The consultation is a walk-through that takes place at your home or job site. We use it as introductory meeting where we have our first conversation about your needs and priorities. It’s especially helpful if you’ve taken a little time in advance to think about how you want your garden to fit into your life. This might include pulling some magazine pictures of gardens that appeal to you, and giving some thought to elements you would like to include — a water feature, play area for children, a vegetable garden, or some fruit trees. How do you see yourself utilizing your outdoor space? Does it involve playing football with the kids or harvesting your own herbs to season the salmon fillet you’re about to throw on the grill? Or maybe you’d like nothing more than to take a nice nap in a hammock strung up between two trees. At the consultation we also begin to talk about budget and time frame. You should expect to end up with a clear idea of what your options are and how best to proceed.
Next I will make an evaluation of your space, including the soil and light conditions, microclimate, grading, and drainage, privacy issues, and special challenges of your site, like that house next door that you want to screen from view. I analyze whether there is sufficient shade, enough comfortable seating, and a smooth flow of traffic from one part of the yard to another. Photos and measurements of the house and property are taken in order to draft a plan to scale.
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Installation is about turning our ideas into reality. Depending on what your needs are, I can be involved with project installation to a larger or smaller degree.
My favorite way of handling a project is to take it from the conceptual stage and see it all the way through to completion. If you choose, I will oversee the entire installation process from start to finish in order to ensure that the job is done with maximum efficiency and cost effectiveness. I can work with your gardener or a landscape crew of your choice. Or if you prefer, I will recommend a qualified landscape contractor. I’ll meet with the contractor to go over the details of your particular job, manage scheduling, selection of plants, arrange delivery, and be available on site to supervise the work in progress.
Sometimes there are situations where an extensive overhaul of the entire property isn’t really necessary. Maybe a garden just needs a few simple modifications to give it a fresher look. I can visit the property and assist you in deciding what plants need to be removed, thinned, or replaced; whether it’s necessary to replace or repair a faulty irrigation system to make it more efficient; and where the right outdoor lighting can make a difference.
For experienced gardeners who want to do some of the work themselves, I’m available to work on a consulting basis, based on your individual needs. This might involve anything from suggesting sources for purchasing plants and materials to making recommendations regarding soil preparation to providing a step-by-step “game plan” for how to proceed. If you need assistance in choosing plants I can provide you with a detailed plant list, or we can visit the nursery together for a “shopping” trip. I can also make recommendations regarding landscape lighting, fountains and water features, container gardens, and outdoor furniture.
It is the nature of gardens to be continually evolving, due to the plants’ biological impetus towards growth. There is no getting around the fact that every garden is always going to be a “work in progress”. I can make follow up visits on a quarterly or twice a year basis, to decide what sort of editing or fine-tuning is necessary. I will provide a written progress report, with recommendations for cutting back, shaping, and fertilization.
Since Spring 2012, I’ve been offering my services as a Personal Garden Coach. Whether you’re a new home gardener who is just getting started, or an experienced gardener who needs another set of eyes and hands, I can help! If you want guidance or hands-on instruction in dividing perennials, pruning roses, planting bulbs, or starting vegetables, flowers, and herbs from seed, I will come to your home and we’ll tackle it together. Email or call to make an appointment.