Do you want to make sure you walk away with the perfect plan for an outdoor space that you love? Taking these steps will ensure that you have all the knowledge and materials you need to make the most of your landscape design meeting.
We design most projects in-house but for our own yard project we enlisted the help of the talented Max Vedder from Max Vedder Land Design. Being on the client's side of a design meeting really put us in the other person's shoes and made us realize we should be sharing our experience with you!
Here are three tips for preparing for your design meeting.
1: Have INSPIRATION PICTURES ready!
Inspiration pictures are great to give us an idea of what plant palette you will enjoy and the overall look you are going for.
What we did: We've been thinking about this yard for a while! We pinned images to our Pinterest boards to develop a color palette and general theme. When we told Max our theme was "Australian Coastal" he knew what we were getting at (as any good designer would).
What you should do: Browse Pinterest, Instagram or find inspiration photos directly from your designer's portfolio. Choose 3-5 photos that capture the overall look and feel you’re going for, and share those with your designer. This will promote the design process and keep everyone on the same page.
Tip: To pin directly from Instagram tap the 3 dots in the upper right corner of the post and tap share. The Pinterest icon should pop up as an option and you can share directly to one of your boards.
2: Consider HOW you're going to use the space.
How are you going to use your yard? Do you want to entertain friends or create a private oasis? Do you need gathering spaces? How much care are you willing to put in? All these contribute to the function and flow of your overall design.
What we did: Before our design meeting, we carefully considered how to best use our yard. We knew we wanted a better entry (after all curb appeal is king!) Privacy because we are a corner house. And as busy, small business owners and parents of teens, we knew we wanted to minimize maintenance time! Speaking of teens, gathering spots for their friends were key, so we wanted to create spaces that would allow them to hang comfortably.
From this we concluded we needed:
A wider path and something special to create substance at the entry.
A fence for added privacy
A low maintenance plant palette and lawn alternative (bye, bye lawn mower!)
Two gathering areas
More on all this in a later post...
What you should do: Ask yourself how you currently use your yard and how you would like to use it.
What is the current landscape? Are there existing plants or structures that need to be taken into consideration?
Do you have privacy concerns?
What is the current flow? Would you like that to change?
Do you need gathering spaces? How many people do you entertain at a time?
Are you going to hire a maintenance service? How much time and money are you willing to invest into this?
Keep these things in mind but don't stress! A good designer will ask you these questions at the initial meeting.
Or better yet! Download this list of questions we ask every client to determine yard function and flow.
3. Create a BUDGET.
Don't hesitate to provide the designer with your budget. This information allows us to create a realistic plan. We want to make your landscaping dreams come true. However, if you're not clear about your budget, you may end up with a plan that's out of reach. Then your dream could become a nightmare of needing to revise and scale back!
What we did: We had a number in mind, but since this was an experimental project, we planned for some wiggle room. Once our design was complete and we got detailed with the actual cost, we began to adjust and edit materials to get a little more comfortable with the cost.
For example, the original plan called for corten steel edging, which would have been a really cool addition, but it wasn't an absolute must in our book. We switched out to a more budget-friendly aluminum edging.
We understand that sometimes your wish list doesn't line up with your actual budget. We're here to help you decide where to save and where to splurge!
What you should do: Always give your designer a "what you're comfortable spending" number at the initial meeting. If you're not sure about your budget, ask for basic numbers. A seasoned professional will give you an idea of what it will take to achieve your desired yard.
Tip: Make sure your designer has knowledge of material and install prices. Meaning they are a design/build company and do both in-house, or they have an established, direct relationship with a trusted install contractor.
At Fredrickson Landscape, we provide detailed, line-itemized estimates so you know exactly where your money is going. And remember an estimate is just that...an estimate. We are happy to edit and adjust to get you as close to your budget as possible.
Ready to start your yard project? Contact us to set up a discovery call!