Successful landscape projects require quality designs. This is true whether you are building a simple patio and walkway or an extravagant porch addition, pool, outdoor kitchen, fireplace project. Design is the process of unifying a range of factors including a family’s needs and desires, their budgets, natural elements of the property, and municipal building/zoning regulations. Plans are the designer’s tool for expressing everything from the concepts of the designs to the layout and the construction details. A skilled, professional designer and a quality set of plans will make a project smoother from the permit process though to the finishing details.
The first step is to choose a designer. That choice revolves around a potential candidate’s education, experience, creativity and chemistry. Does the designer have an accredited degree in landscape architecture or a related degree? How many projects has he designed and seen built? Does he have hands on experience with construction materials and techniques? Do examples of his work express a unique creativity in each project? Chemistry is the most important factor in choosing a designer, once you have determined a candidate is generally qualified. Design is a process of working together as a team from start to finish. Look for a designer who really listens to you, respects you, makes you feel comfortable and communicates well with you. Projects can be long and stressful at points, but the right designer will help the whole project go smoothly.
Design is a team effort. It starts with a conversation between client and designer. What are the family’s needs, what are their desires, what design ideas do they have, how do they currently use the spaces. During that initial conversation a designer may throw out some ideas, but the best ideas and true quality design requires a more reflective design process. The designer needs to survey the property and generate a base map of existing conditions, accurate and to scale. With an accurate base map, the design team can work out ideas with a series of trace paper overlays exploring a variety of possible design solutions in order to resolve a successful conceptual design. Once a concept design is complete, the design team can present the ideas to the clients. The clients will provide critical feedback that guides the process of revising designs. And so that cyclical process goes until a final design is resolved.