I generally like to write about the philosophy of landscapes; their meaning, history, significance. In this post I want to offer some very practical advice for clients who want to do significant landscape work. We want to design and install beautiful, well thought-out landscapes that meet our clients' budget. The following points will go a long way toward helping us achieve these goals for you.
• New Construction: bring your landscape architect (LA) on-board early in the process. Have the LA meet with your architect and builder so they can discuss the design, circulation and location of utility lines.
•Give the LA a current copy of your lot plan. This helps with accurate estimates, the cost of us measuring, and avoids planting on your neighbors yard.
•Make sure the LA has a current copy of the architectural plan and that it is located on the plot plan.
•Have the LA and builder work out the location of all utility lines. This is really important! You don’t want to give up that specimen tree in a prime location because of underground pipes that could be located elsewhere. Plan the location of an irrigation computer, pump and water lines from the beginning of the project. For existing buildings the LA should have the accurate plot plan, architectural plan and the location of all utilizes.
•Prior to beginning installation the site should be free of construction debris, piles of rock and anything you do not want in your finished landscape. The site should be fine graded and ready for plants and sod. Site clean-up and preparation take time. Unless you have contracted your landscape installer to do this you will be charged additional fees. It is shocking how many times we've been assured a site is ready and arrive to begin installation and find mounds of cement, wire and other construction trash and/or minimal grading—Not fair to us and costly to you.
•Watering newly installed plants every day is essential. We prefer to install irrigation prior to installing plants. This makes logical sense. We have, on occasion, installed plants prior to completing irrigation if the client insists. Generally this does not work out well for the plants and can be an added cost to the client. Watering new plants is as much art as science. Sun, wind and dry spells dramatically affect watering needs. Irrigation from the get-go reduces the risk of plant stress due to lack of water.
Unforeseen problems almost always arise. But if you follow these points the installation of your dream landscape should go smoothly and the plants should thrive.
Until next time, Dean