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Outdoor Living Spaces Blog

Remember to look for this one key skill in your Landscape Design Contractor

Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Written by Keith Evans

As a Landscape Designer, my role isn’t to dazzle you with my creativity and vision, it is to help you to discover yours.

If I was a fine artist then the canvas for my work would be my own and my focus would be to bring my vision to the world. But in the commercial art and design fields our job is to serve our clients and help them discover—they don’t always know the best solution for their needs—their vision and the corresponding design that will bring that vision to life.

Great Landscape Design (and project management) skills are essential. But, more importantly, the most important skills your design and build contractor can bring to the table may be her ability to ask probing and revealing questions and to carefully listen to your answers—both what is being said and what is only implied “between the lines” as it were. A great designer can tease out of you what you want even if you don’t quite know yourself. And, when you’re presented with the design you’ll say, “That’s it, it’s everything I wanted and more!”.

If we’ve been successful, our discussions will uncover your likes and dislikes, your needs and desires, your budget and limitations, and your outdoor lifestyle and entertaining needs. All of this will go into the mix. It forms the cake. We then put on our creativity apron, take it up one more level, and add the icing.

In this first example, the client wanted an outdoor space where his son could entertain his hockey teammates. This informed the design. We needed a solution that could meet this unique parameter while still making the space attractive and usable for all other uses. A couple of things came to mind. First, we were going to need lots of seating. Since we didn’t want the seating to take up a disproportionate amount of space, the stools at the outdoor pizza bar approach was ideal. Yes, I said pizza. The second thing that was critical was the ability to feed a hungry group of teenagers. This gave rise to the built-in outdoor pizza oven and the built-in barbecue.

Outdoor Pizza Oven and Built-in BBQ

In this second example, our client teaches (and loves) golf as well as entertaining. I think the image speaks for itself.

Putting in the back yard

The designs are vastly different but one isn’t better than the other. Each met the unique needs of the respective clients. The long and the short of it is that neither of these projects would have ultimately been as successful as they were without one key ingredient: communication skills—the ability to ask probing and revealing questions and to carefully listen to the answers.

When interviewing prospective Landscape Design and Build Contractors make sure they do the kind of work you want done. Check out their testimonials and reviews. But, most importantly, do a gut check.

  • Do you feel that the designer/contractor is listening to you?
  • Do you feel that you can communicate with them?
  • Do you feel that they “get” you?

If the answer to any of these questions is NO, keep looking.

At the end of the day, even the greatest looking design isn’t worth its salt if it hasn’t met YOUR needs and brought your vision to life.

If you’d like us to listen to your needs and help you discover your vision, please contact us.

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