1. The first step is to meet with the client. We discuss what they're looking for in a new landscape, applicable interests, styles/preferences, and any landscaping challenges or restrictions. If they're serious about getting a design, I collect half the total price upfront and start measuring immediately.
2. Measuring: I measure the perameters of the home or building, the lot it sits on, all hardscapes, and most softscape material (plants, etc). That means, every angle, every curve, every distance from point A to point B to point C, etc gets measured. It's a long and rather tedious process, but it's necessary in order to create an accurate, to-scale drawing.
3. Base Map: Once I have the measurements, I figure out a scale, something not too big, not too small. Some lots might require a 1/8" = 1' scale, while others might require something like a 1" = 10' scale. Then the real fun begins - I figure out where to put trees and shrubs, alcoves, firepits, water features, play areas for kids, pergolas and patios, terracing, or whatever else my mind or the clients' can imagine up! I consider elements such as focal points, sun/shade, privacy, living space, lines, textures & sizes, evergreens vs. deciduous, and visual pathways & views.
4. Preliminary Design: After the base map comes together, I redraw it in pen for the client to review. Along with that, I give them a plant list with color pictures of the plants I've chosen for their newly designed yard. We go over the design together and discuss each aspect of it. I let them mull over things for about a week, and we meet again to discuss any changes they'd like to make.
5. Master Plan: This last step is a color rendering of the design that also accounts for changes we've discussed. Along with the master plan, I give them a copy in black & white, which they can hand off to a sprinkler or landscape installation company, if they choose to use one. This is our last meeting and is also when I collect the second half of the design price. (Although I do like to stay in contact so I can see how installation is going and take a few "after" pictures!)