To consult or not to consult – How an initial consultation can help you move your landscape project forward.
For many of our landscape improvements we have the self-confidence and the vision that directs our creative minds and our energy. But then comes the moment where we’d like to embark on a project that is more complex than anything we’ve undertaken before. If you are not certain about how to go about your project, or have ideas already (such as a diy landscape design ) but are unsure if they flow together well, or if budget is a big consideration, this would be the moment where you’d be best served with a consultation with a design professional.
You might have one or several goals for your landscape: For example an outdoor space for relaxation and rejuvenation, or a sanctuary for your children, or an entertainment space for adults. It’s your property into which you will invest a considerable amount of energy, time and money, and you want to see your investment pay off and add value to your home. For some clients the prospect of hiring one of the landscaping companies San Diego also causes some anxiety: “Will this be the right professional for me”? Will she or he hear you? Does she have the expertise, the vision, the skill and talent to guide you in the process and express your desires in a delightful way? The first meeting with the professional landscape designer is therefore a very important one, and here’s what it aims to achieve:
Getting to know you
A consultation is an important first step to getting to know you and your landscape desires, whether this is for a landscape re-do or re-hab, or a completely new landscape. It is a meeting in which I visit your home or project site and, while walking your property, listen to your likes and dislikes, and learn how you would like to use your property. I will ask a series of questions that will help me to get an idea of what you are looking for. As I listen to your ideas, I will make suggestions to help you assess the landscape challenges and to address your concerns. Listening to my clients is my number one priority, and helping them to articulate and document their desires, dreams, and wishes in a way that a landscape contractor can understand them is my job.
This consultation provides also valuable learning points for you: I’ll address what seems to be going on with your soil (prior to taking a soil sample for analysis – this I will do if you hire me for the design.) I’ll comment on what seems appropriate for your microclimate and architectural style, and I will advance some ideas for site use, surface materials, potential cost of project, possible phasing, planning for pets, children, and edibles, multi-use areas, etc.
The consultation is also an opportunity for you to get to know the person you will be working with. As most landscape designers are also horticulturists you can use this opportunity to ask all the questions you ever wanted to ask about how to plant, prune, and solve problems. The landscape designer will educate you about plants (the softscape) or hardscape materials (these are the ‘built’ elements, such as patios, walkways, arbors etc.), and will do this without any ulterior motive, product sales, kick-backs and mark-ups or profitability issues that could influence his or her recommendations. It will be focused expertise from an experienced designer who listens to you and helps you express your own ideas, and you will actually be amazed at what you will know about your property after a comprehensive landscape consultation.
My clients have appreciated this consultation as helpful part of the landscape process, because it provides an abundance of valuable information; the practical and creative suggestions help them articulate their needs and develop a greater understanding of the potentials of their property. You just might be amazed at what you will know about your property after a comprehensive landscape consultation. You can make this meeting even more profitable if you prepare for it, by assembling for review with the landscape designer your landscape ideas, supported by cutsheets, photos, magazines and books, just anything that has attracted you in some way and expresses some of your likes and dislikes. Lastly a copy of your plot plan and/or your house would also be useful – it will be needed anyway in the design phase.