Landscape Design Construction Processes
What is the Design/Build Process?
Landscaping can be a significant investment. We feel that with the right team, the design/build approach is the most efficient and cost effective means to an exceptional landscape design. The design/build approach carries a landscaping project from the conceptual idea stage all the way through to completion and even maintenance, using the same team. Our mission is to work in harmony to craft a design solution that will enhance the beauty and value of our customer’s home or business, all while delivering the project on time and on budget. Therefore, we embrace the design build process for a variety of reasons.
The design/build process brings all of the experts into one cohesive team, in our case, consisting of a project manager, landscape architect, and installation crew. The team can then develop and collectively review the project during conceptual stages, allowing for project challenges to be resolved before the project begins because everything is being considered, from which materials best suit the landscape to how to install those materials flawlessly. With all experts working together, accurate cost estimates and realistic construction schedules can be provided to the client. When working with one large team, there is a single source of accountability. The customer only needs to communicate their desires with one person regarding all aspects of the project, and then the team leader will communicate with the entire design and build team. Overall, the design/build process ensures the client precise and timely completion of functional, practical, and creative designs that are on budget.
Phase One: Design Consultation
Our process begins with an on-site design consultation with a representative of TruNorth Landscaping. Our licensed Landscape Architect and our General Manager bring over sixty years of combined experience in design, construction, and landscape maintenance. Our goal during this meeting is to get to know our client and their dreams or wishes for their property. This consultation provides us with an opportunity to first listen to the various landscape elements the customer desires in their ideal design, but to also exchange ideas that may reveal other design considerations. Our inquiries during this consultation will allow us to create a unique design, crafted specifically to fit the individual needs, lifestyle, and property of each client. Finally, we will spend time discussing budget. It is an important component that we do not take lightly. Our intention is to present our customers with a beautiful plan that meets their individual budget. With our years of experience, we can provide various cost saving alternatives to consider without sacrificing the design. It is our goal to honor our client’s time, exceed their desires, and show them how a creative landscape design can become a reality within their budget.
Phase Two: Conceptual Design
The conceptual design phase begins with a survey of the property and the gathering of site specific information. A Plat of Survey of the property and/or architectural plans are very helpful in allowing us to prepare accurate base drawings of the existing conditions. If this information is not available, we will take the necessary measurements to ensure an accurate design can be prepared, while accounting for all of the existing conditions. This may include locating other accessory structures, existing trees, other existing plant materials, site drainage patterns, solar orientation, finish floor elevations, and walk-out basement elevations when applicable to accommodate drainage and grade changes during the design phase. As designers, we are inherently influenced by the architectural style and details of a customer’s home, and they will be an influence on our design and may become an element that is woven within the landscape theme for a home.
With the acquired base information, we begin the design of the landscape concept. The plan is a reflection of our customer’s desires, designed in harmony with the realities and existing conditions of the property. The plan may be relatively simple, such as a small courtyard area, or it could be a larger plan, such as a comprehensive master plan of a large estate. In conjunction with completing the design of the landscape concept, we also prepare a budget outline of the associated project costs.
Finally, we will review the concept plan and budget outline with the customer, highlighting the features requested during the initial meeting, explaining the nuances of our design concept, discussing the various hard surface material and color selection options available, and providing an overview of plant material selection. While reviewing the plans, the client’s input is vital and used for the refinement of the design. Part of our process also involves exploring other alternatives, in order to answer the ‘what if’ questions of our customers. After meeting, any necessary revisions will be made, the construction drawings prepared, and details given to our installation crews.
Phase Three: Construction Drawings and Contract Proposal
Construction drawings vary greatly between projects and may include, but are not limited to: hard surface layout, grading, drainage, framing, planting, irrigation, and lighting layout plans, as well as critical details, cross-section, elevations, and planting schedules. During this time, we are also reviewing various hard surface material and color samples with the customer for final approval. The next step will involve the customer’s final review of construction drawings and presentation of our proposal for intended work. Once we have a signed contract, we will place the project on our construction schedule.
Phase Four: Installation
The installation of the design will be supervised by the Project Manager and/or Landscape Architect. They will be in contact with the foreman and installation crew throughout the construction period. In many cases, the Project Manager and/or Landscape Architect will be on site at key times during the construction, working with the crews to ensure every detail is addressed per plan.
Phase Five: Maintenance
The first couple of years are the most difficult for transplanted trees and shrubs. Our maintenance experts can help ensure the livelihood of the new plantings and lawn, so the client can begin enjoying the space immediately. Maintenance plans are able to be customized, and we take in to consideration plant and lawn fertilization, plant protection, disease management, pruning, and spring/fall cleanups. Our goal is to keep your landscape in optimal health and maintain its beautiful appearance.