Renovating a landscape offers endless possibilities and an opportunity to make an environment your own. In order to achieve the desired results from a project, it’s important to clearly convey your expectations. The initial meeting with a client is where we, as designers, gain the most insight on important factors such as lifestyle, function, style and budget.
Your lifestyle defines your needs, which makes it a vital consideration. Young families often need to avoid fall hazards, benefit from coaching on plant care, and need to anticipate future needs when considering a project. Retirees and busy professionals, on the other hand, require convenience, low-maintenance, and simplicity. We can anticipate many of these needs, but if you take a moment to identify what your lifestyle demands and inform your contractor; it ensures a design that is well suited to your routine.
If you’re new to renovations or have no knowledge of landscape design, explaining your vision for a space can be a challenge. Other times, clients simply haven’t formed an opinion of what they want. Pinterest boards, magazines, and example sites are terrific ways to get your personal taste across. A lot of this process is conveying the feel of the space, once that’s communicated, tailoring the space to your needs becomes straightforward. If you’re unsure, ask your designer what they see in the space and go from there. The landscape works best when it complements the architecture and space around it. Incorporating a flair from another style with the help of a knowledgeable designer can give your yard that pop that makes it stand out from the blur of suburban landscape.
In function, there is beauty. Features like steps, walls, and screens are often overlooked but can become keystones of a project with the right material and placement. Many features that aid in aesthetics serve a dual purpose: water features or paths for drainage, walls for seating and retainage, and boulders for accents and foundation are a great start. It’s important to explain the issues you’re facing and rely on the designer’s expertise to solve the problem in an aesthetically-pleasing manner.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room—budget. It’s perfectly reasonable to be unsure of the price tag of your wish list and the only way to find out is to have it bid by a reputable contractor. Revisions are a natural part of the process but if you have a ballpark on what you’re able to afford on your project, please share it with the estimator. By communicating any budgets upfront, instead of after the first draft, you can streamline the design process.
Every project is unique in its own way but planning ahead and adequately communicating your wants and needs will get your project moving in the right direction from the start.