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Listening: The Key to Successful Patio Design in Reading and Lancaster, PA

Posted On: August 07,2017 By: Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Listening is the key to a great patio design for your Reading or Lancaster, PA home.Finding a landscape company that truly listens to you—the client—is such an important part of a patio design for your Reading or Lancaster, PA home (or its surrounding areas). It might not sound like such a big deal, but the truth is that it can be the difference between a patio that you love and one that doesn’t meet many of your needs.

After all, at the end of the day, you and your family are the ones that are going to be spending time on it.

We believe that listening is the key to a successful patio design for our Reading and Lancaster, PA clients but it’s not necessarily a priority for many of our competitors. Here are some reasons why we believe it’s so critical as well as what can go wrong if it doesn’t happen.


Why Listening is a Key to Successful Patio Design

A landscape company that listens to your wants and needs is the difference between getting the patio design you want for your Reading or Lancaster, PA home—or getting the patio design your contractor wants. Sometimes it really is small details but listening to the homeowner matters.

Listening is the key to a great patio design for your Reading or Lancaster, PA home.

For instance, we recently designed a patio where the client told us they did not want the patio built on the northside as the snow would not melt. That might sound like common sense but it’s also a detail that is easy to overlook and forget.

We’ll also ask questions about how you entertain and how many guests you tend to invite. For instance, you might be a family of four but you commonly have at least one other family over. We wouldn’t want to design a patio that could only seat your family of four, but we would design a space that could fit a larger table. These are details that make a huge difference but aren’t always thought of at the onset.

Listening is the key to a great patio design for your Reading or Lancaster, PA home.

We also listen to details about our clients’ specific family situations. Will there be children (or more children) in your future? What are the kids’ ages now? Does the patio need to be in a place where you can see the kids swim in the pool from it—or play on the swing set?

We also plan for the future in terms of the space being something you can enjoy for the long-term. Eventually, children will grow and have children of their own. We think about those details, as well, so that you can enjoy the space for the long-haul.


How to Tell If Patio Companies in Reading and Lancaster, PA are Listening

How can you tell that you’ve hired someone who really does listen? The initial design consultation is the time when you’ll really be able to recognize if you’ve found a Registered Landscape Architect (or RLA, for short—the “designer” on your project) and a landscaping company that listens to you—or one that is putting their own ideas first.

Listening is the key to a great patio design for your Reading or Lancaster, PA home.That’s not to say that a good design professional will not interject some of his or her own ideas. There’s a big difference between making recommendations based on experience and taking over the entire project. During the design consultation, the conversation should be a dialogue. You should feel like your ideas are being listened to even while suggestions are being made.

Oftentimes what happens with patio companies in Reading and Lancaster, PA is that they do not employ an RLA. Instead, the landscape contractor is the one who does the design. Many times he or she might be comfortable with doing a certain type of patio and get into the habit of doing it again and again. Even if it’s not what you really want, they might try to steer you in that direction.  If you feel like you’re being pushed into decisions you’re not comfortable with—or that your wants and needs are not being listened to—then chances are you’re not going to be happy with the finished product.

Another way to know that you’re really being heard is to pay attention to whether the RLA takes notes about what you’re saying. We believe in meticulous note taking—writing down all of those “little details” that really make a difference in the finished product.

At Earth Turf & Wood, we’ll recite back to you what we hear you saying to ensure that we get it correct. It’s important to us that we hear what you’re saying and that we get the design the way you want it. Listening is something that we get a lot of compliments on. When the patio design project is complete, our clients tell us “you really listened to what I wanted.” Bringing your dreams to life is something that we take pride in and we love seeing our clients’ reactions when they see the final result.

Need some inspiration in the form of patio images? We have lots of ideas. But we also value listening to you. If you’re ready to start talking about a patio for your Reading or Lancaster, PA home, or its surrounding areas, contact us for a free consultation or give us a call at (717) 276-9447 to get the conversation started.

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Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Written by Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Mary Hatch Dresser is a Registered Landscape Architect with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia School of Environmental Design. Mary has designed landscapes for 32 years and joined ETW exclusively in 2009. Mary is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA); and also serves on the Shade Tree Committee in Strasburg Borough where she resides. Mary prides herself in carefully listening to her clients to professionally meld their ideas and personal criteria with sound, experienced design practice.

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Earth, Turf, & Wood

188 North Reamstown Road
Denver, PA 17517

p 717.276.9447


Serving Southeast Pennsylvania including: Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, York, Hershey, Harrisburg and surrounding areas.