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Landscape Design & Construction: Emotional Survival Kit!

Updated on December 20, 2016

Stonington Mansion designed by Van Leeuwen Green

It's worth the trouble
It's worth the trouble | Source

After months of contemplation, you’re ready for a major modification to your home and are ready to commence landscape design and construction. Firstly, pat yourself on the back for being brave enough to make the decision, now it’s time to get started. A precise and thorough discussion with your contractor and architect about the plan is essential before work begins. It’s important to understand the process and be aware of the items such as the demolition required, disruption, noise and timing.

However despite this awareness, when you witness the “destruction” necessary with the construction or renovation, it can take you aback if you’re not used to the sight. This is natural as your home and garden contains strong emotional attachments that can be disturbed in the event of a transition.

How to Sanely Get Through the Process of Landscape Construction

If you’re planning on having work done on what has been your residence for a few years or more, the changes required in between can create unwanted sights. This is especially true for a major landscaping renovation.

  1. Be certain you understand what you want the result to be.

It’s your home so it’s your project which means you provide the vision of the ultimate goal. The architect or contractor simply provides the direction on how to get there. Unfortunately, there are clients expect these professionals to be able to decipher an image of a tailored fit design from a vague description. Others also fail to ask questions about parts of the plan that they don’t fully understand, often due to embarrassment of the lack of technical knowledge.

In such situations, it’s no surprise that clients end up dissatisfied or even surprised with the outcome. Whether you have an architectural background or not, you can still provide a straightforward visual by researching similar designs or actual pictures on the internet. You can also refer to images in books or magazines about landscape design or landscape construction. There’s no shame in not being unable to comprehend technical terms or processes. That’s the very reason you have a team of professionals working for you.

2. Bear in mind that the road to perfection is neither pretty nor comfortable.

Ever witnessed a piece of art while it was still a work-in-progress? During that point in time, they barely looked anything like what they should. Interestingly, the process is one of the elements which make a masterpiece valuable. For example, Vincent Van Gogh, one of the world’s most celebrated artists of all time, is known for employing numerous techniques and materials to create a single work of art. The Denver Art Museum cites an example of him initially using black chalk with added features in pencil overlaid with layers of milk, water, and ink. His most popular painting, the Starry Night was created using paint and a different set of methods. Would you have guessed what this painting was intended to be if you saw only the first layer of paint?

Mia Feigelson’s version of Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

Would you have guessed what this painting was intended to be if you saw only the first layer of paint?
Would you have guessed what this painting was intended to be if you saw only the first layer of paint? | Source

When redesigning your yard, it could possibly mean the uprooting of the garden you’ve spent time on. You’ll most likely be seeing piles of dirt where you used to lounge around on your deck chair. In place of plants and garden decor, you’ll have equipment and tools. The appearance of disarray is visible from the early part of landscape construction, which slowly progresses before reaching the design’s completion. Prepare yourself and the rest of your family will help lessen the emotional effect it may have on you.

3. Take an active part in the process.

Trust your hired specialists to do the job right but stay updated with the progress of the landscape construction. Being informed helps lessen the chances of nasty surprises when problems arise such as delays due to uncontrollable and unexpected weather or issues with the supplier. Regularly tracking progress gives you a clear picture of the project development, the team’s concerns and analysis behind solutions they propose.

Ensure that your team or landscape construction company can easily reach you, especially for any sudden and urgent matters. State clearly that you want to be kept in the loop of the job’s progress and agree on how they can notify you as well as the frequency. Also, set realistic standards of communication. Your team shouldn’t always be contacting you between tasks as it will not only confuse you if you’re not familiar with the processes but it’s time-consuming and would result in delays. If you don’t want to be interrupted in the middle of work unless the issue needs your immediate attention, then specify what time your contractor or architect may contact you.

4. Set your budget and stick to it.

At the start of the process, your experts will need to know how much financial flexibility they can work with to achieve the desired results. Unforeseen costs can arise for numerous reasons including change requests by you. As the landscape construction advances, design magazines may catch your eye with new ideas. Pinterest may spark your interest with new searches, displaying more designs. Similarly Facebook may serve up pages and related posts to tempt you with alternate ideas. Landscape design offers such a wide range of options, it may be tempting to make changes along the way.

Depending on the stage of development, new ideas can be implemented however this will likely involve additional costs. The costs are based not only creating the design itself, but also the work required to undo finished or partially-completed sections to execute the new suggestions. Beware of contractors or other professionals that dismiss talking about specific costs, particularly if they offer landscape services you didn’t initially ask for. Otherwise, you could receive a bill upon completion that’s way beyond the expected amount.

5. Be patient and keep the end goal in mind.

Landscaping teams should understand that each square metre they dig up is likely to contain memories from your past and associated attachments that can affect your emotions. Seeing chaos for long durations can further strain your composure. Given you’ve chosen good people for the job, have the confidence that they’re doing what’s needed for you to realise your dream home.

While experienced landscapers are no strangers to clients’ reactions from stress midway through a landscape construction, keeping your cool will help ensure the process is completed in a smooth and hassle free manner. Plus remember that while they’re altering recollections of your past, they’re helping you make exciting and happy new memories to look forward to. Emotions aside, allow additional time for the team to finish the construction. Delays are sometimes unavoidable due to things such as unforeseen weather conditions. Naturally, these events are not always predictable and much less controllable.

Those who’ve had landscape construction work completed previously would most likely concur, it can be an exciting yet stressful time. Keeping an open mind and striving to work together with your chosen team can make the experience more enjoyable and fulfilling. The goal of creating an abode you’d love to wake up in and come home to every single day is what all who are involved want in the end.


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