With every project my goal is to design elegant, creative solutions that are fit for the site, our environment and your needs. I collaborate with you throughout the process to ensure that the project is smoothly managed from initial consultation to final walk-through. This process overview should give you some insight into what to expect when working with Hey Nice Garden.
During the initial phone conversation I’ll ask a range of questions about your project and what you envision for your space. If you have no idea, no problem. That’s why I’m here. I will also ask you about timing and budget.
Most people have little idea of what a garden costs to design and build. For comparison, start with the average home renovation project like bathrooms and kitchens: those run about $200-per-square foot. The good news is that landscape projects cost significantly less. Depending on the scope of work, our projects run from $20-per-square foot for simple projects to $60-per-square foot for more complex projects.
I start every project by listening, observing and meeting with you onsite to go over your initial ideas. We'll walk through the space during our Q&A so I can get a sense of what you would like to accomplish and how we can get there.
Based on our conversation around budget and scope of work I can provide a ballpark estimate on the project cost. We will have a signed contract moving forward from this point.
I’ll schedule a time to photograph and measure the site. When necessary I’ll have my basemap team come out to shoot elevations. We take into consideration existing structures, exposure, grade, adjacent elements, soil quality, drainage, and so on.
I'll share a private project website for us to review materials and plant selections — it will also serve as inspiration and help you imagine your new garden. You will narrow down the choices and provide feedback before we get to the master plan review.
I'll create a to-scale master plan (that may also include elevations when necessary) for your approval. The plan includes all the information the contractor needs to properly install the project including detailed installation notes on materials and plants.
We’ll meet on site with the contractor to go through the plan and discuss any questions. He will develop his bid and timing. I’ll review the bid and pass it along to you for review. Upon signed approval this will serve as the contract between you and him. I will continue to work with you and the contractor throughout the installation.
This part isn’t pretty but it can be exciting. Depending on the scale of the project, the contractor will most likely have a porta-potty and large waste bin set up on the street. He will specify how long they are in place. He’ll remove old concrete, plants and trees, fencing and any existing materials that need to be cleared off site.
The majority of the work takes place at this stage. We'll grade the site for hardscaping or planting. The deck, patio, paths, stairs, porch, arbors, fences, gates, retaining walls and other structures are built and installed. I perform regular check-ins with the contractor and client throughout the process.
Planting & Irrigation
First, the top layer of fresh soil goes in (this will smell like manure for a few days). Then the fun starts with the plant delivery. As we site and dig, the drip or low-emitter irrigation will be placed to water each plant. Then we top it off with a layer of mulch.
We will meet with the contractor for our final walk through. I'll explain what to expect from your plants and how to program the irrigation. We’ll talk through care and maintenance of the hardscaping. I will also leave you with a maintenance crew recommendation. I encourage all my clients to hire maintenance immediately for upkeep, pruning, weeding, irrigation monitoring and general oversight. Most gardens require 1-2 visits per month.
Enjoy your new garden!
New gardens typically look good at installation, great 6 months later and amazing one year in. I am always a phone call or email away if you have any questions regarding your landscape after we have finished the project.
Heather holds a B.A. from the University of Southern California and graduated from the Landscape Design Certificate Program at the University of California, Berkeley.
Member APLD, Association Professional Landscape Designers