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Old 11-05-2012, 08:39 PM
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spitfire3416 spitfire3416 is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Central Jersey
Posts: 488
Originally Posted by JimLewis View Post
Spitfire, I realize at this point you've probably shown the client the design already. So my only reason for chiming in at this point is to help you hone your skills for future designs. So here's my constructive criticism.

First, I wouldn't charge money for that design. I don't think most homeowners would consider that design something they should pay for. If you're going to charge for designs, then the design needs to infer that someone trained in design has spent a lot of time on it. That design doesn't infer that. It looks like something someone whipped up in about an hour or so. It's okay to present that kind of design, if that's the best you can do right now. But don't charge people for it.

Second, I think you need to take a look at a lot of other landscape designs and see how skilled landscape designers typically draw plants, flagstone pathways, and other features in a landscape design. And then try to make your designs look a little more professional and detailed, bases on what you see other designers do. The designs posted in this thread by MSlandco are excellent examples. You don't have to copy his style. There are lots of different styles. But the way you drew the trees, plants, and even flagstone look pretty amateurish. If you want to step up in to the big leagues, you gotta step up your entire game. And that starts with a really impressive design.

I went through some of the jobs we've done in the last few years and found one design that had a similar flagstone pathway on it as well as planting and other features. Here are a few that I came up with that are similar and should help you...

As far as the comments about capital letters go, I agree that caps always look better...more professional. But that said, you don't have to do that. As you'll see in the two examples I just posted, the first designer did not use caps and the second did. They both look nice. But caps usually looks a little better. Especially if you're handwriting isn't perfect, like most of us. So I'd go with caps and I would agree with whoever said you need to label your designs. Again, just makes them look professional. That's how 99% of the designers do it.

My final thought is you may want to seriously consider finding a local landscape designer in your area to work with. In my area, that's how most companies do it. Most owners don't have the time or the skills to do really nice landscape designs. I know I don't. I'm okay at it. But the designer we use has had 2 years of training specifically on landscape design. Of course, she's going to be better than me at design. So I let her handle the design part and then I handle the sales and installation part. It works better that way - especially if you aren't a trained designer.

Now you may say, "Well, my client couldn't afford a professional design." And I would say to you, that's probably not true. If it was for just a small corner of the house like that, the designer we use would have charged only $200-$250 for that design. And she would have added a lot more features, plants, etc. as well. And I would have easily been able to convince your client that $200-$250 was a smart investment. It's not a tough sale.

The design, you see, sells the job. I can't tell you how many times someone told me they only had a $4,000 budget but after working with our designer and coming up with some additional ideas, all of a sudden they were able to come up with $7,500. All because the designer got them excited about some additional items that they hadn't thought of before. But once they see them on paper, their eyes light up and they start to get excited about how amazing their landscape could look. Then, all of a sudden, their budget goes up.

If you find a good designer, they will IMPROVE your business. Jobs will sell for more, you'll look more professional, and your jobs will end up looking a lot nicer too.

So there's some food for thought. Your design isn't all that bad. It's just not to the professional level yet. So I'm just trying to offer you some ideas on how to get there. Best wishes.
thanks jim, i don't plan on charging him seeing as it's my first design. i have been looking into taking a landscape design course online and doing them myself but I often wonder if it's even worth it. does your designer work on freelance or is he a full time employee of yours? does he have any involvement in the price estimating or does he just come up with design and then you figure that all out?
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