Whether the project/site is large or small, the outline below can be followed for most residential or commercial projects. The scope and scale of the project, will determine which of the following steps would be applicable. The most successful projects include a team approach which is guided by the client’s input to achieve the client’s needs, wishes and desires for their project/site.
The first step will be to gather base information about the property by taking site measurements, photographs and/or coordinate a site survey by a professional land surveyor. Base information may include previous site surveys, satellite imagery, GIS data, subdivision plans and/or municipal Tax Maps.
For the second step, I put all of the existing information together so that the client has an overall view of the project area and together we can identify exist site elements that can be included in the site design or possibly protect from being disturbed during construction.
The third step determines the limitations of the site by identifying municipal, environmental and site-specific constraints. These limitations include municipal and environmental setbacks i.e. Building Setback, Shoreland Zones and Wetland Setbacks, to name a few. The limitations will be added to the Existing Conditions Plan to help determine the boundaries of the project and help to identify what municipal and environmental permitting might be required to achieve the project goals. Projects that cross over setback lines and regulatory zones may be allowed with the proper permits from the State and/or Municipality.
After the base information is collected and the project boundaries are determined, I will review the site analysis with the client as the fourth step. At this step the client’s input is most important. Together we discuss what can be done. Things like; identifying significant views, building placement, solar orientation, driveways, walkways, gardens, fencing, buffer plantings, terraces, patios, pools, fire pits, site lighting, outdoor kitchen, etc. With the client’s input, the design is edited and modified into a Conceptual Landscape Plan. Many times photographs of various site elements, materials and plants will be used to help identify and develop the “Character” of the project as well.
Concurrently with the Design Development phase, I will advise my client of necessary environmental and municipal permits that will be required for the project prior to construction. The process of acquiring the necessary permits can take from one to several months, so planning ahead can help to keep a project on schedule and prevent undesirable delays to the start of construction. I can provide permitting services on behalf of my clients or work with another environmental consultant if necessary.
During this step, the site design is refined and materials, finishes and plantings are selected for the project by the Landscape Architect with input from the client. These plans, details and specifications are put together to form a "Construction Set". This "Construction Set" will be used by contractors to prepare a project budget, a competitive bid or to simply build the project.
Sometimes it is necessary to implement a project over several seasons due to projects costs and/or permitting limitations. We will guide our client through this process to determine where the will start and how many phases will be necessary to complete the project.
Once the client has selected a contractor, a written contract will be signed by both parties and the project can begin. Sometimes during the construction process, unforeseen obstacles can be uncovered, and the site design might need to be adjusted or modified. I can assist my clients with altering the site design to accommodate the obstacle or work with the contractor to negotiate an alternative approach. As a landscape architect, I am my clients advocate and will assist the client through the entire construction process if needed.
Before final acceptance or completion of the project, I will walk the site and provide the client a list or “Punch List”. A punch list is a list of items that will need to be finished before the project is considered complete. If required, I can provide a written guide for the continued maintenance and upkeep for the property, typically called a “Landscape Maintenance Program”. This program is a guide for the client to follow over the following years to help maintain the health and appearance of their landscape as it was intended. When all work is complete the contract between he client and the contractor will be satisfied and the final payment will be released to the contractor.