Landscape architecture encompasses all designed changes to the outdoor environment. Licensed landscape architects are professionally trained to design elements outside of buildings including gardens, recreational facilities, terraces, walls, steps, fountains, pools and pergolas, and many other structural elements. Many different types and scales of projects fall within this broad view of landscape architecture and we adapt our process to respond to the clients’ needs. What follows is an outline of our full-service approach to landscape architecture. Many times an abbreviated version of this process is all that is required, but if you are starting from the beginning this may be the process of design you follow with Woodburn and Company:
+ Initial Consultation
At our first meeting, we will listen to your needs and vision of the landscape you desire. During that process we will give you our impressions and feedback regarding the site and your vision. By the end of our meeting, we should both have a very good idea of the potential project and the product we will create to meet those goals.
After meeting with you, Woodburn & Company will provide a written contract proposal for you that clearly describes the project, the program elements that will be illustrated on the plans, the type and number of drawings and whether construction detailing of proposed design elements will be required and included. The contract will include a proposed fee and describe the terms of the fee, whether it is to be a lump sum contract, billed hourly or a percentage of construction. Our flexibility on fee terms is an example of our goal to be responsive to clients' needs.
+ Site Analysis
Using the mapping you provide to us (or that we compile) we will visit the site, photograph existing conditions and note features that may not have been included in the original base information. We then create a base map for the project. We will study the mapping, photographs and any other research to develop a thorough understanding of the property including its opportunities and constraints.
+ Master Plan
On larger projects with multiple site elements we will often create a master plan as the initial stage of design. The master plan is a general drawing that illustrates the layout of various site elements and their relationships to each other and the land. It provides a guide to evaluating if and how a project might be phased over time. The master plan can also be the basis for the initial budgeting and feasibility of the project. Once the master plan is reviewed, adjusted for client input and approved, the specific phases of the project can be designed.
+ Sketch Sessions
On many projects we find it helpful to sketch directly with our clients as part of our initial design effort. This gives you, the client, the opportunity to provide direct and critical input to the direction of the design of the project. The result of these sessions can create the initial basis for a schematic design or master plan.
+ Schematic Design
During this phase, initial design ideas are created and evaluated. At times, several options might be developed with three dimensional sketches and elevations. Schematic design is a time for exploring options and determining the specific arrangement of site elements, what materials they might be made of and their relationships to existing structures and natural features. This phase of design is more specific than the master plan phase and once it is complete the approach for the design of the space is determined and approved by the client.
+ Design Development
Once the design scheme is determined and approved, then design development will begin. This is a phase of refinement and tightening up of the scheme. Some small areas of redesign may occur as a result of program clarifications, material selection requirements, and decisions regarding exact construction techniques. From time to time, collaboration with other consultants may be required for the design of structural, mechanical or civil-engineered elements. The refinement of the design and the more specific information complied will provide a more accurate picture of the potential costs for a project and, if needed, a budget estimate will be complied as a result of this phase. By the end of this phase, all the design specifics will be determined and the project will be ready to proceed to the production of construction documents. It is most important that the proposed design be thoroughly reviewed and understood before proceeding. Woodburn & Company will present the design development package to you with a final cost estimate, if required, and request your permission to proceed before beginning the construction documents phase.
+ Construction Documents
Construction documents consist of measured layout plans, grading plans, and planting plans accompanied by details and specifications that specifically call out materials, products and plantings so that a project can be accurately bid and constructed.
We feel that your choice of a contractor is one of the most important decisions you will make, especially if you will be regularly involved in the construction. It is critical that you feel comfortable in your relationship with the person or firm that you are working with. We will, if requested, assist you in choosing a contractor or contractors to provide estimates or to bid on the proposed project. We will also issue bid packages, review and evaluate bids, and negotiate with the contractor on your behalf should you desire. During the pre-bid phase, be prepared to interview enough firms to find ones with whom you feel you can communicate well. These firms will be the ones to bid on your project. If there is mutual respect and easy communication, then a project will proceed in the right direction.
+ Construction Observation
Once the project is bid and a contractor is chosen, construction can begin. We are available to visit the site and make frequent contact by phone and e-mail to observe the progress of the job for you and assist the contractor should there be questions about the plans or if conditions on site affect the project. We reserve the right to reject workmanship or materials that do not meet the requirements of the construction specifications. We can also review the contractors’ requests for payment, comment on their accuracy, and or certify that indeed, payment is due. It is important to note that although our primary responsibility is to you the client, we are also required by our professional standards to be fair and impartial in our dealings with you and the contractor as part of this phase.
Woodburn & Company’s approach to the establishment of fees is one of flexible response to the needs of the client. Most often our fees are determined on the basis of estimates of the time involved to produce a product, by phase, based on our standard hourly rates. These fees are generally quoted as lump sums and billed monthly based on the percentage completed plus reimbursable expenses. Construction observation is billed hourly in addition to the fees quoted for design. Upon request, we will provide a proposed schedule of construction observation in order to give an indication of what these services could cost. From time to time, when a specific construction budget has been established we have based our fees on a percentage of construction. Depending on the complexity of the project, this percentage can vary from eight percent up to eighteen percent based on the complexity of the project. We also have many clients for whom we work on an hourly basis. We will be happy to discuss this option should it appeal to you. No matter what level of design your project requires, Woodburn & Company will bring the same level of creativity and enthusiasm that all our clients enjoy.