In this slowing market, it’s critical to discern your project from others, create a work of art, while tightly controlling costs. Sadly, as landscape architects, we are often called in to create interest and marketability for a new home or remodel after construction. This forces us to appliqué site solutions onto landscapes that were underutilized or damaged during the building process.
With careful planning on the front end, before the first shovel hits the ground, many existing site features such as topography, existing site soils, mature plant materials and unique views can be carefully manipulated into a project — with little cost. This will elevate an otherwise ordinary project into something noteworthy and memorable that functions well and remains sustainable for the long term.
Bringing a landscape architect into a project during the planning phase, whether it’s for a site grading consultation, assistance with siting a home, or recommendations for a site preservation and enhancement plan, will always save money and future headaches. Here’s how we can help:
1) Landscape architects are artists, planners and engineers. We can provide a vision for contouring a site in a way that emphasizes certain architectural features, making the project more dramatic or compatible with the lay of the land.
2) Homeowners are becoming more ecologically conscious. Their budgets are tighter, and their concerns are greater regarding costs and time needed for long-term maintenance. As a profession, landscape architects understand these concerns more than most. There are creative and cost-effective ways to turn these issues into selling points by marketing a company as one that embraces sound ecological development.
A landscape architect can help incorporate low-impact technologies such as rain gardens, permeable pavers and native plant materials to help manage on-site water and encourage infiltration. These methods are becoming popular, and are less expensive than traditional drainage systems and high-maintenance landscaping. We can help write a site preservation plan for crew and client that will reduce the chances of site compaction, site erosion and topsoil management.
3) We can provide a budget for landscaping that fits within goals, optimizes existing site features to reduce total project costs.
It’s important to set your work apart from others. It’s also important to be recognized by your client and the community as a thoughtful and progressive builder who is able to respond creatively to the particular nuances of each site. If contacted early in the process, landscape architects will be able to work with you to create an environment for your project that is artistic, functional, sensitive to the environment and cost-effective.
Christy Rose, ASLA, is a partner of Land Architects, a landscape architectural design/build firm in Ann Arbor, Mich. She earned a Bachelor of Science in natural resources from the University of Michigan with an emphasis in botany. In addition, she completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in landscape architecture at Michigan State University, with an emphasis in design and site planning. She manages all phases of project development and
oversees business operation activities.