• Initial
  • Rough
  • Site
  • Landscape
  • Master
  • Project

The first and most important step of the landscape design process is to do a ‘walk through’ of the property to discover your preferences for:

  • The ‘look’ or style’ as well as any design philosophy (i.e. a sustainable landscape is important to you)
  • The functional requirements (e.g. family size/party size will determine hard surface area needs)
  • Your maintenance threshold – are you a dedicated gardener with the time to indulge your hobby, or a busy commuter who just wants to enjoy the view?

During the initial consultation we will also discuss costs. Do you have a budget for your landscape? Will you be implementing it in phases? Typically, an appropriate landscape will cost from 5% to 20% of the value of the house.

The rough sketch is a ‘not-to-scale’, bird’s-eye-view drawing of the area under consideration.  It is essentially a rough concept that can get you started in terms of location of patio(s), walkways, steps, planting areas, turf, key plant types, etc.

The artist's sketch is a good starting point for the ‘do-it-yourself’ landscaper. However, it is not a working drawing, nor can your landscape contractor quote you from it. This will be left with the client – along with any relevant notes from the meeting.

If you are going forward with more detailed planning, a thorough site analysis is required.  This involves the following steps:

  • Measurement of the house – including size and placement of windows and doors – and the property boundaries. (A survey showing the house situated on the lot, if made available, saves time and helps ensure an accurate base plan)
  • An inventory of existing features that are to remain. This can include plant material (to remain in place or be transplanted), existing architectural features (e.g. gazebo, swimming pool, etc.)
  • Measurement of existing grades to establish existing drainage patterns and to determine adjustments if required
  • Identification of desirable and undesirable sight lines
  • Examination of sun/wind exposure that create different micro-climates throughout your property
  • Soil samples to discover sub-surface drainage characteristics and any soil modification that may be required.
  • Digital photos of important sight lines, features, etc.

The landscape concept is a scaled plan view drawing with perspective views to help you visualize the finished landscape.

The landscape concept shows the actual location and size of the key structural features of the landscape – the ‘bones’ of the garden.  This may include patio(s), walkways, decks, planting areas with key plant types (e.g. Tall Deciduous Tree, Mixed Perennials, etc.), turf,  play areas, vegetable garden, storage, water features (including swimming pools), fencing, etc.

The landscape concept will also include proposed grades in order to establish an appropriate drainage pattern and to define grade changes such as retaining walls and steps. This will be presented to you to ensure that the proposed landscape meets all your needs in terms of style, functionality and sustainability. It will be revised as required at this meeting.

If asked, Don will provide a budget range for the concept based on his understanding of the current going rates for landscape construction/planting.

If we are moving on to a master plan, we will discuss plant choices, colour schemes, material choices (e.g. pavers, natural stone, etc.), installation sequence and phases, etc.

The master plan is a detailed scale landscape plan including all plants labelled and a complete plant list with proposed sizes, all structures and hard surfaces, water retention features, outdoor lighting fixtures, water features, turf areas and spot elevations. 

The master plan includes sections (cut-a-way view) or elevations (front on view) where desired, to help picture the finished product and/or facilitate the construction of selected features. One set of revisions will be done, if required. This is a working drawing.

The master plan is what the landscape crew will use to install your landscape.

Project management is the final stage of the process to ensure that your landscape plan is transformed into the outdoor living space that you and Don envision.

Project management can include any or all of the following:

  • Preparing plans, construction details and specifications
  • Issuing ‘Request for Quotation’ to reputable landscape contractors and sub-trades
  • Notify your neighbours about the work to be performed and provide them with my contact information in case they have any concerns
  • Acting as liaison between you and the contractor to address and resolve any concerns
  • Inspecting ongoing work on a regular basis as your representative to ensure optimum quality
  • Being on call to make adjustments as required so that the work can proceed in a timely manner and that quality is not compromised
  • Reporting to you on a regular basis as to the progress of the project
  • Acting as your representative during the warranty period to address any ongoing issues

The whole purpose of project management is to ensure an exceptional outcome and a stress free experience for you – the client.