Q: What type of landscapes and gardens do you design?
A: I design landscapes and gardens which are unique to the site, the structures, and the client, so that when you are there, it is unlike anywhere else. My work draws on native and local materials, favoring water-wise planting. While I love and use structure and organization, I also seek for an artistic feeling of freedom, creativity and curiosity in my designs. Within this context I create livable and comfortable spaces for my clients.
Q: Why should I commission you? What sets you apart from other designers?
A: I encourage you to meet with several designers and landscape architects for your project before making a decision of whom will design your landscape. You and the designer should have similar goals and values for your landscape in order for the process to be a successful one.
When you commission me, you commission an artist. I work intuitively - which is my greatest strength. I create concepts, experiences, and narratives with nature. I dedicate myself to your space for the duration of the project and become fully invested.
I have received training here at home and abroad, studying in Japan and graduating from the Inchbald School of Design with a Postgraduate Degree in Garden Design. Upon graduation I was awarded the Society of Garden Designer's Award. I spend a lot of time in the wilder parts of Utah to better understand the way Nature creates and designs. I am continuously inspired and motivated by our natural world and as an artist and designer, my observations manifest themselves through my designs.
Q: Who are your clients?
A: I am commissioned mostly by the private homeowner. My specialty is new builds, but I also work with existing landscapes in need of major renovation.
Q: Where are your projects located?
A: My projects are anywhere there is a need for a creative and original landscape. Currently, I am working in the Park City, Utah area.
Q: How much does a design cost?
A: The cost depends upon the size of the site and the scope of the project. Designs start at $5,000.00, with the option of adding on an Aesthetic Director's Fee.
Q: What is an Aesthetic Director's Fee?
A: It is the fee I charge to be on-site during installation to ensure that the aesthetic vision for the design is adhered to. I work closely with the landscape contractor, builder, architect, and homeowner throughout this process. The rate for this service is either hourly ($115.00) or a percentage of installation/construction (8-15%).
Q: Can I pay for partial services?
A: Just as you wouldn't hire a skilled architect or builder to design or build half a house – so it is with a great landscape. I only accept commissions which will allow me to create a complete design.
For the DIY'ers - my best service for you would be to either take my Landscape & Garden Design Workshops or hire me for an one or two hour consultation where I meet with you on-site and talk you through how to think about your landscape. I don't produce any drawings, but rather, I teach you how to see your spaces and share some basic design techniques so that you can move forward on your own. My design workshops run between $325.00-$550.00, and my consultation service is $100/hr plus travel time and expenses.
Q: When should I contact you?
A: The earlier you contact me, the better. If it's a new build, don't wait until you have received your Certificate of Occupancy. Bring me on as early as possible so that I can collaborate more effectively with you, the architect, and the builder.
Q: What documents will you need to begin?
A: I will need an accurate site plan to scale. If you are building you should already have this from the architect. Ideally the site plan should include the footprint of the house/structure, boundary lines, easements, building envelopes, topographical information including contour lines and spot heights, existing vegetation and any other crucial information such as gas and electric lines underground. If you do not have an accurate site plan, I can give you a cost for me to create it, or coordinate with a professional surveyor to produce this document. This is especially essential for sites which have steep or varied grades.
I will also need the architectural plans if it's a new build. This includes floor plans for all levels and the elevation drawings for the exterior.
Q: I have called/emailed - now what?
A: After we have made initial contact, we will arrange a time and place to meet to discuss your project and vision, the timing, approximate design costs, and your general budget. This hour will allow us to get to know each other and to see if I am a good fit for your project. If you can bring the site plan with you to this first meet-up, or are able to have it sent prior, that would be beneficial.
The second meeting is on-site to discuss the project in more detail and to create the Design Brief. It is after this meeting that I will then send you a proposal for a Commission Agreement.
Q: I have accepted your proposal, when can you start designing?
A: I only work on 1-2 projects at a time in order to maintain high standards for my craft. The wait time could be a week or it could be several months. As stated above, the earlier I am introduced to a project, the better. Regardless of the lead time, I will meet with you as soon as possible to discuss your landscape, even if I can't begin designing for a few months.
As most of my work is currently in Utah, it is helpful to know that if I can't see the site (i.e. it's covered by snow), I won't design until I can.
Q: How long does it take for you to complete a design?
A: That depends on a variety of factors. Generally, the minimum for a design would be one month, but most designs will take at least two months. Some designs take several months depending on the weather and the schedules of everyone involved in the design process and approvals.
Q: What is your process from start to finish? What can I expect to see?
Site Inventory & Analysis: Before I start designing I will spend a day or two on-site in order to become acquainted with your land. Each site has it's own personality and characteristics which will help drive the design. I will make observations and take notes of what exists and how your site is affected by the built and natural environment. This may include sun/shade patterns, drainage issues, wind issues, views to be enhanced or blocked, and existing plants to preserve or remove.
Mood Board: Once the site has been inventoried and analyzed, I then create a Mood Board. This is a collection of images which will visually communicate and express my understanding/vision of the project. Inspiration will come from our previous conversations, the Design Brief, and my time on site. I will present the Mood Board for your feedback and approval.
Concept Plan: With plenty of preparation to grow from, I then start shaping and defining your landscape and/or gardens. For the Concept Plan I will be on-site sketching and organizing on paper all ideas gathered previously. Rough scale-models may be created during this phase to explore space and the design development in 3D. Once I feel I have a solid grasp on the general layout and ambiance of the design, I will present the Concept Plan for your feedback and approval.
Master Plan & Master Plan Notes: Once the Concept Plan has been signed off, I move into the details which are defined in the Master Plan. The Master Plan includes the specific layout of all areas and features, general materials are labeled (i.e. brick, crushed rock, concrete, timber, etc.), approximate heights are determined (i.e. walls, patios, decks, steps), planting schemes are set forth, and a written explanation for the Master Plan is presented in the Master Plan Notes. These documents are what a landscape contractor will use to determine the cost of the design. Upon completion, I will present the Master Plan & Notes for your feedback and approval.
Planting Plan(s) & Plant Key: If the Master Plan cannot include the Planting Plan adequately, then a separate Planting Plan will be created to solely show plant placement. And depending on the scope of the project and size of the site, several Planting Plan sheets may need to be created so that each area can be magnified to be better understood. With the Planting Plan(s) come a Plant Key, which lists each of the plants to be used, including the size, quantity and any other helpful information about the plant selection.
Elevation Drawings: Throughout the Concept Plan, Master Plan and Installation phases, Elevation Drawings of key areas or key features may need to be developed to better understand the design and resolve spatial concerns. These will be presented as they are drawn.
Detail Drawings: Detail Drawings will be developed to determine details for items such as steps, decks, patios, water features, etc., and junctions where one material meets another. These drawings are similar to construction drawings and specifications, but are a visual guide, rather than a how-to-build guide. These drawings may be produced throughout the Concept Plan and Master Plan phases, but especially during Installation as I work alongside the contractors to develop a drawing which they can build from.
Aesthetic Direction: To ensure that the visual and aesthetic quality of the design is adhered to, I work closely with the landscape contractor and sub-contractors during the installation of your landscape. This may allow me to hand-pick plant material, direct the placement of each tree, shrub, etc., and to be available for when inevitable changes in the design surface due to unforeseen circumstances. Also, Detail Drawings are developed during the Installation Phase as I collaborate with the contractors on the details of various features in the design, and exact species of hardscape materials are determined.
Q: Which programs do you use to create your designs?
A: Currently all my work is done by hand, with a little help from Adobe Illustrator. If needed, I may use Google SketchUp to develop detailed areas in order to show you 3D models - otherwise it is all hand drawn. I believe that the human touch makes a huge difference in creating a design - and that the outcome of the design is directly affected by what medium I choose.
Q: What is not included in your designs?
A: Irrigation design and lighting design, though I may give recommendations in these areas. I also do not create construction specifications. My Detail Drawings are comparable to these documents, but are a visual guide of how a detail should look, rather that how a detail should be built. However, I will collaborate with the contractor on the details, who in the end will be responsible for the means and methods of construction.
Q: What happens once all the drawings are complete/Who installs the design?
A: Once the design is complete, it is sent out to bid. If you already have a landscape contractor in mind whom you would like to install the design that's great. I can also introduce you to a couple of landscape contractors to see who you think would be the best fit for you and your landscape. I will walk and talk each contractor through the design on-site so they have a good understanding of the potential scope of work ahead of them.
To make an analogy of the relationship between myself and the chosen landscape contractor, I would be the writer/director for a film and the landscape contractor would be the producer, with whom you will have a separate contract. We work and collaborate together to realize the design, but each with separate responsibilities.
Q: How long will it take for my landscape to be installed?
A: This depends on the scope of the project and the schedule of the landscape contractor. Some designs can be installed in a couple of weeks while others take months onward.
Q: How long will it take for my landscape to grow in once it's installed?
A: This depends greatly upon where you live, how you take care of your landscape, the type of plants installed and their original size at the time of installation. But I generally say that in 3 years it will be looking great, in 5 years it will feel quite flushed out and amazing, and after a decade it will be stunning, better than ever! Of course, this is all relevant to how you maintain and manage the design.
A common mistake that designers make is to over-plant in the beginning because they, or the homeowners, are scared of what a first-year landscape looks like...but it's better to allow the design to grow into itself rather than having to extract many parts of the design just 5 years later due to plants running into each other, creating a visual and physical mess.
Another aspect which will weaken your design is not maintaining it properly each growing season. Even just the basics: weeding and pruning - will work wonders.
Q: Do you make any follow-up visits after the initial installation of the design?
A: Some clients work with me for 2 or 3 years (or more) following the original installation of the design to monitor the landscape to make sure it is growing in properly. Sometimes plants won't perform as well as hoped for due to poor soil condition, over or under watering, disease, a harsh winter, people/animal wear and tear...there are several reasons why something may need to be managed, adjusted, or replaced. Your landscape is a living design and it's important to remember that with a designed landscape, it will still need your attention after the initial installation. So please don't hesitate to call if you have any questions or concerns the years following.
Q: Do you provide maintenance services for my landscape now that it is installed?
A: I do not provide maintenance services for your landscape.
I would be happy to meet with you, your head gardener, or the maintenance crew which comes regularly to discuss the design and the aesthetic aspect to maintenance so that the original vision is allowed to fully flourish and come into fruition over the years.