Phase 1: Initial Client Consultation
Without question the single most important step in our process is the initial client consultation. This first meeting between architect and client provides us the opportunity to get to know you and your family and will stand as a benchmark in establishing a functional work relationship. How we develop your design relays heavily upon open, comfortable communication between our team and you, our client. The more information we can share back and forth, the more personal our work will be to you. Your likes, dislikes, needs, wants, timeline and budget as it pertains to your prospective project, all assist us in tailoring our approach specifically to your personality. The consultations typically occur at the project site and last between 60 and 90 minutes.
Part 1: Some things you should consider in preparation for the meeting include:
Project Scope: What is your vision for your project?
The important thing to consider here is what are the major goals you would like to accomplish and what elements would you like included to accomplish them? As your architect we will include our own ideas and suggestions in the design of course however, in the interest of efficiency we like to stay within the parameters of your vision as to not muddle or bog down communication of the design.
Project Timeline: When would you like to have the project completed?
We love making clients happy. And as homeowners ourselves we know the importance of timeliness, professionalism, and honesty when it comes to working with contractors and home improvement professionals. Staying on schedule and on (or under) budget are major contributing factors in your lasting impression of the process and your professionals once the project is complete. So learning your expectations in the design phase can help us plan and adjust aspects of the project very early thereby granting us the highest opportunity to succeed in meeting your goals. That being said we will also always be honest with you. If the timeline is physically not realistic, we will gently explain why and hopefully arrive at an acceptable solution. We have learned over the years that happy surprises, like finishing early, are always welcomed by our clients. Unhappy surprises, like cost overruns, rushed work, bad quality and getting off schedule result only in bad feelings, and bad reviews. As such we never use hope as a tactic and never sacrifice quality for timeliness.
Project Budget: What level of investment are you comfortable in making?
Most of the time when we pose this question to a client, they are either hesitant to offer a number or simply do not know what a fair price is for the project they would like completed. We completely understand and we are here to help. If you have a firm budget, excellent! Assuming it is realistic for the project scope we can certainly design to befit your request. If you are unsure, we have a protocol in place to assist in developing your design and your budget concurrently.
Things to bring with you:
- A survey of the subject property
- Any architectural or engineering plans you might have had prepared previously for the subject property
Things to bring or send digitally later:
- Interest boards
- Images of any landscape elements, materials, plants etc. you would like included in your design.
- Any element, material or plant etc. you do not want in your design.
Part 2: Inventory and analysis
The initial consultation is all about getting to interview our prospective clients. But hosting this meeting at the project site allows us to also interview the site itself through a study we call our “Inventory and Analysis”. Every site has a unique set of opportunities and challenges. When we consider these things in our design, the product is an original, aesthetically beautiful yet elegantly functional solution. Our study will record data for things like sun path, drainage and slope direction, views both good and bad, noise pollution sources, safety concerns, animal habitat or wetlands, beneficial and detrimental foliage, and watercourses.
Phase 2: Design Proposal Presentation
Following our initial consultation we will draft and print a proposal to provide landscape architectural services. We typically like to present the proposals in person so that we may address any questions or concerns you have with the proposal’s contents directly. So the big question, What do our services cost? Each of our proposals is tailored specifically to each project and is calculated by total estimated hours to complete the design services to be performed. We always include a round of alterations free of charge and offer to complete additional alterations at any time upon request of the client for an affordable hourly rate.
Phase 3: Concept Development
Concept development is the first time we begin to materialize ideas on paper and begin our journey to another beautiful outdoor space.
Part 1: Code Compliance and Feasibility Study
Our first step in design is to see what limitations local and state governments place upon projects of the sort we are designing and on the project site itself. The idea here is that we provide you with a design that is not only beautiful but also buildable. This information will be combined with that gained during our inventory and analysis and data located on the provided survey and/or engineering/architectural plans to develop a foundation for future design development. If during our study, we should discovery that a variance will be required to complete your project as you requested, we will present this information to you, explain the variance procedure and develop a game plan for moving forward.
Part 2: Concept Development
Upon completion of the Feasibility Study we will assemble the landscape elements and features discussed during the initial consultation into a cohesive functional conceptual design. These designs are by no means the final plans. Rather the intent is to present our ideas of what the final product could be and to get your feelings and thoughts in response. We can then refine the design in subsequent design phases. We have several tools at our disposal to assist us in communicating the conceptual design to our clients. The purpose of all of them is to ensure that our clients know what their project is going to look like once it is built and that they are in love with the final product before they sign the dotted line of a construction contract. Those tools include:
2-D Architectural Plans:
Though these drawings are no longer replicated using a photosensitive ferric compound, the easiest way to describe these plans is “Blueprints”. These are 2-Dimensional technical drawings drawn from an elevated perspective looking directly down onto a site. These scale drawings lay out all of the proposed improvements and their relation to existing site features. These are typically the documents from which landscape contractors will build your project. They are excellent at conveying technical data but unless you are experienced in reading architectural plans, they tend to leave some things to the imagination.
3-D Digital Models:
Anything we dream up in plan, we can digitally model in three dimensions. Here we are able to fully visualize how our proposed improvements interact with the surrounding topography and existing structures. The ability to see this interaction allows our clients to decide if they like how a space feels creating a highly level of connectivity with the design.
Photorealistic Rendering and Videography:
These leave nothing to the imagination. Here we are able to apply exact materials, tones and textures. Add plantings, furniture, and site entourage to truly bring a design to life. This is a must for clients who are making a large investment in their property and are looking for the peace of mind knowing what you’re paying for provides.
As part of our concept development stage we also provide our clients with itemized construction budgets. The budgets are custom to each project and estimate fair market cost to complete the project from start to finish. These budgets are useful in adjusting the design to fit your desired level of investment and in giving you a leg up on contractors who will be issuing you bids for construction.
Phase 4: Masterplan Development and Construction Documentation
After presenting the conceptual design and budget and adjusting them accordingly we will develop a final master plan document set for issue to contractors for bidding and construction. These documents contain a higher level of detail and specifications required to ensure the contractor constructs the project as the architect and client have designed.
Phase 5: Permitting
Following approval of the design and budget by the client we assist in the filing and submission of permit forms and applications required by local, county and state governments in order to proceed with construction. We will also employ the services of other industry professionals such as civil engineers, geotechnical professionals and licensed land surveyors to expedite the process and ensure the highest possible level of quality in preparation for submission and construction.
Phase 6: Construction Oversight
Eden Design can provide the service of managing your construction project from break ground to final close out. Our goal is to alleviate the stress associated with a large construction projects that typically falls upon the owner. With our construction oversight services we schedule and manage the contractors and sub-contractors. We receive, review, approve or deny payment requests. We handle procurement, delivery and quality assurance. We hold weekly or bi-weekly meetings with the owner to review project status updates, present qualified payment requests and discuss any questions the owner has for the project moving forward.