Why a Landscape Plan is Important
Would you trust anyone to remodel your house based on a mere 15 minute sketch? The same is true for your yard. Functional and beautiful landscapes add value not only to your home but also your lifestyle, but the keyword here is functional. Generally, when a yard is well landscaped it is should have a lifespan of 20+ years. So the landscape plan is an investment that should stand the test of time. It is virtually impossible to get that kind of return from
someone who doesn’t understand how different spaces, much less different plants, need to work together to create a whole. Alas, there are a lot of landscapes that look exactly the same here in town with the only variable being a different yard. A quality landscape design doesn’t follow a formula, and should be individualized to your site, house, wants and needs. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t understand the process involved in developing a successful landscape plan and end up skimping on the plan and within 2-3 years they need to rework the yard and it becomes a vicious cycle.This doesn’t need to happen.
Many times I will have an initial meeting with people, and once they show me around they expect an instant description of exactly what I would do in their yard. While I may throw out some thoughts on what could or should happen, you should be very concerned if someone can tell you exactly what they would do at that point, because not only are they stifling any creativity on their part (because at that point they are done thinking about your yard) but they are definitely short changing your project. Let’s talk about the process. There are many aspects to a successful landscape plan, functionality, space planning, appropriate material selection, budget, architectural detailing as well as correct plant selections. The best way to start is meeting with the clients to discuss how they want to use their yard. We talk about wants/needs and likes/dislikes, budget limitations etc. After that happens, I spend some time playing around with the different elements that they have requested, both on the drawing board and away by letting ideas filter through my brain at their own pace (no charge for filtering:). After knowing the direction in which I want to proceed, I develop rough sketches until I end up with something I like, that I feel works well with their requirements. Many times my first ideas have drastically changed by the time final product is presented. Then I usually meet with clients again to review these ideas, and at that point we may make changes or go ahead to complete the plans. The final plan needs to contain specific information regarding the construction of any hardscape, plants sizes, finishes etc. so whether you do-it-yourself or have a contractor install it all the information is clear and well presented. Landscape plans are very helpful when putting out your project out to bid, this way you can compare apples to apples versus getting multiple bids on multiple sketches and not really being sure of the differences in each.
I also get a lot of calls from potential clients only wanting a plan for part of their yard. The best advice I can give, is to do a complete plan and complete the installation in phases rather than vice versa. A landscape plan needs to flow, connect different spaces together and that isn’t usually as successful when broken down into bits and pieces. Usually you end up with a yard that looks and functions like it had been thought about in bits and pieces. Especially if a different designer is used for each part. Also, be very honest about your budget, this will be to your benefit as time is not wasted over or under designing your project. A good landscape plan will allow you to get the most for your money. A good designer will find creative ways to incorporate the items you want within your budget.
A quality landscape plan is well thought out, individualized to your wants and needs, an outdoor extension to your home that can stand the test of time. Yes, there is an initial investment, but wouldn’t it be nice to escape the cycle and just do it once and be able to enjoy your yard for years to come?
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