The key to the success of any project is a clear set of priorities and a few fundamentals. Carefully consider the following points and you'll be way ahead of the game and well on your way to your dream garden:
Analyze your needs. Think long and hard about how you plan to use your garden space. Create a wish list. A wish list is a written list of every item or feature that you wish to have in your new garden. Keep in mind, if your garden is well thought out it will appeal to future owners regardless of style. The following links are meant to be helpful resources: Garden design questionnaire. Blank Wish List document, Garden design sketch sheet.
Calculate your budget.It is vitally important information and communicating this early on allows your designer to quickly determine the appropriate direction and materials for your project. Please note that anything and everything is possible, it just takes proper funding. So, with your garden wish list in hand, determine how much money you wish to invest and be realistic. Be mindful of what things cost.
Research prices using the internet. If you really don't have any idea what things cost then consider the internet as it's a great resource. Ask a question; How much can I expect to pay for a swimming pool and spa, with all the bells and whistles, in Houston Texas? Everything on your wish list can be researched in the same manner and it will help you to determine your beginning ball-park budget number. Remember to compare apples to apples.
Budget Realistically. In our nearly 30 years designing and building high-end gardens, we have discovered a simple rule of thumb. Namely, about 10% of the appraised value of your home is a sensible point at which to start the money discussion. But please note: It depends on your wish list. If by example, your list is heavy with pricey items such as irrigation, drainage, lighting, water and fire features, pergolas and arbors, outdoor kitchens, pools, spas and putting greens and fences, then embellished with all the bells and whistles, you must consider investing much more or trim your list. Bottom line. Chances are we can work with your budget regardless of the amount as long as your wish list and budget are in sync.
Create a Contingency Fund. Things crop up unexpectedly during construction so set aside funds for a contingency or rainy day fund. You'll be glad you did.
Understand the Major Components. Be mindful that every successful garden project is made up of 6 main components. They are: The Requirements (a good design, permits, construction documents, site preparation), Irrigation and Drainage, Hardscaping, Bed and Soil preparation, Plants and Planting Elements and Lighting System Elements. Be mindful that each of the 6 main components here will require it's own line item budget. Combined, these numbers are your budget.
Consider materials. You can save time and money by planning ahead. Tap on the following hyperlink to read some advice on how to avoid common pitfalls. Follow this link to read about the different flooring options.
Pick up the phone. Once you have done your homework, we'd love an opportunity to speak with you about your dream garden so give us a call and we'll get the ball rolling.
Schedule a consultation. There is never a cost associated with the initial consultation if in the greater Houston area. During the consultation, which generally takes an hour or so, plan on the following agenda: touring the site, discussing your wish list, reviewing our portfolio of garden projects, talking about the budget and a time spent asking any questions that you may have including, what's the next step and and where do we go from here? The next step is the design phase. You can read about the design phase here.
Enjoy the process. We saved the best for last for good reason. Take your time and do it right. If you do it right then it will take more time so instead of fretting about it, enjoy the process. The creative people that you meet along the way will make it worth the while.