View Full Version : What references do you use?

01-18-2009, 06:23 PM
Im new at this and was wondering after getting the clients criteria... what kind of resources do you use to come up with your design??

Like do you use a bunch of plant books to decide what plants to use? Cause I was thinking of making my own big binder of all the plants available to be with pics and full descripts from light conditions, flower color, to wild life attraction and stuff... waste of time ??

Do you look at unilock, nicolock and other mags for decision on pavers and such?

What do you do to go about creating the right design? thanks...

01-18-2009, 07:45 PM
Having a "frequently used plants book" is good.

I have this tab on my internet browser. Most plants I have from memory, and that just comes with experience. Once you get into doing alot of designs, the desire to always use new plants will fade. I stick with good looking plants, that I know will live. I'm not picking all new plants for every design, and having die on me anymore.


Stick with what works, and make the design concept look good.

01-18-2009, 11:13 PM
when designing I use plants I know for the most part. However their are times when venturing into the unknown is needed so research any new unproved plant before using it. Once you know it can be used successufly then ad it to your list

01-19-2009, 11:31 AM
I see, I actually have a degree in Horticulture: Landscape Development so I do have a good background of plants but nothing beats stuff on paper.

Now do you tell the client when you will have the design done? How does that work... and how long about does it take or should it take a 1/4 acre lot or so front and back, between concept, master plan, construction plans, maybe perspective??

01-19-2009, 12:15 PM
I can't give you an average time. it depends on the customer, the weather and how busy you are. However I would usually say a couple of weeks

01-19-2009, 12:33 PM
Ok, now do you tell the client aprox the time you will have it done? Or do you say will be in contact or something...?

White Gardens
01-19-2009, 02:31 PM
Ok, now do you tell the client aprox the time you will have it done? Or do you say will be in contact or something...?

I don't necessarily tell the client when it's done, I just keep in touch with them as much as possible to let them know where they fit in my schedule and I haven't forgotten about them and I also give them an approximation of when the design will be done.

Dreams To Designs
01-21-2009, 11:53 AM
Time it takes depends on what you do. If your a landscaper, your money is made landscaping and most of your time is, and should spent pursing that. With your background, you are likely designing on location as you are performing your initial client meeting and will only need to create plant lists and put your ideas on paper. For plant lists, look at Horticopia, plant encyclopedia software. You can customize a selection list for your clients with as much or as little information that they desire.

If your a designer, a "typical" 1/4 acre master plan project would take about 15 hours of studio time, designing, drafting, imaging, lighting design and creating plant lists. A "typical" mcmansion project, starts at 25 hours and increase from there according to the amenities required, often around 40 hours is common. If you choose to add your initial visit, concept meeting and final presentation into the equation, you must decide if that is billed as studio time or onsite time.

Keeping in contact with the client regularly, creates a feeling of trust and involvement, which typically leads to bigger and better, more profitable work. Email is a wonderful thing after the initial meeting in person and the presentation of a master plan.


01-21-2009, 12:48 PM
Be sure not to do designs for free. If you are going to spend time doing the design, tell the customer there will be a fee.

I can design a 1/4 lot in an hour, maybe 2 at max.

So figure 1 hr initial meeting. 2 hours design, 1 hr to price construction, and 2 hours to meet with them after all work has been done. 6 hours for the project @ whatever you charge = design price.

White Gardens
01-21-2009, 04:36 PM
I always charge a relatively reasonable price for the Design Work up front before I give them their copies.

If they use me for the project then I give them a credit at the end of the job for the design fee. This helps to ensure I do the project as well as the design.

I adjust my prices accordingly for this too.

01-21-2009, 04:45 PM
wow great information! My professor said he gets like 120-200/hr for a design but he's an LA what should a beginner whos not speedy gonzalez charge to be reasonable to both the client and me?

Dreams To Designs
01-21-2009, 04:54 PM
Location and skill will determine what you charge. The closer to the city, the more you can get, but it will always depend on what you can give them. The type of project will also determine the fee structure, as in commercial or residential. You will need to determine your in office or studio costs as well as if you are on location.

Will this service be like most, where it is a part of the installation process, or do you intend to offer stand alone design and project management?


White Gardens
01-21-2009, 05:47 PM
Around here professional designers of all trades (such as interior, exterior, landscaping, etc.) go for around $75/hr.

That's my baseline for pricing my work.

01-22-2009, 11:40 AM
Ok, I planned on selling the design as one whole but only if I don't get the work, If I do get the work I would also credit them for it. Now for those who don't get the job and sell them the design, do you sell them everything from concept-construction plans-master plan- and plant list and all that?