The Red Fern Landscape Design Process: PHASE 1

Working with us

Maybe your landscape is a blank, new-construction slate, complete with a tiny, useless deck, some not-so-interesting sod and a couple of spindly trees.  Or maybe (like me) you inherited someone else’s shrubs around the house, a patio and deck that need lots of work, and a walkway that makes no sense.  If you’re hoping for landscaping that shows off your house, brings beauty to your life, and gives you more reasons to enjoy life outdoors, you need a plan.  A landscape design ties together all the pieces of the puzzle – an educated understanding of the nuts and bolts of your specific site, a clear reflection of YOUR style, and a knowledgable selection of plants and materials that are worth the investment.

We take all the problem areas of your property and all the dreams you have about living more of your life outdoors, and we create solutions that bring that party outside.  Ever wonder how it all goes down?  We follow an in-depth, comprehensive process to give clients a landscape designed to live in.  On the website there’s a simplified overview of our process, but here’s a more detailed run-down of what we do and what you get when you hire Red Fern to transform your property.  We’ll walk you through each step of our signature process, so that you can imagine yourself surrounded by lovely plants and walking over to a patio or fire pit that you WANT to sit around.  We’ll start with Phase 1, which gathers all sorts of information to keep the landscape design moving forward.

There is so much information to gather!  We start with our signature questionnaire, which lets you work through what you’re really after.  There are all sorts of questions meant to pull out both the practical details of the site and also the more subjective style and impression you want to have.  We use this during our first meeting at the site, where I work through what the scope of the project is- how much we’re trying to accomplish.  We talk, walk the property, and answer tons of questions.  This initial meeting helps both of us- you get to articulate what you’re after and size me up to see if I’m a good fit, and I get to see the site and fully understand what your goals are.

After this first meeting, I create something called the Design Program.  This is super valuable even if you don’t take the project any further.  I write up all the elements you’re looking for along with your style, beloved colors and plants, and all the other info that gets things going.  You get the program along with your proposal so that you’ll know exactly what the design fee will cover: every project is different, and we need to make sure that the fountain you want designed isn’t lost in all the other elements of your new yard.

Once the project is booked and the start date arrives, I get going with all sorts of practical work.  If you already have an accurate site map, I’ll use it; if not- I create one.  We evaluate the entire scope of the project, noting every major tree, building, existing hedge, and structure that’s there.  This is called the site inventory.  Next up, the site analysis happens when I evaluate it all:  what’s shady, where the water tends to collect, which old trees are hazards, the important views, and on and on.  The site analysis is an important working document that drives all the pretty stuff that happens later.

Circulation and use analysis tell us where you go now, what it’s like, and how it could make more sense.  Is the trash can in the dumbest spot possible?  Do people cut across your lawn rather than walk over to the walkway?  Do you avoid the veggie garden because you hate walking through wet grass?  How do guests get from parking to the front door?  All of this helps us down the line, because form really does follow function.  A homeowner myself, I’m not going to design something that isn’t first useful.

All of this core discovery work gets us set up to begin to create – to layer some beauty on top of all this data.  Tune in next week as we move to the conceptual design phase, where we ask even MORE questions and begin to develop the design direction for your project.

So, there’s Phase 1.  It’s certainly an in-depth process, meant to solve problems rather than create them.  Are there areas of your landscape that need attention?  Are you unsure of where to begin, or what plants to choose, or how to achieve the outdoor escape you long for?  Reach out and let us know!



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