There are times when someone could use professional advice regarding a situation, nothing fancy-just some feedback or direction. Our experience as Landscape Architects regarding design or our twenty-five years as a contractor can be invaluable. We can provide our expertise to address specific areas of concern where drawings may or may not be needed. This can be a simple conversation on site with solutions offered verbally or we can, if desired, follow up with a written narrative letter of our findings and specific recommendations.
Some examples of where this be of use:
- You want to install a few plantings/trees yourself but are not sure what type and where to locate them.
- You have a proposal from a contractor to install a certain item –anything from a small walkway to a pool and surrounds and you think the solution and price presented is reasonable but you would like an independent opinion from an informed source.
- You know your yard needs ‘some help’ and could probably do the work yourself but you are not really sure what the best thing to do is. In other words you are great at doing the work yourself, but lack the design insight required.
- You are thinking of selling your property and would like some feedback regarding return on improvements you might consider to help in the sales process.
The examples shown are not all inclusive. There are many other situations where a consultation with our firm could be a tremendous advantage.
- Site Analysis– Involves an onsite ‘inspection’ of a property or site in order to assess its potential or limitations in relation to an intended use. This can also be done to find the highest and best use of a property. Analysis includes physical conditions such as vegetation, slopes, sun shade, etc as well as functional requirements such as access, utilities etc. It would also take into consideration any impacts from adjacent properties-prominent views; traffic etc. along with any zoning, regulatory restrictions.
- Schematic Design-Includes reviewing multiple options for a site and presenting them in schematic-free hand drawings for initial discussion with a client. The idea is to ‘brainstorm’ the options to decide the best way to move forward. Can also include simple modeling (3d view) of specific items to be considered as part of a concept.
- Conceptual Plans- Show the selected option laid out in schematic form, again some in freehand-some possibly computer drafted (CAD), to allow further review and discussion of concepts before moving forward. It might include some 3d schematics of specific items in order to properly convey ideas to the client
- Master Plans- Overall plan for a multitude of spaces and uses on property. Usually on a larger scale, the plan lays out and identifies all proposed improvements, spaces, plantings in a overall to scale drawing that shows how everything ‘fits’ and works together. An initial (rough) estimate of costs can be provided at this time.
- Design Development Plans– Goes from concept to development in that this creates actual design solutions for specific areas of a property. Plans at this stage include selection of materials, amenities and plantings as needed in a scaled layout. The plan also considers all necessary utilities and drainage solutions and may include isometric, section and elevation drawings depending on the complexity of the design. An estimate of costs would also be provided to determine if the project is ‘on budget’. In most cases this would be enough information t for reputable contractors to offer estimates, provided everyone is in agreement as to the construction methods and sequence. Proposals for installation could be written based on such plans but if done at this stage however the specifics re construction materials, methods, and sequence should be spelled out in written form in the actual proposal from contractors.
- Construction Documentation– If needed or desired by client, a set of construction plans, providing technical drawings of and specifications for part or all of any design can be developed. This reduces the chance of miscommunication during the bidding process, or mistakes made during installation which could result in costly change orders or at the least a tense situation with your contractor. The more information provided, the better, although it can be ‘overkill’ on simple installation.
- Bidding-Contract Negotiations– In this phase the firm would provide drawings and narratives as needed along with a spreadsheet of items to be installed. Selected contractors could then provide uniform bids for review. Guidance can be given in the selection of contractors, which could be from the network of firms we are familiar with or contractors the client would like to consider. Final proposals/contracts submitted from selected firms would then be reviewed to insure everyone is on the same page regarding materials, methods and timeline
- Permit Drawings– Certain projects require permitting with local agencies. A number of items require drawings for review by building departments who will then review the construction as certain points during the process. IN addition our location has come under the Chesapeake Bay regulations enforced by the EPA which, depending on the size of the project requires erosion/ sediment control and storm water management plans. The firm will work with the homeowner to provide drawings using in house staff or other professionals as needed. It is however strongly recommended that the contractors obtain the actual building permits for construction as this makes them responsible for all work they perform.
- Construction Supervision– Involves either minimal or extensive participation in the construction process dependant on the complexity of design and client preference. Our approach involves helping to insure the project is completed on schedule and on budget. Because we are not the contractor we are able to offer independent management services that represent the homeowner throughout the process. Services can range from initial layout of project, making adjustments as needed, creation of punch lists, approval of final work and approval of final payment.