Lean Landscape Design

This tiny front yard in San Carlos is an example of a  Lean Landscape Design.

This tiny front yard in San Carlos was completed from a Lean Landscape Design session for homeowners looking for a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant alternative to the typical front lawn aesthetic.

Your garden needs some love, but you don’t have the time or budget for a complete overhaul? Nervous about what you’ll get if you let a landscape designer wander off with a list of demands? Prefer a real-time collaborative approach? Lean Landscape Design might be the right solution for you!

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A segment of the Lean Landscape Design document for the San Carlos property shown at left. The session was completed in September, and the photo at left was taken in early December.

What It Looks Like
I bring a portable drawing board to your garden and sketch on site with you, developing concepts, making choices, and refining the key details into a concept sketch that can help you communicate the vision you didn’t know you had. It is a fully collaborative session over the course of a few hours, with a fixed fee, so you know exactly what you’re going to spend.

Who Can Benefit
Lean Landscape Design works best for small to medium-sized lots, where you’re working around existing features, such as fixed driveways, decks, or walkways. If you’re looking primarily for planting design, it’s a great choice. Some hardscape design is included, but if you’re trying to decide where to put a pool, it’s probably not a good fit. A site plan of the existing house footprint, fence line, and hardscape must be available (usually the first sheet in the roll of plans for that last remodel.) If you don’t have a site plan we can draft one for you, but it must be completed prior to the Lean Landscape Design session.

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Lean Landscape Designs include a detailed plant and materials schedule, along with notes and recommendations for lighting and irrigation. Depending on your budget, you can refine lighting and irrigation details with your contractor.

How It Works
Lean Landscape Design is done by tracing over an existing site plan. I work collaboratively with you to rapidly iterate through several concepts on trace paper and arrive at a functional design solution. When you’re satisfied with the design, we conclude the session and I bring the sketch back to the studio to detail it with planting recommendations that meet your unique requirements. The final plan is usually ready within a week or two, as a PDF that can be shared with your contractor. I can provide recommendations for qualified contractors that enjoy collaborating with me on this style of project. The Lean Landscape Design fee includes one follow-up consultation on site with your contractor, although I’m happy to visit the site more if you’d like at my hourly rate.

How do I know if it’s not right for my project?
Lean Landscape Design sketches can provide aesthetic guidance to facilitate a productive discussion with your trusted contractor, but they’re not as detailed as a complete set of plans for the purpose of new construction. If you are completely renovating a whole property and have lots of choices about where and how to locate the driveway, a substantially sloped property that may require retaining walls, or you’re thinking about custom vertical features such as a pergola, outdoor kitchen, pool, fireplace, etc. then this type of project is not appropriate. For these more detailed projects, we follow a traditional process of developing a variety of concept options, meeting with you to narrow it down, and then preparing a set of plans in AutoCAD so that we can coordinate with your architect, engineer, and interior design team. A Lean Landscape Design is primarily intended to communicate planting design, it’s not intended to be used for a detailed permit process. It is a wonderful alternative for incorporating professional design into a smaller project at a reasonable budget and within a reasonable timeframe, using pre-fab features for water and fire. If your needs are more complex, you’re working from scratch, you’d like to incorporate custom artisanal work, or your property is steeply sloped, it’s important to take more time to consider your options. If you’re not sure what would work best for your situation, please don’t hesitate to contact us below, and we’ll talk it through with you.

Greenwood Design Associates is not accepting new projects. Thanks for your interest!

Remodeling and Home Design


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