We don’t generally take on any sizable landscape design work. I have always found myself busy enough with excavation and landscape construction work to even contemplate finding time for design. However on occasion we meet clients who have a reasonably well-formed concept of what they want in there garden, and all they needed is a quick sketch to complete the picture. In this instance we will usually offer to draw it up for them.
My first question when undertaking such work is to ask the client about their budget constraints. Ninety nine percent of clients respond with a look of confusion and caution. I imagine that most people don’t know what a garden costs or they don’t know how much they need to spend to purchase a garden that will fulfill their requirements. I understand where they are coming from, however when you design without a budget in mind, it is easy to get carried away.
Given the huge selection of materials to choose from and the huge differences in price from product to product, it is difficult to design not knowing how much a client has to spend. I think every designer at some stage has designed a beautiful garden, something perhaps worthy of an award, and presented along with it, a quotation for $50,000.00, only to be told by the client there maximum spend amount is $25,000.00. Back to the drawing board or CAD program these days.
For this reason it is important to establish a budget ideally before a design gets underway. I think that any clients serious about engaging a landscape designer need to get out and conduct their own research, looking at the products available and obtain an understanding of what things cost. That way when your designer asks you what your budget is, at least you will have a rough figure in your head. Alternatively designers need to be on the ball with their pricing and any price changes, so as to give their clients the best value for money possible.
Budgets are an important part of the design process. Unfortunately ignoring it, and failing to agree on a limit at the beginning of the design process, potentially wastes everyone’s time.