One of the first questions a designer will ask you is, “What do you like?”
Most people will begin answering with the elements they have dreamed of enjoying. This may be an outdoor kitchen patio area with a pergola and firepit, or merely a beautiful landscape that enhances the home.
You know yourself better than anyone. If you come prepared with ideas, especially and including photos, then you will have the beginnings of a productive conversation.
In doing your research consider what energizes you. What makes you feel good almost all of the time? Is it reading a book or enjoying a sports event.
This informs the designer. It gives her clues.
#4. Everything Is Possible
One of the most enjoyable aspects of landscape designing is the challenge of getting the impossible.
It happens all of the time.
You may think your property is too small or your budget limited but don’t let that stop you from asking for what you want.
The best designers love the challenge of finding ways to make the impossible happen.
The more you push them the better the process will go. This approach works because now everyone is becoming clear about what you really want.
#5. Prioritize with Flexibility In Mind
What you have just done is begun to prioritize your needs and wants. If you had started the conversation by saying you absolutely needed an in-ground spa to accommodate 10 people, there is a good chance everything else would have been compromised to make that happen.
It’s important to pause a moment to completely understand what happened here.
You showed up to the first appointment with a list of ideas, likes and dislikes, potential themes and so on. Your sense of style and lifestyle gradually came out of that conversation.
The designer collected everything and began to sort it out. Over the course of several meetings, the rough design came together until it hit a major roadblock after several bumps in the road.
Give and take is what makes the design process work. It’s the only way to get everything you want. What happens here affects what works over there.
That brings us back to the obstacle that seems to have everything stuck. The apparent solution is seldom the right one. More often it’s getting creative with the problem.
- A waterfall with a stream becomes a dry stream that creates visual movement but is safe for pets.
- The 10 person spa is downsized but with extra perimeter seating to accommodate everyone.
- Water is designed to drain under a stone patio rather than over it to minimze the growth of weeds and moss.
- Privacy is accomplished with a series of hedges with trees interplanted to conceal that intention.
- A beautiful stone feature with lighting is introduced to become a focal point that pulls the eye away from an undesirable view.
#6. Experience It Live Before Construction
A common joke among landscape designers is that the pre-construction walk-through is to show the customer what they think they bought. There is a degree of truth to that comment despite detailed drawings and design software models.
For this reason, before signing on the line that is dotted you should have the designer walk you through the entire design before committing to its construction. This is especially true if there are significant elements such as swimming pools involved.
It’s advisable to mark key landscape elements with stakes and set finish elevations with string lines.
You would not be the first to have a swimming pool installed either too shallow or too deep. It happens and can be a costly mistake that will require significant rework to fix.
#7. Understand The Process
The seventh and final step to getting everything you want from your landscape design is discovering and thoroughly understanding the process used by the company you hire.
This final step should be at the top of the list but it is here for a reason.
You now have the makings of a successful landscape design process in front of you. From the beginning up until you are expected to sign a construction contract you know what to do.
Now that you are armed with this you can confidently move forward.
You know that you will have to work to get what you want and can eliminate companies that are not willing to do the same for you.
We would love to help you get everything you want from your landscape design.