Understanding how a landscaping project comes together from idea to completion will help you avoid frustration and minimize delays. Here’s an explanation of the four-stage process for your Westford, MA, landscape design project.
The design brief phase is the very beginning of your landscape design project. It involves gathering ideas, planning, making a wish list, and understanding your budget. During this phase you may work with a landscape designer or landscape architect, depending on the complexity and scope of the project). Together, you will discuss:
The intended uses of your backyard (entertaining, relaxing, games/sports, swimming, hot tubbing, meditating, etc.) as well as any special considerations that must be made for kids, pets, and frequent visitors.
Site walkthrough and feasibility study to determine whether what you want is realistic and whether it’s possible within your budget.
How specific features and design elements will address your needs and wants.
Proposed layout of hardscapes, plantings, and outdoor living features.
Design aesthetic decisions (getting to know your style).
Once these decisions have been made, you will receive a plan with the proposed location of hardscapes, plants, and outdoor living features.
Landscape Design Development
After the planning stage and after you have your plans in hand, the development stage begins. This is around the time when you will receive a contract with a specific budget, project scope, and timeline.
With the plans in place and the contract signed, the landscape contractor has the go-ahead to take the project through the local permitting process (if needed); start choosing and purchasing materials, with your input; and finalizing the location of where exactly utilities and outdoor living features will be installed. If there are any changes to the plan, this is the time to address them, ideally before construction begins.
The actual building process begins once plans are finalized, materials are onsite, and permits are approved. The process may begin with demolition and removal of unwanted structures such as a rotting deck or ramshackle shed, followed by excavation and grading.
Utilities, irrigation, and other “behind the scenes” necessities are installed before work on hardscapes begins. If the project is being completed in phases, some utilities may be roughed in for use in a later phase. Hardscapes are installed before plants, and finally, the finishing touches are put on the land (smoothing, seeding, sodding, etc.)
The landscape designer and the contactor work closely during this stage to install the hardscape and all features and plants according to the plans, always communicating with you about any challenges, additional costs, or delays.
This phase includes testing of all outdoor living features such as the hot tub, lighting, and gas appliances. Once the hardscape is installed and all planting, seeding, and/or sodding is complete, all that’s left is a final walk-through and approval, cleanup, and then your gorgeous new landscape is ready to be enjoyed!
Understanding that a great landscape project is a process with specific steps helps to ensure that everything goes according to plan, stays on schedule and within budget, and helps you enjoy your new outdoor space as quickly as possible.