Creating a beautiful outdoor living space requires careful consideration and planning. One of the first steps to take when planning your outdoor area is to have a landscape design consultation. The consultation is an opportunity to sit down with a professional landscape designer or architect to share your vision and desired outcomes for the project. It is a critical step for the landscape designer/architect to formulate a design plan for a living space that suits your personality and lifestyle.
This post covers how you can prepare for your first consultation meeting with a landscape design company.
Determine Your Needs for the Space
Create a list answering the following questions. Be sure to think about your situation now and in the future.
- What are the layout and dimensions for the space? Bring any surveys or drawings you may already have.
- Who will be using the space? Now, or fifteen years from now, will you have pets or children? Will you have aging relatives living with you or grandchildren? Your life circumstances can affect your requirements for the space.
- Do you plan on adding on to your house? What area(s) will this affect?
- How much maintenance time can you dedicate to upkeep, or how much are you willing to spend for maintenance?
- Do you have existing issues such as erosion, poor soil, or drainage problems that need addressing?
- If any, what HOA restrictions may affect the project?
- How do you intend on using the space? (furniture, elements, activities, entertaining, etc.)
Gather Ideas for What You Want in the Space
Think about what you plan to do in this area. Do you host events? Do you like to cook outdoors? Do you want it to be an area to relax with ample privacy or a more natural, serene place where you feel at peace? Ideas abound on Pinterest, Houzz, and other social media. And there is no shortage of features you might want in your outdoor living area, but you will likely have to prioritize to make choices.
Make a wish list of all the features you’d like and note whether each is a must-have or like-to-have. For example, if you are entertaining outdoors, you may decide an outdoor kitchen is necessary. If your space is a peaceful zen environment for solitude, you may still want a kitchen but not consider it as important to the space. Here are some popular features you may want to consider adding to your list:
- Pools/spas. Pools and spas give a resort feel for a staycation, and they are excellent for the entertainment lifestyle. But they can be just as satisfying for two to relax and enjoy at the end of the day. If you are thinking about building a pool, do you already have an idea of shape, size, and color? Have you decided on gunite, fiberglass, or vinyl liner?
- Fire features. Fire features may include a fire pit, fireplace, a fire table, a firepot, or other custom-made features. Consider the purpose of the fire feature. Do you want it to keep you warm on cool evenings, or is it more important to look elegant and enhance the atmosphere?
- Water features. Water features such as bubblers or deck jets may come with a pool, or perhaps you want a koi pond or natural waterfall. The sounds of water features alone can add tranquility to your backyard.
- Custom structures. From pergolas to covered patios to custom privacy screens, structures make outdoor living spaces more livable. No matter how much (or little) room you have, a landscape architect can help you get function and beauty with custom structures.
Know Your Budget
Without a price range, it would not be easy to talk in much detail about design possibilities. If you have a budget, your landscape designer/architect can make adjustments by choosing certain materials, or they may suggest a plan that allows you to do what you want in phases. Be sure that all decision-makers are present at the meeting and that you have allotted one to two hours for the landscape design consultation.
Prepare to Talk Timeline Expectations
The best landscape design companies will be busy, so your project may not get started right away. And many other factors can affect the timeline. Inclement weather, supply chain issues, and permitting are common reasons for delays, so setting a strict deadline for completion can be tough.
Suppose you have a set timeline, for example. If you’re planning a wedding in the backyard, communicate that deadline as soon as possible to make sure that your landscape design company can either meet your requirements or make mutually agreed upon adjustments to the project scope.
Your design consultation is an opportunity to express your wants and needs, ask questions, and get answers. When you go into the process having already thought through some details, the meeting will be more productive and get you closer to starting your landscape design project. If you are ready to get started on a new landscape design, contact Aspen Outdoor Designs to schedule a consultation with us today.