Initial consultation (usually within 1- 2 weeks)
At this time we meet in person with our clients to see how we can use our services, knowledge, and abilities to meet our customers’ needs while exceeding their expectations. Most initial consultations last no more than an hour, so allow for the appropriate amount of time. There is a refundable fee for all consultations.
A few things to do before your consultation:
- Consult with your spouse or significant other about what you BOTH would or would not like.
- Have a realistic budget for what you want to do.
- Consider a style or theme in mind (Asian garden, tropical, formal, modern/ contemporary) or just let us help you.
- How involved would you like to be (low maintenance or higher maintenance)?
The design/ estimate (1-3 weeks)
- Based on the initial consultation, we will put together a design and coordinating estimate for an agreed on design fee. You will have a few options as to what kind of design to go with (2D CAD, 3D CAD, elevation drawings, and architectural drawings). For most residential designs we recommend starting with a 2D CAD drawing. If you need a more detailed elevation or architectural drawing, we can do so later.
- The timing for most residential designs and estimates is about two weeks. Once the design and estimate are ready, we will set up another meeting to go over the proposed work.
- The second meeting usually lasts about 1 hour depending on the size of the project and covers the design and coordinating estimate for the work.
- For your convenience, we can also email design files and the estimates.
- At this time, if revisions to the design are needed, they can be worked out and a final revision to the initial design/ estimate will be made (usually 1 more week).
Moving forward with work (1-5 weeks)
- Once the initial design is done, if you live in a community that requires approval, you must submit the required documents. Depending on the community and the project, you may have to also submit engineering plans and a materials list (community approval usually 1-4 weeks). Please note this is usually the biggest hold up for most projects.
- Once the engineered plans are completed, they are submitted for permitting along with needed documentation (usually 1-2 weeks).
- If any phase of the project requires engineering or permitting, the initial design will be submitted to an engineer for drawings (usually 1-3 weeks).
- Once there is an agreement to the initial designed work and the cost involved, we will ask for a signed contract along with a deposit. If the contract is signed prior to engineering, permitting, or the communities’ approval and additional requirements are requested to move forward with the work, additional charges may be added to the original contract.
- The contract will state the expected start date along with the estimated duration of the project and list all terms.
- Deposits will depend on the project size, time frame, and materials being ordered. The deposits are usually either ⅓ or ½ prior to work. For larger projects, payments may be requested along with the phases of the job.
- Once the contract AND deposit are received, we will then give a start date to the project. No materials are ordered or jobs scheduled until this point.
- Along with a contract and deposit, community approval and county permitting (if applicable) are also required in order for us to give a start date to the work. No firm start date will be given until all approvals are met.
- Materials for jobs will not be ordered until all approvals are met, even if a deposit and signed contract is completed.
- Prior to starting the work and during the layout of the work, a job-site foreman will walk through with the customer to review the project and the planned work. The customer will be asked to sign a “Job-site Process Form”.
- Once the work is done, the job-site foreman will do a final walk-through with the customer to make sure all the work is done correctly. At this time, the customer will be asked to sign off that the work has been completed based on the contracted agreements.
- Depending on the size and caliber of the project, inspections may be required throughout the build. Inspections can take a few days and can delay the work.
- Designer walk-through: depending on the caliber and size of the project, the designer of the project may also do a final walk-through to make sure the design was correctly implemented.
- Once the customer, design, and project terms are met, final payment will be requested.
PLEASE NOTE: Based on the steps listed above (from the initial consultation to the start of work) it takes approximately 2-8 weeks, depending on the project.
Important terms/ concepts/ Common Questions
Why have a budget?
A budget helps us in the design process to determine what we can do. Everything from the materials used, size of plants, and add on items like lighting, pottery, and custom trellis work, can make a big difference in the cost of a project. We want to be able to give you what is most important to you, while keeping in line with your budget.
Rough ideas on job cost
- Tear out and re-landscape a whole house: ($2,000-100,000)
- Irrigation system: (new whole house = $2,000,-$10,000)
- Water feature (pond systems = $3,500-$100,000)
- Landscape lighting ($2,000- $20,000)
- Paver/stone patio (based on sqft. = $6-$15)
- Stone fire pit ($1500-$5000)
- Custom pergola (wood, composites, plastic, aluminum, average $20-$50 per sqft.)
Is there a job minimum and what do things cost?
Yes, most of our design/build projects start around $1,500 and can go up to $250,000+ for residential/estate projects.
Why is there a design consultation charge and is it refundable?
We value both our customers time along with our own. To assure our customers understand the value of our work, we feel it is fair to charge for our time. All consultation charges are fully refundable if the customer chooses to work with us. If a customer chooses to have a design done at the time of the initial consultation, the fee will be waived.
Why a design fee and is it refundable?
Like most services, there are costs involved and people have to be paid for their work. The purpose of the design fee is not to get rich, but to sell the concept and project. If you decide to move forward with the project (and the design fee is 5% of the project or less) we will take the design fee off the final job cost. Example: for a $500 design to be refundable it would need to be a $10,000 job or greater.
Engineering & Permitting
Most engineering starts around $300 and goes up depending on the projects. Permitting and filing documents usually starts around $200-300 and goes up depending on the project.
In Florida most all load bearing structures require engineering and permitting. We will let you know, typically in the initial consolation, if any of the requested work will or will not require engineering and permitting. Also, each city has specific codes that may require special permitting depending on the work being done.
*Based on the steps and process involved listed above, from the initial consolation to the start of work there is an average time we see of about 2-8 weeks depending on the project.