Starting a Landscape Design Inc
A landscape consists of both living and non living things. These are the components of the landscape.
Examples of non living components might be rocks, gravel paths, timber, walls etc.
These non living components can be looked on in two ways:
- As the materials which they are made up of; and
- The structures or things which the materials are used to make.
The living components of the landscape are the plants (and maybe the animals which inhabit the area).
A landscape is made good or bad by the way in which these components are both selected and are arranged together.
The landscape is constantly changing, and a good designer must foresee and account for changes which are likely to occur.
Plants grow, flower dies, wooden structures rot and metal ones rust, earth also can erode.
The garden continually changes through the cycle of the season. A skilled landscape designer will not only be aware of, but will use these changes.
Landscaping in Ancient Times
To understand the principles and problems underlying the present-day practice of landscape architecture, you should be aware of some of the achievements of the past in this field.
These achievements have accompanied the development of
architecture through the ages.
The gardens of ancient egypt reflected climatic, physical,
and religious influences. The gardens of a high official, for
instance, usually occupied a square of land and were surrounded by lofty walls.
The dwelling houses within the walls.were carefuly hidden away and shaded by trees, and the
grounds were enlivened by ponds, waterfalls, and green borders.
In the middle of the gardens were vineyards and rows of trees.
The gardens of the persians by high mud walls.
They paths and low fences, and embellished with little tunnels and blue-tiled pools, pavilions, kiosks, and canopied summer houses.
Outdoor features in the early greek cities included baths,
stadiums, open-air theaters, porticoes, and colonnades.
The monasteries of the middle ages in europe grouped around central courtyards that onnades and enriched with central fountains, beds of flowers,
and statues of the christian saints.
The 6 key basic principles of landscape designing
The principles influences the way in which components are used.
For instance, the over-riding principle in chinese gardens is unity, between rocks, plants and water.
A very important principle in landscape designing is that of “symmetry”, and “natural in appearance”.
Ground form, structures and plants all need to be organised into a pleasing composition of spaces to satisfy the principles chosen by the designer with an emphasis to suit the client.
Some of the principles are:
First, let us begin with “Unity”.
You achieve it by grouping, placing or arranging in such a way that several individual components appear to have a sense of oneness.
A desirable appearance needs to be achieved from all points of view.
A repetitive pattern can be used to create unity. For example, if you are placing rocks in the garden, use the same type of rock throughout the garden, rather than an assortment of rocks with
varying shapes, colours and textures.
This refers to equilibrium, which can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical.
With symmetrical balance
there’s duplication on either side of an imaginary line of landscape components in terms of line, form or colour – for example, two similar shaped garden beds in front of a house. Symmetry is an important feature of formal landscapes.
Asymmetrical balance involves dissimilar placement of different objects or masses on either side of the same sort of imaginary line, but in a way that equilibrium still exists. For example, three or five silver
birch trees planted in a group.
Asymmetry gives the garden a more relaxed natural appearance.
This refers to proper sizing or scaling of components in relation to each other and to the total landscape; for example, tall trees are not in proportion if used in a small courtyard, nor is a small shrub in proportion in the middle of a large expanse of lawn.
This refers to the way different parts of the landscape fit together. Overall, most designers strive to achieve harmony.
Contrast is in opposition to harmony and should not be overdone.
Occasional contrasts are used to create an eye catching feature in a garden; for example, contrasting foliage texture, colour or form provides a focal point in the garden.
Rhythm is a conscious repetition of similar components in the garden. It is commonly created by repetition and transition (the slow change from one thing to another).
The Importance of Landscape Designing
- Landscape design is concerned with the arrangement of land, water, plant forms, and structures, for their best and greater enjoyment.
- It deals with land-planning issues such as building sites, gardens, outdoor-living areas, playgrounds and parks.
- It requires a knowledge of design and construction that overlaps in the fields of architecture, engineering, horticulture, botany, and branches of the arts and sciences.
- The field of landscape design is known by such other landscaping, gardening, design, planning, engineering, contracting, and nursery work.
You can realize the importance of landscape architecture by comparing buildings that have been adequately landscaped with
those in which the landscaping has been neglected.
Such comparison will show that a poor arrangement of the landscape can greatly decrease the value of a well-designed building.
Proper landscaping, on the other hand, can provide a beautiful setting for a building.
It can add to the comfort of the
occupants by providing shade and windbreaks and by screening off undesirable views.
Basic Landscaping Skills
A landscaper performs three main functions: design, installation, and maintenance. To be a professional landscaper, you’ll need all these skills.
Also, you’ll need to have some knowledge of each of these areas, no matter what kind of landscaping you may get into.
As a landscape designer, there are four areas you have to focus on to create a successful landscape design:
- Landscape plans
We’ll talk about each of these areas briefly.
Let’s begin with design approach.
When you start a project, it’s essential to look at the scope and layout of the job, because, the size of the project will affect how you put together your plans.
The first thing to do is to visit with the client to talk about what specifically the site needs.
From this first discussion you can decide on your approach to the project.
Keep in mind that not taking the proper approach at the beginning may ruin the entirety of the project.
Next you should study the site to get familiar with the existing
Once you know all the current features of the property, you can decide how you’ll work them into the final design.
For instance, if there are rock formations on the property, you may be able to use them to produce a desirable effect.
Always remember that your client is looking for the most effective means of reaching the objectives you’ve talked about.
You have to make sure the area you’re dealing with can handle the changes proposed.
You also have to make sure the
changes will suit the existing structures and features.
What the end result will look like is very important.
Generally, the property owner wants both to solve some practical problem, such as poor drainage, and to make the property’s appearance more appealing.
The second thing to also consider is “layout”.
Once you are able to determine your approach and how you’ll do the job, you have to study the area as well.
Start by thinking about the limitations of the area you have to work in.
For instance, an area with 100 feet by 10 feet gives you a lot less room to work in than an area 100 feet by 100 feet.
Remember, whatever you plant has to fit in and look good with whatever else is in the area.
Most importantly, you have to allow enough room for what you’ve planted to grow.
If you don’t, your client will probably be pretty unhappy in a year or two when the plants you’ve planted grow beyond the boundaries of the area.
Now that you got the approach and established a layout, decide if there are any design restrictions you’ll have to observe.
The crew chief on a construction job will normally know what covenants or zoning regulations there may be in the area in which you’re working.
Such regulations may forbid you to plant in certain spots.
Make sure the owner knows what you’re proposing and has checked that your proposal doesn’t conflict with any restrictions.
Be sure before you start that, you can do the work you’re proposing.
It’s not unknown for a designer to form a plan with the owner’s approval and find out only when the work is well under way that the project doesn’t comply with local restrictions.
Check all the covenants before you design a project.
A plan is a layout of exactly what you’re going to do.
First, submit your plan and let the owner decide what changes, if any, you should make.
If there are changes proposed, make sure before you finalize the plan that the owner knows the heights and sizes of each mature landscape element that has been substituted.
When you have the owner’s approval, you can draw up a working plan.
Everyone involved in the project, from the installation crew to the maintenance crew supervisor, should then work from this plan.
When you finish a project, keep a copy of the plans on file, computer/laptop, pendrive or any storage device.
Also, give a copy of the plans to the owner to use as a reference if problems come up.
For example, a “shrub”, and a rhododendron, dies two months after you plant it, you and the owner can both be sure you’re talking about the same plant when you discuss the problem.
Since it’s a good policy to guarantee your work for one year, you would replace the shrub with no questions asked in this situation.
Now that we’ve covered the most part of the topic, the next step is starting the company itself.
Starting your own Landscape Design Inc
There are a few things you need to look at before proceeding to start your landscape design inc.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Sizing up the business
- Challenges you’ll go through
- Finding your market
- Getting Started
- Startup Cost
- Charging Your Clients
Sizing up your business – Is this the right choice for you?
You would want to ask if the this business is the right choice for you. Your decision to begin a landscape design Inc always starts with you.
If you got the capability and braveness to do it, then be ready to put in the effort to achieve your success, very important.
This business combines a lot of things, but puttering is not one of them!.
It requires a lot of energy and motivation, before you invest too
much time and money in starting your own landscaoe design inc, you should take a step back and assess if this is right for you.
As you keep assessing yourself and think about how you can improve on your weaknesses, remember that you are not alone.
There are thousands of other people like you in the landscape
Others are long-term veterans
willing to share their experiences with you if you only ask.
Challenges you will go through
In landscaping designing, you’ll need an artist’s eye and a gardener’s knowledge of plants, trees, and conditions.
- What kind of plants grow best in your area?.
- How long is the growing season, and what are the extremes of heat and cold, drought and rain?
- Is the soil in your area too sandy, or does it have a significant amount of clay or loam?.
- How much much do you need to use?.
- How much sunlight does a particular area receive, and what is the exposure of the plot of land you will be working on?.
Take the time to meet with your clients and make sure they understand your proposal and its costs.
Make certain you are aware of the boundaries of your client’s property, if you put a tree on a neighbor’s property you may be opening yourself to liability or a financial loss.
Finding Your Market
You need unimproved land and clients who are willing to pay to landscape their property.
- The best area for this sort of work is likely to be suburbs.
- Look for areas with new subdivisions and other recent construction.
- Make use of books, magazines, and the Internet to research landscaping schemes and learn as much as you can about plants that thrive in your area.
- You will be selling your services to plan and implement changes to the landscape, you can also sell your time to maintain the health and attractiveness of plants you have put in place.
Landscape Design Inc: Getting Started
You can gain hands-on experience by working as a helper for a landscaping company.
Some large home supply stores and garden centers offer classes on planting and landscaping.
Post flyers and ads at community centers, in retail stores, and on bulletin boards. Place ads in newspapers and shopping guides.
Make contact with area greenhouses and nurseries, contractors, and real estate agents, ask to refer business to you and offer them a bonus or commission for doing so.
Ask friends, acquaintances, and satisfied customers to recommend your services, offering them a bonus or discount on future work.
This job can be operated in conjunction with a lawn mowing service (covered earlier in this article) or separately.
If you will not be offering lawn care, make contact with a company that provides this service and seek a reciprocal agreement whereby they will refer landscaping jobs to you and you will recommend them for their services.
Startup Costs: Tools and Maintenance (Up-front Expenses)
You will need your own tools for planting and maintenance, including shovels, trowels, shears, pruners, and weeders.
You’ll be able to rent major pieces of equipment such as earth movers and power shovels, or hire a subcontractor for such work.
And then a vehicle large enough to carry your equipment.
Most nurseries and plant suppliers will deliver trees and shrubs to your work site.
Some landscapers use computer programs to draw plans that show how plants and shrubs will be placed on the property.
Tools for landscape designing
- Sketchbook and Good Pen(s)
- Trace Paper
- Markers and Pencils
- Digital camera and tape measure
- Printed construction drawings
- Computer aided design software (CAD)
- SketchUp – 3D Modelling and Rendering Software
- Adobe Creative Suite Programs
- Google Earth/Google Maps
Charging Your Clients
Most of this sort of work is billed on an hourly basis, plus the cost of any plants and other expenses. You can offer some fixed prices for simple jobs such as creating a flower bed or planting a bush.
Although, you may find that most of your landscaping problems will be confined to the relations that exist between an individual house and lot, you may at some time or other become involved in the development of an entire neighborhood.
In such a case, you should keep in mind such fundamental considerations as access, privacy, and the control of wind and sun.
When a neighborhood group of homes is being planned, the existing trees, natural grades, and elevations of the entire
site should be carefully considered.
By retaining the natural conditions of land and trees, it is often possible to save money in development and to have a more valuable and attractive neighborhood.
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