The initial consultation is free. It takes place at your home and takes about one hour. At that meeting you can look at a photo album of our finished work and discuss such issues as budget and some general design concepts that will work for your project. If you like the direction that took the next step is to book in a design. At this time we can also hold a spot in our construction schedule for you pending the satisfactory acceptance of the design and quotation.
A design costs between $800 and $2000 for an average size yard; acreages and more complex projects are more. The design is an architectural scale drawing and will lay out all the individual elements of the project including a complete planting plan and grading plan. In most projects there is an interim step in the process where you can have some input. This is the preliminary design stage (you can read more about that below) When the plan is complete there is another meeting at your home to present the drawing and the quotation at which time (or shortly thereafter) you can decide if you want to proceed with the construction.
For construction we have in-house crews that handle most of the construction. We also act as a general contractor to coordinate specialized trades and services.
That's pretty much the one minute spiel. As always if you require more info please feel free to contact us.
Step one is the initial consultation. There is no fee for this service. This meeting takes place at your home with Peter Van Seggelen, (owner, general manager) and its two primary purposes are:
- To discuss how your Wants (wish list) + your Site (land) + your Budget ($$) will combine to fulfill your objective/vision. You can review a photo album of our work for inspiration and Peter can describe some options for achieving what you envision. Ball park estimates at this time will help you determine if what you want is within your budget.
- A "Get to know you" session to make sure we are the right landscaper for you. You must trust that we can provide you with the services you require.
At the end of the meeting you will have:
- A quote to prepare the drawings. For residential sites drawings range in price from $800-$2000 depending on the size of the lot and the complexity of the design. This is an up-front charge and is not 'rebated' against the contracted work.
- A time-line of when to expect the commencement of the design process.
- A tentative time slot for construction. This is a time slot we will hold for you so even though the drawing and quotes etc aren't done yet we are committed to doing your project. No deposit is required to hold this slot and if you decide not to proceed there is no penalty (we always have someone willing to fill a vacancy!)
If you like we can also provide references but we prefer to do this after the consultation. We will choose references from a similar project or similar neighbourhood etc.
To proceed we require:
- A copy of your Real Property Report.
- A copy of the Grade Plan/ Certificate (homes built after July 1, 2004)
- A copy of the Plot Plan can be useful if you have one.
- Any pictures, sketches, magazine clippings etc. that will help us to interpret your desires.
- Specs or a contact for things like spas, barbques, etc that we are to incorporate.
- Please advise us of dogs or locked gates!
(The above items may not all be required depending on your individual project)
Step two is one of our designers will visit your site and survey the site noting all the existing elements, views, grades etc.
Within a week to ten days of this survey we will contact you with a preliminary design for your consideration. This is typically sent to you via email and is a 'stick drawing' of your yard showing significant landscape elements like decks, patios, retaining walls, trees, and notes any changes to the land such as drainage. At this time you can review the design and comment back on any changes you might want such as making something bigger or smaller, changing varieties or locations of trees etc.
This project is split front and back onto seperate sheets.
If the drawing requires significant changes then we will do subsequent preliminary designs. In this case the backyard required revision to incorporate a spa and a firepit and change the upper patio to a deck.
Once you ok the preliminary design we will finish the drawing to include all the plant material, grade notes, details & descriptions, and a color rendering. This becomes the working drawing. This drawing is the total vision for the yard and if the project is to be 'phased' this will be reflected in the quote.
At a second meeting with Peter he will present the final design package which includes:
- A copy of the final color rendered drawing.
- An invoice for the landscape plan.
- An itemized estimate for what the work will cost.
- A sample of our standard contract (so you can review ahead of time).
At this meeting (or later if you require time to digest all the information) we will book you in for what ever work you want us to do for you and the estimate will be revised and a contract prepared. We don't require a deposit to hold your construction slot. The payment schedule will be outlined in your contract.
A typical project will begin with excavation and demolition. This same crew is usually responsible for setting grades and base preparation for walls, patios etc. and for major trenching.
At this time Peter will meet with you again to collect the deposit as per the contract. It is a good time to also deal with issues that may have arisen during the excavation process (perhaps drainage issues that required exploration or other unforeseen issues).
Next is construction of retaining walls and other major structural elements. Carpenters may also be on site at this point to build their part of the project. Rough irrigation work, electrical work etc. may also be scheduled at this stage. Flatwork (patios and walks) comes next and perhaps a bit more grading.
Last is the 'soft landscapers' who deal with loaming, planting trees shrubs and perennials, sodding, and the final irrigation installation. This is a large crew and many clients are surprised at how fast this takes place.
The final step at the end of the process is a brief walk through of what you need to do in the upcoming weeks (irrigation schedule, weeding etc) and a final meeting with Peter to collect the final payment and address any concerns you may have.
How long the whole process will take depends on the intensity of the job and the weather etc. but we strive to move the project along as quickly as possible once we start.
All construction is warrantied for a period of two years, trees and shrubs (and perennials with the optional warranty) are covered by a replacement warranty for one year.
The 'softscapers' at work: