Thursday, December 21, 2006

Preparing for a consultation

A common question asked by clients; "Is there anything that I need to prepare or have ready for you when you come to my home?"

Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with that question and it is a very good one to ask your designer or contractor before the first visit.

Landscaping is a world that thrives on ideas and proper measurements to fit those ideas into... so I have come up with a basic wish list to answer that question:
  • A survey plan showing your property information. If I had my choice of one thing from this list...the survey would be it! It gives legal limits for property lines and shows any easements to be aware of that could potentially restrict the future construction project. (Better to have a survey ready in the beginning then to be visited by the friendly by-law inspector after the work is done.)
  • Favourite photo ideas from books or magazines can help a designer gain perspective on what sort of look you are after for the design presentation.
  • Address any water drainage issues occurring on your property. Most professional designers should spot those issues anyway, but mention it on your own so nothing gets missed.
  • An ideal plant list helps! Favourite plants-- hated plants-- Have an allergy to certain plants? Let your landscape professional know ahead of time before it shows up in your garden.
  • Is there a central theme you'd like to see created? (i.e. Japanese Garden style...)
  • Have an idea about patio space and use in relation to how many people on average you'd expect to entertain in your backyard gatherings.
  • If you are a dog owner, please do a pre-site inspection for dog bombs!!!! I like dogs, they are a lot of fun to be around... but there is nothing worse then that soft mush under your shoe!
  • Most importantly, have an idea of a realistic budget in mind for what you wish to spend on your dream landscape! Your landscape professional can help you set that budget and designate phases for your entire project.
Things to consider:

The average cost for something significant to happen in a backyard would be anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000. That may get you a 250 to 400 square foot entertainment space (deck or interlock patio) with some complimentary plantings to go with it. The more elaborate designs will only range up in price from there. Water features can average from $5,000 and up.... Inground pools can start at a simple $35,000 and can elaborately climb to well over $100,000 once the patios, plantings and fences are all arranged.

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