Before embarking on the design of your outdoor living space, you should consider the seven most asked questions regarding landscape design.
1. Is landscape design necessary?
I think it's always going to depend on what your project involves. If you're renovating one particular feature in the landscape, it may not be required. Generally, the rule of thumb is if you're planning a project that has two-three or more features, it will always be best to design it. By doing so, you will iron out all the details and make sure everything works together. You will ensure you don't run into any hiccups this way.
2. How much does a design cost?
Cost is going to depend on the complexity of the project but, on average, the residential landscape project can have architectural drawing packages ranging around $5,000 to a simple garden layout ranging around $500. Anywhere between $5,000 and $500 could be what your design package will cost.
3. Will I be able to afford the project?
The phrase that I like to use is, are you going to design to a budget or budget to a design? The distinction is critical. It's going to dictate a lot about your project, about 99% of it in my opinion. If you have an unlimited bank account where you're just going to accommodate design no matter what, then this won’t be a worry. A typical scenario is if your property is a new home or a custom-built home where you're going to roll the landscape project into your mortgage. The sticker shock isn’t as severe as it’s lumped into your financing.
If you're renovating the landscape, often you're going to be designing to a budget. It is essential to understand what your financial ability is in regards to your project and bring the budget to the table. You may have a list of five features but the budget's only going to permit four features. You want to know right away which feature you're going to have to sacrifice before becoming emotionally invested into all five features and being let down in the process.
4. How long does the design process take?
The timeline for design can range considerably. Generally, on the top end of that $5,000 architectural package, you'll probably need about eight weeks to get it done. Now, it can take a little less time or more time, depending on the time of the year or roadblocks. On the flip side, if you're doing a simple garden layout with a designer, it might only take two weeks.
5. Will the design be what I want?
In my opinion, the designer that you pick is the differentiating factor in this question. You should do quite a bit of research to make sure that the designer that you're considering can implement the style that you need once you start to figure out the things that you like. Photos from Pinterest, Houzz or a designer's website will help you do this. If the stars begin to align, more or less what you’re envisioning, then it's probably a good fit to work with the designer.
If there are missing pieces, they can't get the vision together or you can't get the concept together, it might not be the right time. There could also be a disconnect in communication or there's a disconnect in the designer’s ability.
6. How many designs do I get?
I'm going to fall back to the question regarding cost because this can be a significant indicator. Often if you're buying a design package, most of the time you're only going to have one or two revisions included in the upfront cost of the design package. This is key because those design packages that you often buy, the process is more streamlined. It's like building a car on a manufacturer website and you're just clicking the options; usually those packages will be set up that way.
Now, in the architectural space, this is not going to be the case. Often it's just going to be billed per hour and as many revisions as needed because they are complicated. Comparing it to a simple garden layout that you might get for $500, really the wish list comes in the beginning and you're just executing on it. There might be a couple of tweaks maybe that have to be done but not a full round of revisions.
7. Will I like the designer?
This is the last little bit to close this off and this goes back to figuring out if their style is going to work for you. You should have some rapport with your designer for the simple fact that if you don't you run the risk of you not understanding the designer and the designer not understanding you. If any of those two things are happening, you're going to have a hard time communicating, in having your vision created and put into a beautiful piece of art.
You must like the designer. You must love their work and their portfolio. You must like how they've spoken with you, and you like that they can listen to you and re-word what you said to reaffirm that they hear what you're saying. Listening is a crucial factor, and I would say, in working with a designer, you have to be on the same team.
If you can cover all seven topics in your interactions with a designer, I am pretty confident that you're going to have a hassle-free project. All the details will be worked out in the beginning. They might even offer project management or in a company like ours, where we manage the process through and through. You're going to be pleased if you can nail all these topics.
If you have any questions, feel free to send us a message. Have a no-obligation conversation with us about landscape design. If we can't help you, we'll find you someone that can help you.