Critique my pool design please

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Steiner, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. Steiner

    Steiner LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 409

    Here is a few shots of a design I am working on.

    Simple, economical, Zone 5.

    Please Critique

    Thank you




  2. Steiner

    Steiner LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 409

    Bed is 6+ feet wide

    One edge of bed is 2' strip of concrete around pool.

    The other side is chain link fence bordering, nosy neighbors.

  3. Glenn Lawn Care

    Glenn Lawn Care LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,645

    Very nice looking!
  4. ron mexico75

    ron mexico75 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,054

    I like it, presented well for a homeowner to understand too.
  5. StoneFaced

    StoneFaced LawnSite Member
    Messages: 201

    I'm not going to over-critique, because over all, I think it's a really nice job you did. It shows effort and care. I like that your using color and shading. I also really like the "Bloom Plan" part of your legend.

    People love to see their name on a print, so I usually try to make that a bit larger.
    Your printing, looks a lot like mine & that for me has always bean very frustrating, because it wasn't the architect lettering style, that I wanted on my prints.

    See if this works for you...In your spare time, when your just doodling, try some exercises to try & trick your brain. Start w/ focusing on where the pencil strokes should hit between the lines (for each letter). If the graph paper lines aren't working then draw them in heavy (not on an actual design of course, just when practicing). Next, try leaning your letters to the left & focus on that. Once your comfortable with that (it will probably take a while, because your teasing your brains function), try exaggerating your pen strokes a bit. look at examples of others work to see what I'm talking about.

    I basically have 3 styles of writing. Cursive, which i almost never use anymore. My style of printing that i use when I'm just writing notes to myself. And then, the style that I use when doing design work...which I always try to use, because after 2.5 decades, my brain doesn't want me too. It's good mental exercise. While my resi clients might not say anything about it...I've sold work to builders & developers, because they noticed. They often times do remark. The important thing is to learn how not to beat yourself up.

    Some might try to argue, to just use a design program...which is fine, but there is no replacement for general design skills. Kind of like reading books on audio.

    All and all, nice job!!
  6. Steiner

    Steiner LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 409

    Worked hours on this design.

    Same story.Customer did not like it, even though I used the plants they picked, hit all their design requirements, and put thought into all the factors they discussed on the day we met.

    Man this is really frustrating. Customers act like they know more than us when it comes to planting design. When I explain why things are so, they keep going back to the revisions that make the design not sparkle.

    Share your story:
    Do you run into this?

    Do you have multiple revisions?

    What percentage of people trust you to just take an idea and run?

  7. Gilmore.Landscaping

    Gilmore.Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 645

    You say you worked hours on this design? Are you charging the client for that? If not Start!

    Personally not the way I would have organized plants. But that's not really the issue here except for the client didn't like it either. Try grouping stuff more instead of linear lines, can be more natural and pleasing to the eye instead of the formal look of lines.

    Client make the design not sparkle?? well that's your opinion, not everyone has the same tastes as you and sometimes you need to do things that may even look ugly to you, but will look great to them. The key here is that you educate them on proper planting choices. i.e. if they want to plant full sun stuff in full shade or aren't considering the mature size of plants.

    Yes multiple revisions are usually necessary and you need to factor that time into the price you provide them for design work. I usually go with one concept plan (to help establish forms and general ideas to make sure your on the same page, one master plan, and one revisions drawing to that, anything more cost them more money.

    And Yes I run into this matter how hard you try, no matter how much you listen to their needs, somehow you can always end up completely wrong. Which after further discussion usually is more of mis communications. By this I mean they say they want formal so you give them a formal design when really they had no idea what formal meant and they just didn't want a wild natural garden.

    I would say developing a portfolio of your work including designs/install/maintenance work is the number one way to get people to trust you. You need to talk alot and show your knowledge and experience right off the bat and show you can take control and manage everything in a professional manner.

    Anyway kinda a long response but hopefully its somewhat helpful.
  8. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    When you are given a list of goals, hit them out of the park on the first draft. Force the homeowner to compromise the plan rather than doing it for them. The number one thing on your list was privacy, but the design does not scream privacy - my guess is that budget plays into that. Budget is important, but if you are doing a design you have to hit the design goals first and let the client erode the design because of budget.

    One sledge hammer approach would be to proposed a solid wood fence along the pool to either replace or go in front of the chain link to completely block the neighbors down low. Single trunk deciduous trees with the branching starting just below the height of the fence adds to that and allows you to plant shrubs below. Foliage color on trellises on the fence, such as Silver King Euonymus, add depth and color without burning up a lot of real estate in your 6' bed (5' bed with the new fence if it goes in front). Now the rest of the plants in the bed don't have to function as screening, but can be all about summer color. There are some great dwarf hydrangeas that stay below 3.5' such as the "Cityline" or "Let's Dance" series that can give you big all summer color and work with the partial shade as the trees grow. You can mix in groupings of perennials like Purple Meadow Sage, Shasta Daisy, and Daylilies. It looks a lot nicer to do this in a rhythm rather than a straight repetition.

    They may not want the expense of the fence or the trees, but you will nail down the design goals and show them how it can be done. They have to decide on their own to compromise it .... they are put in the position of either to disappoint you or go for it.

    The last thing you ever want to do when designing is to disappoint in the plan. It is far better to miss the budget by a mile and show them how it should be than to meet the budget and fall short on the design. You hold the high road and they make the compromise keeps you out of the under achieving design.
  9. Steiner

    Steiner LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 409

    Thank AGLA, your insight is always refreshing. Many times on this site no one will care enough to really explain, and I thank you for taking your time to do that.

    I really felt on top of the world and I deserved to be knocked down off my high horse. I thought I knew better than the client what she wanted. I was seriously wrong.

    She wants to go with groupings of roses near the existing weeping cherry and some boulders. I am just trying to get good balance and unity. I am afraid to do clusters of roses near the cherry and then grasses on the other side as I feel like it won't look harmonius, but like 3 different sections without a unifying element. Maybe I can use boulders to unify the different sections she is proposing? I also want to work in some winter interest as we have 6+ months of it.

    Back to the drawing board stay tuned.

    Thanks again
  10. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    Boulders are hugely unifying. Group them. Don't try to match the groups in look or scale. That will set you up to be able to do different things without them looking out of context.

    Don't be afraid to "bookend the two ends of the planting with the same plant - perhaps a big ornamental grass like Morning Light Maiden grass. Roses go surprisingly well with grasses. I often use "Little Bunny Fountain Grass" with Pink Knockout roses and throw a grouping of hydrangeas nearby in fence or border plantings.

    Always try to visualize what the big picture will look like from farther away.

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