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Would you outsource a landscape design.

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by welz, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. welz

    welz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Has anyone thought of sending landscape designs to a third party (outsourcing) if a valuable client asked you if you could design a landscape and you could not due to no equipment or software, no time, etc.

  2. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I do all my own.

    Do a search in this forum, I know the topic came up a couple of months ago. Probably why nobody has responded.
  3. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,406

    Welz, it's an excellent idea to out source your design work. This coming from a designer/project manager for an independent design firm. If design is not your thing and you have clients that need designs for their own satisfaction, possible permit approval, or for project phasing.

    There are many independent designers, perhaps someone local to your area that would be very happy to perform this service. A quality designer will improve the project and often make it a larger more profitable project. You can get CAD plans, materials lists, hopefully sound horticultural advice, plant lists and even 3D imaging when using the services of a professional landscape designer.

    I would not recommend any of the internet design services. They are not interested in you or your project, just in drafting your plan for profit. You can go long distance if, you establish a relationship with the designer and your client is able to communicate with the designer, if necessary.

    You may need to interview several designers to find what that works best with you, or your client. As has been discussed in a related thread, designers can be good or bad, reasonable or ridiculous, some may have great drawing or computer skills, while others have become horticulturists, it all depends on your needs.

    The APLD is a source to find designers that are members in your state, and they may help you find someone more local or appropriate, if they don't work for you. http://apld.org/members/searchresult.asp

  4. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    I agree with Kirk (as usual).

    The more remote your outsourced designer is from the project, either the project has to be fairly generic or the contractor has to be skilled and vigilant at measuring for a base plan, providing a good accurate site analysis, providing locale information (any regulations or horticultural concerns not found in reference sources), getting a clear understanding of the client and how the client will use the site, and an unusually good ability at communicating all of that without much getting lost in the translation.

    The designer at the other end has to be more than a graphic artist with a copy of horticopia, or it will be more likely that the plan (or more likely a photoimage) will be more appealing than the built work.

    That is hard to do, but it does get done.

    Rule number one - if the designer has only a portfolio of mockups and no built work, it is probably a waste of time.
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I know this will probably piss someone off. Not my intention at all. But IMO, if you're not outsourcing design work, you got a pretty small business. Who the heck has time to be doing designs all the time? Heck, I spend 50-65 hours a week just running all the other aspects of my business. How the heck would I ever have time to also do all the designs too???

    That's kind of an odd question. It's like asking, "Hey, has anyone ever considered hiring someone else to do the mowing for your company?" Well, heck ya! LOTS of people have not only considered it, but do it every day. There are some people who would reply, "No. I do all the mowing myself. And I like it that way." Fine. No problem with that. You want to be a Solo Op. and mow lawns your whole life, fine. But yah, a lot of people have and do hire other people do do that so they can have time to manager the larger issues involved with running and growing the business. Same exact thing with design. Plenty of qualified people out there who can do your designs for you. But only one person should be running your business. And eventually, if you're growing, you'll reach the point where there's just no time to do both. So you have to learn to delegate the design work.
  6. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    Jim, don't forget that a lot of companies have staff designers who are not the owners. Using your own staff to mow grass or design is not outsourcing.
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Yah, I understand that too. But I don't know too many companies that employee FT designers. Around here, only companies that gross $5Mil - $30Mil employee FT designers. Hardly anyone else I know has them on staff. So I was assuming that most of the people here on Lawnsite don't employee FT designers. But I could be wrong.
  8. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    You are right about that. It is difficult to keep a full time designer. Partly because there is not enough design work for 40 hours a week all year and they usually either don't want to do a lot of construction labor (sometimes for good reason like age or injury) or the company has little else for them to remain productive besides labor.
  9. RHayden

    RHayden LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    I would outsource all of mine to AGLA anytime. Seriously- if the client wants- or the job justifies- a full blown set of plans etc. my measurements, notes, and pics all go to a non-local lady who produces a professional design.

    No way I could justify a full time designer and no one is ever going to confuse me with one either.
  10. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    RHAYDEN sums up what a contractor needs to do in order for it to work- measure, notes, & pics ....and someone who can handle it at the other end. It is not just a hand off.

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