One of the most critical steps in bringing your outdoor living dreams to life is the design phase. This invaluable process is where ideas start to evolve from mere conceptions to reality. Given the value of a great landscape design, it’s important that you fully maximize your first step in this process, the landscape design consultation meeting.
If you're considering or have already scheduled a landscape design consultation with us, then this article is perfect for you. In order to get the maximum benefit out of your consultation, here are 6 questions you should ask yourself in advance.
1. Will this Landscape Design Work in Our Future?
While there’s an inclination to think of design in terms of what you want now, when you’re investing in an outdoor living area, it makes sense to also think about how the space will be utilized in your future.
Will the same design work 5, 10, or even 15 years from now? What might change about your life between now and then? Will there be children or grandchildren to consider? Will there be aging relatives to consider or even restrictions due to your own aging? Will there be an addition added to the home at some point? Will any of these future plans impact the need for running utility lines for project phases completed years from now? These are all great questions to ask explore with your landscape designer.
2. What Style Best Fulfills Our Interests?
Style matters as much for the exterior of your home as it does for your interior. Are you more of a modern/contemporary person or do you love natural, free-flowing design? Do you like design styles with Asian influences or perhaps design styles with elements of Tuscan influences? These types of questions can really be helpful in getting to the root of what style you want your landscape design to incorporate.
A lot of times people will say they don’t have a “style,” but it quickly becomes obvious as they peruse through pictures that certain style elements interest them more than others.
This is a key reason why we always recommend that homeowners take time to “dream.” Browse magazines, Houzz, or on Pinterest and look for lots of ideas and highlight things that you like best.
3. What Add-Ons or Features Are We Most Interested In?
Oftentimes, homeowners think about their outdoor living project on a grand-scale without much thought given to the “features” that will make up that space. For instance, you might know with certainty that you want an outdoor kitchen but you may not have given a tremendous amount of thought to what features you desire that kitchen to have. Of course, it’s the features that really can take a space from ordinary to extraordinary.
Some of the additional features that can really enhance your space include (but are not limited to):
- Kitchen Appliances (grill, power burner, refrigerator/freezer, dishwasher, ice maker, sinks, etc.)
- Outdoor Lighting
- Audio/Visual Additions
- Storage Solutions
- Water or Fire Features
- Pool Features (fountains, rock walls, slides, etc.)
- Decorative Walls, Steps and/or Walkways
- Planting Beds, Containers, or Built-in Planters
- Structures (pavilions, pergola, poolhouse)
4. Do We Have Any Vested Interest in the Plant Material?
Are there plants that you love or that you hate? We find that oftentimes homeowners have some very specific opinions on the plant material used for their landscape design and we think that’s fantastic. You should enjoy every aspect of your outdoor living project when it’s complete, down to the plant material used. Perhaps there is a certain plant that reminds you of a loved one or that you’ve always enjoyed. Or, perhaps there is a plant that you can’t stand due to its smell or appearance. These are important details to bring up during the landscape design consultation.
Of course, some plants are better suited to specific situations. There are plants that are best near pools, best for privacy, or even best for being low maintenance. Landscape designers with extensive plant knowledge will also be able to help you in making the ideal selection for your needs.
5. How Much Maintenance Do We Plan to Perform on Our Landscape?
Your expectations for maintaining your landscape are another important point of discussion during a landscape design consultation. That’s because there are definitely ways to create a low maintenance design which will require less work on your part or on the part of your landscape maintenance contractor. Some material choices may cost you more initially but may save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
If you’re someone who likes being out there and maintaining your plant beds because gardening relaxes you, then that’s valuable information to share with your designer. But if you want a hands-off landscape, then the approach to that design would be entirely different.
6. Are We Aware of Problem Areas On Our Property?
Do you have existing erosion, poor soil, or drainage issues that you already know are going to pose problems during a landscape redesign? Perhaps you always have standing water in a certain part of your yard or you have a sloping property.
What about environmental pressures such as high winds, excessive shade, or an overabundance of sunlight in some areas?
If you are aware of issues, you should bring these up as your landscape designer will be able to devise solutions. Of course, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to be unaware of certain problems with their property and that’s okay. It’s important to work with a landscape designer that will know what potential problems could impact your finished project. While a conversation about concerns is the least enjoyable aspect of a landscape design discussion, it’s an essential one.
Unfortunately, even many landscape designers in Lancaster, York, Reading, and Hershey, PA, breeze over this part of the conversation. Even worse, some leave it out entirely! They know that it’s not something that is appealing or exciting to talk about and worry it would be a turnoff to discuss.
But you should think of it as just the opposite.
When you’re investing in something as valuable as a new outdoor living area, you want to be sure that you’re working with a landscape designer who will be able to address any problems on your property or else you won’t be able to get the full enjoyment out of your space.
The last thing that you want is for an unaddressed drainage problem to cause a mudslide into your pool every time that it rains or for water to build up beneath your brand-new patio because drainage was never a consideration.
Choosing the Best Landscape Designers in Lancaster, York, Reading, Lebanon, and Hershey, PA
If you’ve considered or already have scheduled a landscape design consultation with a particular company, then you’re obviously seriously considering them for your finished project. Being prepared for that valuable meeting and getting the full scope of what the company can offer you should help you come to terms with that final decision.
In the end, you want a company that is going to fully meet all of your needs and help design a space that is exactly what you were dreaming of—or perhaps, even better.
By working with a company that takes the landscape design consultation seriously, and takes the time to work through this information (and more) with you, you can feel confident that you’re making a wise choice amongst landscape design companies. After all, a company that is detail-oriented in the design phase is going to be just as detail-oriented as they bring it to life and that can help take your project to a whole new level.
If you’re ready to have a detail-oriented conversation about a project at your Reading, Lancaster, York, Lebanon, or Hershey, PA home, contact us to schedule your free consultation or give us a call at 717-276-9447.