Thinking about getting the most enjoyment out of your landscape? Great, where do we start? How about your desires and expectations? What do you love (or hate) about your home and your property?
Usually we select and purchase our home/property because of the things we like about it. Often we are also thinking about improvements or changes we may intend to make to suit our taste and lifestyles. Remember, inside or out, whether your redoing a kitchen or bathroom or putting in an outdoor patio, fixing your driveway or planting, it’s all home improvement! As such, you should think first about designing to create a healthy, more beautiful environment. What are your priorities or interest? Do you want more entertainment space for your friends and family or to improve the health and appearance of your property (hopefully both)? We usually consider, (but not always) working from the inside to the outdoor spaces.
Speak to a couple of design professionals. Decide if you need an interior designer, architect or landscape architect/designer. Identify the scope of work and maybe your budget as well as timeline. If you know where you want to be, it will be easier to figure out how to get there. Next match the contractor to the job. Licensing and insurance are important. Memberships in professional organizations are helpful as indicators. Referrals are good. References are okay, although perspective clients have told me, ” you only have people who love you on a reference list”, duh! In todays world, the information highway of the internet offers much critical info. A good web site with links and current social media, in most cases, says a lot about the status of the company.
In the end, personal choice has a lot to do with selecting a designer or contractor. In my experience no two landscapes or clients share more than a couple of similarities. The wonderful, artistic creativity we are able to engage in daily is a result of the unique elements and aspects of a property or site as well as the individual taste, style and culture of the client. One thing to think about is a consideration of how your landscape will be enjoyed throughout the seasons. The beauty of a stream or water feature, as shown below may be just as attractive in winter as in summer. Even when the landscape is not actively in use it provides a serene satisfaction each day of the year with ever changing interest stimulating our senses and fulfilling our expectations of wonder.
Keep in mind, your living landscape is alive, growing, changing and evolving. Treat the body and soul of your landscape with love and care and your rewards will be bountiful! To me the process consists of at least three distinct stages. Design & development (including proposals, budgets and estimates), Construction & installation and finally, Ongoing management & maintenance. Attention and energy should be give to each equally for the best results.
Enjoy and love your life and your new landscape!
Jay Archer, President