View Full Version : Ornamental installs-----questions

01-09-2003, 09:48 AM
When you go to a new home with no landscaping beds, how do you start. Do you give them a sketch??, a computer image?? Nothing??

When you give an estimate, do you itemize each plant?? or do you lump things together such as mulch/plant material/labor, etc. Ive been doing installs for a while, but do not have a set protocol down. Usually I make an initial visit with the client. After walking around with them, I take dig. pictures and all my measurements. I then computer design using DIG and email them some ideas. They send corrections, suggestions, etc. When we agree on a 'plan' I figure cost of everything and give them an estimate.
(If I dont get the job, I charge for the pics.)

This is seeming like an awful lot of work. Is there any way to streamline the process?? Thanks

01-09-2003, 06:36 PM
This is a cut and paste from an earlier response by me to a similar question:

"A good way to get an edge on the first time meeting with a client is to do some quick measuring and a quick sketch - on site.

After the meeting is winding up, tell them you want to take a quick measurement and do a quick sketch for yourself.
Just take a piece of the job such as the foundation planting. Measure the house, draw it in on graph paper about to scale. carry a circle template and whip in a few circles for plants ...all in pencil. Also carry four black pens with varying thickness so you can trace over the lines you drew and scribble plant symbols out of the circles. Splash a little color into it with some Design markers and you will bowl them over ...even if you don't draw well.

Go back to the door and ask if it is what they were thinking about.

Don't leave the sketch with them. Tell 'em you need it to do the estimate. You will leave a huge impression on them over the next guy."


I also think it is good to keep prices in chunks rather than to itemize or you get people wanting to add and drop by one item at a time. They also question why something costs x when they can get it at y. Write up stuff like to plant (9) 3-gal. boxwood, (7) 2-gal. azaleas, ....$ 1,876.23. If they do not like the price you can tell them that you can use smaller plants or less plants, but that the price is what it is for what you listed. They understand this very well and generally accept what you have or they don't. You will not get sucked into recalculating and renegotiating for ever. It works.

01-10-2003, 03:52 PM
Thanks AGLA..... I have a degree in Landscape Design, and never received a good response from 'plan' drawings. Clients would just look at the colored 'circles' and say, ummm,.....ok?? (A colored elevation is another story??)
As I have stated above, I began using DIG software, and, to residentials, the program sells itself. I can do a foundation planting with sumac, and they will love it, just because they get to see it in full color at their house.

My biggest pet peeve: Agreeing on a design with the client, and not be able to locate some plant material......

01-10-2003, 08:16 PM
A good way to avoid the hassle of not being able to locate material is to consistantly visit the nurseries in your area and know what they regularly have and try to design within that if, if it does not limit you too much.
It does seem that plants that used to be around all the time now sell out from time to time. I guess the demand in the last several years has shortened the supply a little. I expect that will be less the case this year.

01-10-2003, 08:56 PM
I know. I used to try and be sort of original and different, but it is not worth it anymore. Now I design based on available nursery stock.:rolleyes: