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Getting the Most From Your Design Consultation

By: Sandra Nelson

Dan Nelson and his talented staff at Embassy Landscape Group have been designing and installing award-winning landscapes for over 50 years. While I stand in awe of their abilities to see the potential for beauty in an unfinished space, I have also seen the extensive benefits a savvy client adds to the process. To make sure that you get the most from your design consultation, here are some elements to consider before you meet. 

One of the primary considerations in any landscaping project is the budget as it determines both the size and scope of the work. Sharing a realistic budget range with your designer is crucial.  It keeps the design on the right track, preventing both heart-stopping sticker shock and time-consuming re-designs.

What is your vision for the space? Is it a traditional, somewhat formal space or a laid-back, contemporary one? How will it be used? Will it be an entertainment space to host family and friends, or will it be a solitary retreat to feed the soul? Would you like a fire feature included to extend the season? Or perhaps the soothing sound of moving water is exactly your dream. What about lighting? Should it have night lighting? Is there an unattractive view that you want to screen?  Images of landscapes you love sometimes help express your dreams even more precisely than words can. Most designers appreciate seeing them.

Sharing strong likes and dislikes at the initial consultation helps to make the finished design uniquely yours.  It becomes a reflection of your personality rather than a standard “one size fits all” drawing. With a list of favorites— whether it’s colors, plants or even rock vs mulch — your designer can create a space that feels both beautiful and comfortable. 

Knowing how much maintenance the client is willing and able to do is another essential design consideration, affecting choices of hardscaping as well as plant materials.  The goal of a reputable designer is to create a landscape that not only fulfills the client’s dreams today but continues to be beautiful and manageable for years to come.

Your initial meeting sets the stage for the success of your landscaping project., Doing your homework first and then clearly communicating your ideas to your designer is a sure fire way to make sure that your dreams are fully brought to life in the best possible way.