Saturday, June 6, 2009

Design time....

Oh yes this is a design blog. I always get a laugh when Architectural Digest comes out with its " architecture issue", huh. No, it's not this month but it just came to mind. I mean really isn't every month in that magazine, architecture month.

I just came up with almost the last version of a site plan, almost because when you deal with residential clients, it is never finished. The difference between commercial and residential design. It is acceptable, it is the way it is supposed to be. 

In residential design, great care must be made to apply skill with respect to the client's wish list. As is normal in a construction issue costs escalates with changes. In this case I was brought in late to do some consultation on the house as well as design the site plan for the landscaping. 

A fire had destroyed the original residence. Clients gave a budgeted amount and wanted a flat out plan to go with. Knowing their limitations, I said it would be best to do a site plan first with wish list and then as their home construction was nearing the last phase of construction we would tidy it up. Why because house construction renovations always cost more. For several reasons. There are always areas that are overlooked: Oh, forgot I needed that extra outlet in the bath, didn't know the plumbing would have to be upgraded to pass inspection etc. Not to mention  just plain changes of mind. Though we have a plan for the landscape so that we can incorporate any basic needs like gas or electrical rigged for the exterior, we have left room for changes. Also saving cost design wise.

The final needs to be addressed closer to the end of construction. When the client really knows what is left to work with. Also a tip for a DIY'er. Not that you can't do everything, but the way you do it might have to be scaled down or some things might have to be put on hold.

This is why this is the almost final. It gives a plan for use, indicates major hardscapes, pool and planting areas. Materials could still be changed, size of plantings or type within specifications. For example I might specify an evergreen hedge of cryptomeria, a pricier plant than a basic holly. It is more elegant, but if pricing is a factor then they either need to get smaller cryptomeria or change to hollies to save cost. 

So that just being one of the options, this is usually totally the opposite for commercial construction.  Credit for the plant photos go to Monrovia. 

Side note: people often ask why their plantings don't look as nice as mine. One reason is certified growers. Of those Monrovia is the standard bearer. Quality product, excellent specimen and variety. They always give you proper growing guidelines suitable for the home gardener. I have visited all the major growers  and you can immediately tell if you are getting a
quality plant after seeing healthy growing conditions at the nurseries. Certain labels you just don't have to question on their quality, Monrovia is one. You'll pay more, but get better results -if you follow the care guidelines.

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