It’s no secret that I design landscapes professionally. I have spent a great deal of time (USU– Landscape Architecture School) and money learning all I can on the subject. However, a formal education can only teach so much. Mother Nature will teach lessons over time that no school can prepare you for! In gardening, as in many areas of life, there is simply no substitute for experience.
I prefer to do quick consults because I’m in and out in a few hours and get paid good money for the time spent and it is the best value for a competent do-it-yourselfer. However, I also do full-scale plans for higher-end clients– and no, I don’t have a full-scale plan for my own home even though you’d THINK I’d make the time for that!
I recently did a full-scale re-design for a million dollar home that had been bank-owned for more than a year. Needless to say, the landscaping was just about dead. The new owners are retiring and wanted to make it a haven for their grand kids. They were self-contracting the project (though they brought in a professional swimming pool company) and were great to work with. I need to get over there and see how it all worked out, the downside of not installing my designs is not having full-control over implementation and there’s plenty of room for things to go awry.
Anyway, here’s how the plans come together:
Preliminary pencil sketch which I go over with the homeowners and get approval for design choices. Once I have that, the production work begins.
8:00 am: After weeks of measuring, meeting with the clients, reviewing ideas etc., it’s time to create a final plan. I started working on the final drawing as soon as the kids left for school. The inking process took WAY longer than planned so I didn’t finish it up until 6:00 pm or so.
10:00 pm- After dinner and some family time, the kids and Husband are finally down for the night and I can start the color phase. I have long since realized that this is a HUGE plan (thanks to the odd property shape) and it’s gonna take a all night to finish!
1:00 am- miles to go before I sleep.
3:00 am- the color rendering is now finished but I still have to make the landscape manual –which took me until 5:00 am
The finished plan is laminated for durability and ready to go to the client. I also give them black and white copies. I’ll say right up front that this plan is not my best work. However, I had to do the best I could within the perimeters the client established. Sometimes, it’s more about getting paid than doing an award-winning plan. So long as the client is thrilled, I am thrilled!
In total, it took me more 20 hours of sketching, inking, copying, and color rendering BY HAND to complete the color production of the design (I am old school).
While I love my full-service clients, my specialty are people like ME– the do-it-yourselfer who wants a high end look on a low end budget. Doing a great design for a professional install is far easier than creating a great design that’s budget and do-it-yourself friendly. I like a challenge!
I know a full-scale plan is beyond the budget and need for most people. I limit the number I do each year because they are intense for me too. A plan need not look glitzy on paper in order to look great in reality. I was a little nervous to post this here because I don’t want anyone to think I believe a plan at this level is a need– but it is definately a nicety!
If you want to create your own color design plan, I will be teaching several landscape design classes this year– FOR FREE– that you’re more than welcome to take! I’ll post more about them when the time gets closer.