Landscape design is a multi-step process that involves close communication between the designer and client. It traditionally involves a written program, an inventory and analysis of the site, concept development, and a final design.
Written Client Program
The written client program is the product of discussions with the client, the client’s completion of a design planning questionnaire, and the designer’s clarifications and interpretations of that information. The client should think about his/her needs (e.g., shade), wants (e.g., entertaining area), and plant preferences (e.g., fragrance, color).
Site Inventory and Analysis
The site inventory and analysis step involves the documentation of many details and components, including things such as:
- Existing plant types and quantities
- Location and measurement of structures
- Location of utilities
- Photographic record of the site
- Desirable and undesirable view notes
- Sun and shade patterns
- Elevation differences
Concept development includes the cultivation of general philosophical concepts and specific functional concepts. General philosophical concepts include the image or mood that a client wants to project such as: tranquility, provocation, power, or genius loci (sense of place). Specific functional concepts can be driven by a budget, erosion problems, or security concerns. The designer reconciles these various requirements to produce an initial concept.
The final design is a scaled drawing that includes structures, hardscape, planting beds, plants, property lines, and other relevant site information. The client receives a copy of this drawing along with a detailed plant spreadsheet that includes, at a minimum, the following information:
- Botanical plant name
- Common plant name
- Installation size and condition
- Ultimate plant height and width
- Native status
- Light condition
- Water preference