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  #1  
Old 06-20-2011, 11:55 PM
jdutcher003 jdutcher003 is offline
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Location: webster ny
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Design work

I know I am going to get ripped apart for this, but a customer of mine asked me to design a landscaping for them around their deck. They want the existing landscaping torn out and a new one put in. These customers are great so i could not refuse. I have never designed a landscaping before and i really have no experience whatsoever. It is basically around their deck and then along the back of their garage. They told me they wanted to see it designed first with pictures and stuff like that. Is it possible for anyone to help me out? I can get some pictures of the areas put up too. Please, any help would be greatly appreciated from you guys. I am still in the learning area so please go easy on me
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:04 AM
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White Gardens White Gardens is offline
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Originally Posted by jdutcher003 View Post
I know I am going to get ripped apart for this, but a customer of mine asked me to design a landscaping for them around their deck. They want the existing landscaping torn out and a new one put in. These customers are great so i could not refuse. I have never designed a landscaping before and i really have no experience whatsoever. It is basically around their deck and then along the back of their garage. They told me they wanted to see it designed first with pictures and stuff like that. Is it possible for anyone to help me out? I can get some pictures of the areas put up too. Please, any help would be greatly appreciated from you guys. I am still in the learning area so please go easy on me
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:17 AM
Dr.NewEarth Dr.NewEarth is offline
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Put up a list of what they have there now. It may help.
What type of microclimate is it? Do they want low maintenance? Some?
What flowers or favorite shrubs do they like? What colours do they prefer?
Do they have kids and pets? Do they entertain?
There are many questions to ask a client during the interview process.

Measure every-thing....garden dimensions, house measurements in the area of the garden, height of meters that may be there etc.
This is important so you know later what size plant could fit in an area, or be used to hide services or an ugly spot.

Digital photos from all angles are so helpful. Think about where the client will see the garden from and design to enhance their experience from those vantage points.

Taller plants go to the back usually, shorter ones to the front of course.
Group things in odd numbers, it generally looks the best.
Try different leaf structures for contrast.

How about some-thing for winter interest?

Go to the nursery and ask them questions. See what looks good to your eye.

You can do this!
Overall though, design can take alot of time to fully comprehend.
Search for landscape design on line. Look in some magazines in the stores, and go to the library.

There are design courses offered in nightschool. The planet site has a design course too which will get you certified if you wish to continue learning in this direction.

I believe in continual education and discovery of all aspects of hard and soft landscaping, horticulture and arboriculture. Get certified.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:33 AM
jdutcher003 jdutcher003 is offline
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well we live in upstate new york. They did say that they dont mind having to trim the plants in the landscaping. The stuff in there now is just a mix of a lot of stuff. They said they want some sort of pattern in the landscaping. They only want it around the deck so it is about 4 feet wide all the way around the deck. It is 6 feet high to the top of the railing and they said they do not want anything to go higher than the top of the railing. i do want to learn more about design and i will probably take some classes at some point, but right now i am just hoping that I can get a little help to design something so that the customer is happy and they want pictures of what it looks like but i have no design software at all
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:04 AM
Dr.NewEarth Dr.NewEarth is offline
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It's O.K. if you don't have a design program. They can cost any-where from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars and you could spend weeks learning how to use it.

A photocopier can be gotten for less than a hundred bucks today.

Draw a picture of the garden to scale and photocopy it. Then you draw the new plants in their place as a circle or make it look like a puff ball kind of bush thing. Then colour it in with pencil crayons. You need to add an information key, an arrow for north, Clients name and address, desing number, your name and phone number and so on. I have a preprinted box that goes in the corner of the paper. We just fill it in.
That will make it look professional.

In the past I have photographed the garden, and then printed the picture in my office.
I used a glue stick and taped over the garden area with white paper. Then photocopied that as my design templet.

Then you could photocopy shapes of drawn plants from another design in a magazine and cut them out. Move them around on your templet to see how things fit. When you have an idea, put a bit of glue on the back of the plant cut out and photocopy your rough design. Then remove the plant cut out from the paper so the glue doesn't dry
and do another example.

Like I said before, go look at some design magazines or buy a couple of them for ideas.
They will show you how to do a design by hand.

Usually I give the client two rough design ideas. Then it kind of empowers them to make a decision....it gives them a better choice.

The interview process with the client, then the over exagerated measuring and photographing of the area and the many hours of design research and work in the office
could take many hours. Some-times days.

Generally to get to this stage, the average price here is around $800.00
You can call this a "basic design" or "pencil to paper". Then the client shouldn't expect an autocad type program.

When the design is approved, you could charge them more for a formal plant list and the finished design.

For design work, get paid upfront before you leave after your presentation to the client explaining what you have planned.

You cannot put a lien on the property for non payment if you have done a design. You need to have made a physical change to the clients property for this law to take effect.

I know this is more information than you require right now. Hopefully it helps some-one else too.

The first day of Summer. Yahoo!!!
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  #6  
Old 06-21-2011, 09:51 PM
Dr.NewEarth Dr.NewEarth is offline
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I wrote desing number...I meant Design Number.....more coffee please
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  #7  
Old 06-21-2011, 09:59 PM
jdutcher003 jdutcher003 is offline
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Thank you very much for the help. I am going to sit down with the customer and go over what they are looking for specifically. I am going to go and buy a book or magazine in regards to design work. Is there anything you would recommend that is good?
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  #8  
Old 06-21-2011, 10:15 PM
Dr.NewEarth Dr.NewEarth is offline
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Originally Posted by jdutcher003 View Post
Thank you very much for the help. I am going to sit down with the customer and go over what they are looking for specifically. I am going to go and buy a book or magazine in regards to design work. Is there anything you would recommend that is good?
We would have different periodicals here, than you have.

If you have a home depot, they usually have a book section. Or see what's at the check out.

I read every book on landscaping in my local library when I first started out.

You should be able to find a site like this one that deals with plants.
You can ask people there what combinations will work....
for instance

I use:www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums
This is for the University of British Columbia, but there are extremely knowledgeable and gifted people from all over the world on there answering questions.
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