Planning for design

Sound landscape planning typically follows sequential phases. We have structured our design services around helping our clients through each phase, or on an individual phases as needed.

Design phases:

  1. Initial Meetings + Property Report
  2. Conceptual Design
  3. Schematic Design
  4. Construction Documentation (if required)

Build phases:

  1. Project Management
  2. Installation
  3. Warranty Care + Maintenance

Many of our clients begin the process of re-imagining their home gardens and landscapes with a conceptual design package. A design package includes a thorough analysis and design brief complete with drawings, inspirational references, measurements, recommendations and plant suggestions.

The magic of a design package is rooted in the process itself; resulting in an artifact that draws upon the potential of the site and the ideas of the client.  This is an collaborative effort that incorporates client feedback and iterations. Formulating a long-term, comprehensive plan for a landscape brings unity and vision to a garden.

Having a complete design in hand prior to engaging with contractors is a tactical tool for getting accurate bids and avoiding costly construction mistakes. 

The deliverables for the Conceptual Design Package are:

1. Design Brief articulating the clients’ goals and aspirations, needs and concerns, particular interests and tastes; plus, the general concept of the finished landscape, its key components, how it is to be cared for, and how features in the existing landscape may be conserved.*

2. Site Plan communicating the overall vision for new landscape, showing all finished landscape features, zones, processes, utilities, and planting motifs.

3. Construction Timeline describing installation process broken into phases for budget planning and project coordination moving forward.

* Some projects will benefit from a Site Evaluation, an extra step prior to conceptual design to explore and record site characteristics, and identification of opportunities that will have significant bearing on the overall vision. 

The standard price of the Conceptual Design Package is $2000, but can increase depending on scope & complexity. We always state our fees prior to starting work and are happy to work within your budget.

With a Conceptual Design complete, Schematic Design Development is often a necessary next step toward project installation.

The Schematic Design Phase brings landscape elements and relationships into crisper detail, and will typically focus on design of ‘construction-ready’ built forms and techniques.

Deliverables for Schematic Design Package include:

  1. List of specified construction elements to be contained in the Schematic Design Package
  2. 3D digital site model of existing and new buildings, landscape features and finished grade elevations
  3. 3D digital models of each specified construction element
  4. Materials List plus preliminary collection of material samples
  5. Detailed Plant List of tree, shrub, perennial, and turf plants suggested for the project

Schematic Design fees:

Pricing this phase of the design process can be tricky because projects vary so widely in scale and scope. Pricing design development at $300 per landscape element is a way to set a cost estimate. For example, if a Conceptual Design for a single family residence that calls for an outdoor living room (1) with fireplace (2), a kids’ play space (3), and a veggie garden (4), with the rest of the landscape being resolved simply with planting and small, thematic edits. The price for schematic design for such a project would be around $1200. Larger more involved projects understandably tend to require more budget for this stage of design development.

Schematic Design Packages



Design FAQ

How do we get started?
First site meeting is complementary. Simply schedule an initial consultation and fill out a Client Questionnaire online. This introductory meeting is a conversation and a tour of the property to discuss the needs and the creative potential of the project.

After this first meeting, Britton prepares an email which:

  1. Reviews important points from the meeting and articulates project goals, needs, and opportunities
  2. Offers a proposal for a Conceptual Design Package, with a statement of deliverables and fees for this design work
  3. Arranges follow-up site visits and design meetings as necessary

What is the timeline?
Conceptual and Schematic design packages typically take 4-6 weeks to complete, including client meetings and iterations.

Budgeting for design
Clients will often not have a budget in mind for their landscape project, or are hesitant to discuss landscape construction and design fees. We make this topic less mysterious by clearly stating our fees upfront and working on your behalf during the design phase to design a landscape plan that fits within any budget and long-term installation plan.

In general, traditional landscape and site development costs are around 10% of the overall value of a property. Design fees for a project are usually around 10% of the cost of a project - so for a $500,000 home an investment of $50,000 into overall development of the site, with approximately $5,000 towards design fees and documentation.