I named my company "Landscape and Site Design" because I design entire properties - from 'soup to nuts.' Having trained as a landscape architect in a school of architecture, I consider all of the existing conditions on a property -- the architecture, the land contours, the existing flora and fauna, the microclimates and soil conditions of the property. This training allows me to produce a design that responds successfully to the site and also to the client's requirements. I design not only gardens and ornamental plantings, but also structural elements like swimming pools, realigned driveways, new terraces, walls and paving. My first love is the structural beauty and spatial definition that trees bring to a landscape. I always advise clients to plant trees first, since they take time to develop their full potential.
I am often asked if I have a particular style. I answer that I always try to develop a design that complements the particular property. Different landscapes compliment a colonial revival house, a contemporary house, or an 18th century saltbox. And I believe that, if the architecture is good, it should be visible. Also, different ecological conditions require different families of plants.
The character of the surrounding landscape should be considered in the design. A residential landscape should flow seamlessly into the surroundings whether it is in the country, in a suburban setting or in a town. A sense of place is important to a home; it should feel like it "belongs." The approach to a home -- from the driveway to the front door -- should be attractive, comfortable and welcoming. The lay of the land should evoke harmonious plantings.
An essential factor in the design process is to understand the taste of the owner or owners. I will make an initial complimentary visit to the property to meet the owners and see the scope of the project; the owner can then decide if he or she would like to hire me. Following this first meeting, I normally meet with clients several times to fully understand their wishes and preferences.
My fee is determined by the scope and nature of the project. In some cases my work will be billed on an hourly basis. On the other hand, if it is necessary to prepare a conceptual drawing for the project to be properly designed and to be envisioned by the client, I will quote a price for the drawing. If further construction drawings are needed for an installation, I will supply those as well.
Construction drawings insure that the landscape contractor knows exactly how he is expected to build the project and how the project should look when completed. Owner, designer and contractor are all on the same page. I do not build landscape features myself, but I do offer supervision of the construction process. I am happy to work with a client's contractor, or I can recommend qualified landscape contractors. My goal is to insure that the project is well done and that the client is happy. A happy client is the most gratifying part of my work.