Maybe it is the circles I move in but when I am asked what I do and answer that I am a landscape designer, I can guarantee that the response will be something like ‘Oh wow! What a great thing to do…blah blah blah’. Gushy gushy nice stuff. It’s good.
But as the conversation progresses it soon becomes clear most people don’t know what landscape designers actually do. They have this lovely idea that I spend my days frolicking around gardens, picking flowers and tending to the vegetable patch, earth mother style. I love this description and kind of wish it was more accurate. But it’s not.
Before landscape design…
Everyone knows what architects do, they design internal spaces for living, landscape designers and landscape architects do exactly the same thing but outdoors instead of in. We create external spaces for living.
What we do at Reid & Friends is to create spaces our clients want to spend time in. We make gardens our clients can relate to; they are functional, beautiful and timeless. This is how we do it:
We spend time with the client asking lots of questions. We want to know how our clients use the space now and how they want to use it in the future. We want to know what they like, what they do in their spare time, their family background, their aspirations, and their loves. We want to know the practical stuff too, like how much time they want to spend maintaining the garden, their construction budget and much more…
After the barrage of questions we let the client rest for a while as we check out the site. We assess views, topography, aspect, drainage, privacy, the architecture of residence, existing vegetation etc.
When we have gathered this information we let it sit for a while and try to get a feel for the space. We let the desires of the client and the practical and functional requirements wash over us and see where it leads.
Then we get drawing. Ohhh this is the fun bit! We pull out the sketch pad and start scribbling shapes, forms, random ideas until the design exposes itself. We then fire up the computer and start working the design up in CAD. We draw the design to scale, based on a survey or architectural plans.
Once we have the basic layout completed, addressing the client’s needs, site conditions and environmental requirements we start thinking more seriously about the detail of the space. How do we want the space to feel? How do we want people to respond to it? What plants and materials will help achieve this?
We then get down to the nitty gritty and select plants and materials that will compliment the site and architecture of the residence, the client’s desires, and the overall design philosophy.
Once we have decided on all this stuff we get the presentation drawings together. This includes a landscape concept plan, sketches of design elements as required, concept imagery, and sample images of plants and materials.
We then present the drawings to our clients, talking them through the design of the garden, explaining the philosophy behind the design and giving them a run down on the plant and material selections.
We then go home and have a little rest, pour a glass of wine if it is the appropriate time of day, and let our clients mull over the design for a while.
If there are any changes to make after the presentation of the landscape concept design, we make ‘em. We then either submit the drawings to council if required or talk to a landscape contractor about building the garden. We also inform our clients if we need to undertake construction documentation drawings prior to engaging a landscape contractor.
It goes on and on from here but basically, we hold our clients hands until they are sitting happily in their new garden, designed with love by us.