How We Work

First Meeting The first meeting is spent walking and talking about the site that the design is for. We want to hear the client's vision for the space. Sometimes a client is very clear about this. Another client really needs the designer to do the fantasizing. After discussion, there is collaboration as we begin to think out loud together.

Scope Of Project & Design Fee
After the first meeting we assess the project and provide an "Assessment and Scope of Project ." This includes our observations of the space, the challenges and opportunities, our understanding of what the client is interested in, and possibilities we discussed. The "Scope of Project" details the elements we expect the design to cover.
Based on the above we propose a design fee and Terms of Agreement. Half of the design fee is paid on signing the Terms of Agreement, the rest upon presentation of the Final Design.

Site Visit
The next visit is with the project site. We measure the site, take photos, note where light comes from and what kind of light the site gets. Views from inside the house, from the site, views into the client's space are noted. where water comes from and where it goes, the kind of soil (clay, sand, perfect balance) are included in this study.

Map, Ideas, Sketches
The next stage is the creation of possibilities. From our measurements and the client's plat of survey a map of the site is drawn. Then, ideas that have come from our discussions, as they are filtered through our own creative process, find their way onto paper. We may sketch a wide range of possibilities. This goes on until one or two feel right for the space and the client. That sketch becomes the starting place for the next meeting.
2nd Meeting: Filling Out A Sketch Idea At this meeting we'll discuss the sketches. This is our chance to make sure we're on the same page, to rethink or add any new ideas. The sketch will show the shape of the garden/landscape, hardscapes. and planting beds. Depending on the scope of the project the sketch may show the specific plants, but it may not. This is the time we will discuss preference for colors, particular plants and how they will work in the design and on the site. The final selection of plants will develop along with the final design.
3rd Meeting The 3rd meeting is a presentation of the final design which will include the planting plan. The client will also receive a booklet with photos of the plants in the design, their mature heights and sizes, color, bloom and interest time, and anything special to know. There will be a Basic Care Page and recommendations for watering while the landscape matures. This packet will also contain the cost for installing the garden/landscape and a contract for that part of the work. The terms for the landscape installation include payment of 1/3 of the cost on signing the contract, 1/3 when we begin work, and 1/3 upon completion.

The client will be notified at least 24 hours before work will actually begin. Installation is done by a professional landscape crew.

Project Management
We actively watch over the installation of a landscape, spending time on site once or twice a day and receiving daily reports on how the work is going. We are also readily available if a client has questions or concerns.

Do It Yourself?
If the client expects to do all or some of the work the design booklet will include guidance on plant spacing, and materials required. A popular plan is to have our team layout the design, prep the area, and buy the plant with the client doing the actual planting.


"Extinction is now approaching the rate prevalent during the catastrophe that killed the dinosaurs."

Sara Stein, author of 'Planting Noah's Garden'

Native Illinois Plants