Providing Landscape Design, Installation, Maintenance & Snow Services to Vancouver, North Shore, and the Sea to Sky Corridor since 2000.
Do I Really Need a Landscape Design?
Is a landscape design a ‘nice to have’ or a ‘must have’
A great landscape design increases the resale value of your home, creates more livable square footage and invites you to spend more time outdoors enjoying the glorious, yet relaxed West Coast living.
Your outdoor living space should be an extension of your home – a place where your activities and lifestyle, as well as the aesthetics of your home all factor in to an optimal landscape design solution. Bring the inside, out!
Whether reading, birdwatching, vegetable gardening, sunbathing, cooking, entertaining or other activities are on your wish list, it is important to consider how all of these activities can be achieved within one harmonious design.
Landscape design uses texture, colour, line, scale, spacing and more to create an overall balanced environment. So much more than just a collection of pretty plants, a good design will use an appropriate combination of soft and hardscape elements to deliver on your lifestyle requirements and desired amount of upkeep.
In the hands of a professional, your lawn and garden challenges, including awkward or small spaces, can become opportunities for creative and appealing solutions.
We can create a solution to fit within every budget and find creative ways to make the most of what you want to invest.
But, before we go there, lets discuss some key things that are important to understand before the installation process begins.
What is a Landscape Design?
Landscape Design is a very important step in the process of installing or renovating your landscaping. The reality is you wouldn’t build a house without a plan, so why would you consider spending thousands of dollars renovating or installing a brand new landscape without one?
When you choose to renovate or install a new landscape there are a few questions or items to consider:
How Do You Want to Use your yard or Outdoor Living Space?
First and foremost, you must decide exactly how you would like to use your yard or outdoor living space and what activities the landscape should be able to support.
It is important to make a list of what you want to be able to do in the space and how you plan to use it most often will assist you in determining which features should be a priority for inclusion, as well as which features can be moved to a separate list of things to be added at a later date or to include now if your project budget allows.
Do you want to have a large space to play sports or have a trampoline?
Then you should consider a space for a lawn or synthetic turf.
Do you want to have a space to store household tools or recreational items such as bikes or kayaks?
Then you should consider a storage shed in your design.
Do you want to have the capability of preparing family meals outdoors?
Then you should consider installing an outdoor kitchen.
Do you plan to use the space primarily for having friends over to watch sports?
Then you will need to plan for electrical for a TV, how to protect it from the elements and minimize glare from the sun. You may also want to consider an outdoor fridge in your kitchen space.
If your dream outdoor space will be a used for formal dinners or entertaining, you may want to place more focus on ample patio and seating space, flooring, overhead protection from the sun and seasonal weather. You may also wish to consider outdoor heating such as a firepits, fireplace or heaters.
However, if your tastes lean more towards a simple place to enjoy your morning coffee or impress your friends when you host the neighborhood barbecue, you may want to prioritize comfy seating, firepit and a spacious BBQ island.
As you can see these are a few of the items to discuss with your Landscape Designer when considering a renovation ore new landscape when designing your home.
What Challenges may you have with your Outdoor Living Space or new Landscape?
Once you have determined how you want to use your outdoor living space or yard, you need to consider special challenges that pertain to your particular situation.
For example, if the area is exposed to wind or full sunlight, how will you create a comfortable space that is sheltered from these elements?
Depending on the proximity of your neighbors and the fencing and landscaping of your yard, you may also need to determine how you will ensure privacy to allow full enjoyment of your space.
If drainage is an issue in that section of your yard, you may need to look into proper grading of the area and using pavers or synthetic grass, that allow good drainage.
If you are working with a small space, now is the time to determine how best to manage traffic flow and how you can fit the features you want or need without crowding the area and taking away from the overall look or function.
As with rooms inside your home, an outdoor living space can easily become overcrowded with large furnishings or too many features. With careful planning and the right selections, you will be able to create the space of your dreams without sacrificing style or function.
This is also a good time to determine the focal point for your outdoor room or landscape.
Just like an interior room, an exterior room will benefit from having a visually appealing point of focus, which could be an outdoor fireplace, an amazing view, a pool or hot tub, water feature or your garden.
It is important to select your focal point early on, which will allow you to design the space around it, while also allows you to address any challenges related to the visual you wish to emphasize, such as trees or other landscaping that may be blocking the view.
Coming up with creative solutions to design challenges is often limited by what the homeowner has previously seen or experienced, which is why having a Landscape Designer design the space can be very beneficial.
What Utilities will you need?
The importance of planning for utilities in the early stages of outdoor room design or landscape cannot be overstated. Once you have a general layout of which features will go where, you can plan to run utility lines to the appropriate areas in your yard prior to beginning your build. This is also when you should be looking to the future for what you might add at a later date.
For example, if the BBQ island of your dreams is not within your budget right now, you may need to opt for a more affordable option, such as a standard BBQ on a cart.
However, if you plan to add that BBQ island at some point in the future, you should go ahead and run the utilities you will need to that area.
This might include a gas line or electrical wiring, as well as a water line and sewer, if a sink is part of the plan.
Water features, bars, mini refrigerators, lighting, speakers and anything else that will require electrical wiring, a gas line or plumbing needs to be considered at this point, and the appropriate utilities need to be set up before you begin installing paving or natural stone, synthetic turf or surrounding gardens.
Once your build is complete, it can be quite costly to run even a single line that you forgot to include, so double and triple check your lists to make sure all of your electrical and plumbing needs will be covered. You can always run PVC piping for future sleeves to various points in your yard which act as a placeholder, just in case you change your mind and need to run a few utilities at a future point in time. This is also a nice selling point for future homeowners, knowing that their options are open.
How To Schedule Your Design Consultation
The entire design process can take as little as 2-4 weeks depending on the overall size of your project.
Call us at 604-924-5296 to schedule your consultation with one of our expert Landscape Designers.
Should You Hire a Designer?
As you may have gathered by now, designing an outdoor living space or kitchen takes quite a bit of planning and can be overwhelming if you do not have experience in landscape design, interior or exterior design.
A landscape designer or landscape architect will know how to address your special challenges and be able to guide you in the best way to lay out your exterior room or kitchen and will notice things that the average homeowner could easily miss.
A professional will also know how to measure properly, can help you optimize your space and will have an eye for including what you need now, while also considering the future potential of the property.
This means that if you might sell your home at some point or may want to expand your outdoor living area or add more features, your designer will advise you on how best to accommodate current needs and leave possibilities open for the future.
Once your build is complete, mistakes, missed opportunities and missing gas or electrical lines are costly to fix; hiring a professional will help you avoid making an expensive blunder.
Final Thoughts to Consider
Whether your outdoor space for entertaining will include pergolas and a putting green, a fire pit and sitting walls, a full outdoor kitchen and a water feature, or a bar and a television, the key to successfully completing this home improvement project is proper planning.
With accurate measuring, review of your landscapes special challenges and the assistance of a professional landscape designer, you can expand your home’s living area and enjoy outdoor living throughout every season.
Do it right once, plan first, build second! Let Great Canadian be Great for you!
OUR PROCESS, EH?
1. INITIAL INQUIRY & EVALUATION
After contacting The Great Canadian Landscaping Company, one of our Landscape Designers will call or email you within 2 business days to schedule a landscape consultation.
Fit is important to us. Due to overwhelming demand, The Great Canadian Landscaping Company cannot accommodate every request we receive. We carefully assess every enquiry and advise if our company can take on your project on or if we may have to decline due to scope, budget or location.
2. SITE VISIT & MEETING
If we are a good fit, a meeting is scheduled to visit your property, discuss your goals and budget. Design fees typically amount to 5-10% of the total project cost. Your project’s design fee will be proposed after this meeting.
3. DESIGN PHASE
Once a design contract has been signed, the design phase begins. It includes:
- Site Analysis & Base Plan – We visit your property to gather detailed measurements, grades, house elevations and take some photographs. A scaled base plan is prepared to show the complete site information accurately.
- Property Research – Our team researches the project site to gather information regarding by-laws, zoning, lot coverage, offsets, conservation etc. The findings determine what can be done on your property and assist with the design discussions.
- Wish List Meeting (Optional) – You will be invited into our design studio to meet with your design team to discuss your ideas and develop a wish list that works with your property. They will also guide you through the price ranges of individual elements to ensure the potential construction budget is understood.
- 2D Concept Presentation – The design team presents a 2D concept plan. We want to hear your thoughts about the concepts and any changes you may have
- Refined Concepts + 3D Renderings (Additional Cost) – Seeing is believing. Your approved drawing is turned into an immersive digital 3D model. The 3D model paints a clear picture of what your landscape will look like once it’s completed.
- Scope of Work Review & Final Estimate – When you are ready to approve the design, our estimators will prepare an itemized proposal with detailed scope of work for each area within the landscaping Design.
4. CONTRACT & DEPOSIT
Ready to go? We will formalize the contract, sign off on the proposal and obtain a deposit cheque with proposed schedule and timelines.
5. PERMIT PROCESS & CONSTRUCTION DRAWINGS (IF REQUIRED)
The Great Canadian Landscaping Company believes in doing things by the book. If a permit for your job is required, we will initiate the permit application on your behalf unless you are working with a General Contractor on a new build. Permit drawings will need to be made and all construction drawings will be created.
6. INTRODUCTION & ORIENTATION MEETING
A pre-construction meeting is arranged with you and your project manager & foreman to review our plan to complete your project in the most efficient way possible. Finalize any questions there might be and make sure all parties are aware of the process from beginning to end.
7. LANDSCAPE CONSTRUCTION BEGINS
Time to sit back and relax. We make it easy to enjoy this part. We take care of all the details during the installation process and keep you informed on a need-to-know basis.
Areas We Serve
We service residential & commercial properties in Vancouver, the North Shore and the Sea to Sky Corridor.
We are experts in Landscape Design, Maintenance, Installation, Carpentry, and Snow & Ice Management Services.