If you are in the market for a major landscape and pool construction project for your home and yard, and you are feeling inspired with the many home and garden
ideas that are shown on TV and in print, you may already know you want something different than the status quo. However, if you’ve never worked with a designer before but are looking for pool design
ideas, you should realize independent landscape and pool designers have a very different approach from that of inhouse staff at the construction companies.
Construction companies are specialists in construction and their staff are of necessity, salespeople first, and designers second. The hallmark of a designer at the highest level is that he or she has credentials in design, and charges for their services.
The major benefits of working with a landscape and pool designer are that he or she takes the time to walk you through the process at a higher more integrated level than just the pool. They consider your individual site, budget, concerns, taste, and can offer custom pool design ideas that unify the landscape with the site, as well as the architectural flow and style of your home.
Here are FAQs for landscape and pool designers from people who have never worked with a designer before, including valuable landscaping design tips.
1) What do you charge?
As customary to architectural services, landscape designers charge a nominal percent of anticipated construction costs, or hourly, or per square foot. Each project is different and requires a design cost that is scaled according to each project and client objectives.
2) I’m not sure I want to allocate so much of my budget toward design, as this will take away from what I have left to build with.
You should only do this once! It’s far more costly to spend 100% of your funds on something regrettably wrong or downright mediocre, that you must then tolerate every time you look at it, and may eventually rip out. Proper planning is worth its weight in gold and is only pennies on the dollar, to get something truly spectacular that you will be in awe of every day! Do this phase right and you will be
delighted every time you interact with your thoughtfully crafted sanctuary.
3) Can you design for my budget? What if your design costs too much?
A good designer will create a layout that is “elastic”, in that first, it will be the best use of your space, the best esthetic lines, and no more. Like a model home is the best of everything possible, you direct the true construction costs by which elements you decide to implement, and what materials and finishes you select, out of the master plan.
4) Can I hire you for design only and use my chosen contractors to build?
Pools and landscape, unlike built structures, are more subjective and organic. They are far more interpretive. The best plan is still no better than a Mona Lisa “paint-by-number.” It maps out the major elements and where they go, and it will get you in the ball park. But if you want true magic, you need someone to lead a team, in fact, who can apply the paint to the canvas with Da Vinci finesse. Otherwise, you get a paint-by-number result.
5) How detailed are your drawings? Can I build from them and get them bid out, or are they concept only?
The design process is like peeling an onion. The Phase I level of drawings and services are conceptual and are at the macro level, mapping out the large areas and elements. The goal is to get a scale plan from which Phase II takeoffs, general pricing and allowances can be derived before moving forward with details that may prove irrelevant. Once a budget and allowances are approved from the conceptual plan, we can then be commissioned to move to Phase III and provide construction drawings for the exact amenities you choose. Phase IV is where the magic really comes to life, when you have a designer that stays on board with your chosen contractor team through construction to work out details and opportunities that arise on every project, to keep the design intent intact and to bring to fruition elements that just can’t be put on paper.
6) What if I pay you for a design and I don’t like it?
True design is not random guesswork and arbitrary tinkering! Instead, it is an ongoing conversation. First, it requires good listening, acute observation, and a process of elimination. After a design is presented, now you have something to critique and edit, and weigh in on that is reasoned out and will identify any conflicting ideals that may have been entertained before pen was put to paper. Revisions and refinements to the design can then be implemented, to make the design even tighter and better than it was before. Great designs are the perfect blend of the client’s unspoken wishes and the merits of the site itself, and the insights of an artist who sees how these factors can weave together to make something magical that no one has yet anticipated.