Four Phases of the Design Process
There are four phases to the landscape design process: Schematic Design, Design Development, Construction Documents and Construction Observation. Following is a brief explanation of each phase.
Schematic Design and Permitting
In the first design stage, Rainscape Design develops a series of alternative design sketches that address the planned use of your site. To illustrate these designs, we select representative images of similar gardens and landscape elements for you to review. We provide a preliminary estimate of probable cost for elements in your design. We review these designs, cost estimates and images with you and obtain your approval before refining the concept you select. At this point, Rainscape Design may participate in the Design Review process for your project with local regulatory agencies. If required, we can assist you in obtaining the necessary approvals and permits during this process, but ultimately permit approval is dependent on municipal agencies.
Once you approve a preferred design and budget, Rainscape Design refines that design. Materials are selected, details related to colors and finishes are determined, and a more detailed cost estimate prepared. Additional drawings are prepared, as needed to communicate all aspects of the design to you. Again, we will meet with you to review these completed drawings and obtain your approval before beginning the Construction Documents. After this approval, if you wish to make changes to the design, or budget, we can integrate them as an additional service.
Construction Documents, Bidding and Award
Construction Drawings and Specifications are used to construct your design. These are legal documents that must be technically accurate, conform to industry standards and governmental codes, and be approved by the various licensed professionals involved. They are detailed representations that inform our builders of every item to be installed. Rainscape Design can build your project or help you review the bids of independent contractors to build your project. Contractors submit bids for the cost of all the construction based on these plans.
A typical Construction Document package includes dimensioned layout plans, grading and drainage plans, planting plans and construction details for all items in your project. Additional drawings may include irrigation, lighting, civil and structural engineering plans. These drawings are supported by written specifications that describe all the components and their installation. The detailed clarity of these plans helps the contractor understand your project, resulting in more realistic bids, and helping to avoid costly mistakes during construction.
Construction Observation and Maintenance
One of the most important steps in the process of landscape design is Construction Observation. If we build your project then construction observation is inherently a part of that process, but if you choose to have an independent contractor build the project then, typically, numerous site visits are required to ensure the work being carried out is constructed according to our drawings and your intent. This can help avoid costly mistakes in time and materials. During the site visits, we review design implementation and make adjustments accordingly. When work is substantially complete, a specified maintenance period is determined. At the beginning and end of this maintenance period, Rainscape Design may prepare a written list of items that need adjustment by us or the independent contractor, who remains responsible for the work. The project is officially complete after all the adjustments are made to Rainscape Design and your satisfaction.
Rainscape Design prioritizes creating landscapes that require low maintenance, but all landscapes need some long‐term maintenance. If requested, we can prepare a maintenance manual to ensure proper care that allows your garden to function and evolve, as designed, for years to come.