1. Initial consultation
This is an initial meeting to understand the vision the client has for the garden or landscape, his or her needs, wants and preferences for example plant preferences. Its aim is to develop a brief and to determine any constraints as well as a budget. Following the meeting, a written fee proposal is usually made for at least the next two stages below. For smaller gardens with less complexity, it may be possible to outline a fee proposal up to and including stage 4. from the outset.
2. Site survey & analysis
Once the brief has been discussed and agreed with the client, a survey is usually conducted to take basic measurements, site levels and to note the location of any key features. At this point, an assessment of the overall site is also be made taking into consideration things like drainage, access, the garden's topography, its environment, an analysis of the soil. For large or complex gardens or landscapes, a professional surveyor may be required, the charge for whom would be presented in the fee proposal.
3. Design concept & masterplan
The survey and design concept elements go hand in hand. So, after the survey is completed, design concept drawings can be created showing a proposed garden layout, elevations and a 3D view. Together with 'mood boards', these will illustrate the overall vision for the garden, the proposed planting style and include any new design features such as large structural planting and construction items. The design concept is discussed and agreed with the client before proceeding to a masterplan. At this point it would be possible to outline the fees for the next stages. The next steps take the design concept / masterplan and provide the detail which allows the garden to be landscaped.
4. Planting plan & plant schedule
The planting plan defines the layout of all proposed structural and decorative plants. For example garden borders may contain small shrubs, perennials, bulbs and more structural plants. This element takes into account the required planting style: the size, shape, colour, fragrance and suitability for the conditions of the plants. It also outlines the location for each plant and includes a schedule for their supply with the quantity needed. If the client wishes, a proposal for the supply of plants from reputable nurseries can be made.
5. Detailed construction design & specifications
Construction drawings show in detail how to build complex structures using plan and section drawings. Other technical drawings define lighting and electrical requirements, drainage and irrigation and an overall setting out plan. These, together with a detailed specification containing a scope of works and materials lists, are usually used in a tendering process with reputable garden construction or landscape firms.
6. Tendering & project coordination
Once tenders have been received and reviewed with the client a contractor can be chosen. At this point work can begin. Generally there is a need to coordinate activities in the project between the client, landscaper and any other trade, profession or business that may be involved in the project. Also, if agreed, a service can be provided to monitor progress of construction against what was contracted between the client, main landscape contractor and any other contractors.
7. Ongoing maintenance
Ensuring that the garden as designed, constructed and planted is and remains as intended is important. Follow up visits can be arranged for this purpose. Maintenance schedules can also be provided so a client knows what to do and when with the new planting.