garden design process
Susan's design process encompasses all aspects of the garden. She begins by laying out hardscape elements such as patios and pathways in a way that maximizes circulation, complements the home and encourages outdoor living. A palette of high impact, low water plants completes the design. While your design experence may vary depending on the scope and complexity of your project, most follow these basic steps.

Initial Consultation and Site Visit

This meeting is an opportunity to tour your existing landscape and to determine requirements and objectives. This is a working session, and Susan will arbor---illustrative-drawinprovide specific ideas on how your new landscape can be laid out. To help you prepare for meeting with Susan (or any designer), she has created a free guide on Preparing for a Landscape Consultation.

Site Analysis and Measurement

After the proposal has been accepted, a second visit is an opportunity to measure the property and gather specific site information such as sun and shade patterns, evaluation of existing plants and the influence of surrounding properties. Measurements and photographs are used to create a base map, which becomes the basis of your design. Depending on the complexity of the site, you may be referred to a professional mapping service.

Preliminary Concept Plan

These plan view (overhead) drawings will convey alternative ideas for the style and overall layout of the garden. Sketches or photographs may be included to help you visualize the design. These may be hand-drawn or prepared on the computer. Clients may elect to skip this step on less complex projects.

Design Documents 

All documents are prepared in the CAD program Vectorworks. While every design is different, most design packages include the following:

Landscape Plan – Provides a detailed, scaled, working drawing that your contractor uses to install the design.

Planting Plan – Indicates botanical and common names of all plants, location, and quantities. Susan’s notes on planting and irrigation follow environmentally sound principles as outlined by the Bay Friendly Organization, EBMUD, Contra Costa Water District and University of California Master Gardener Publications.

Hydrozone Plan – Groups plants by water zone usage for efficient installation (note: this is NOT the same as an irrigation plan).

Lighting Plan – Shows location and fixture type for low voltage lighting plans. Lighting is one of the most under appreciated elements in a garden, and extends and enhances your enjoyment of the garden. To learn more about lighting techniques, read Susan’s article on landscape lighting design in Fine Gardening magazine.

When appropriate for the project, a demo plan and design details may be included.

View sample plans here

Contractor Selection and Installation Services

At the end of this process, you’ll have everything required to work with a contractor on installing your design, however, Susan stays involved with most projects to provide assistance with design details, plant placement and site observation (in consultation with the contractor). If you need help in finding a licensed contractor, Susan is happy to provide recommendations.

↑ Top of Page