Preliminary Plan Phase
The tasks that are included in the Preliminary Plan Phase are described below.  The end product of the phase is a scalable hardscape plan.  This plan is then approved by the owner and is used to determine the scope of work for the Working Drawings Phase.

SITE SURVEY: On new construction an electronic file is usually provided by the owner/ architect/ builder/ surveyor.  Where a survey is not available, we assess the scope of the job and determine the best means of compiling a base drawing of sufficient accuracy to proceed.

Survey with topography

SITE RECONNAISSANCE: This task includes a visit to the site to inventory existing features, take photographs for later reference and assess site influences; such as sun and wind exposure, adjacent property landscape theme, view into and from the property which might affect screen placement, and usually some unanticipated but important site considerations, such as limb placement on a mature tree.


BASE SHEET: Features encountered in the site reconnaissance are then added onto the computer base plan so that we have a comprehensive drawing on which to start the design process.


CONCEPT STUDIES: The concept study task includes preparation of alternative design studies to test the fit of what you have described to me as desirable features and uses in the yard, taking into consideration the site factors, sun exposure, views, etc.  I will prepare one to three concept sketches which will give you a variety of idea combinations to consider.  The variations will include use and circulation concepts as well as material options.  This is the fun creative part of the process.  These plans are presented to you in color for easier understanding.  We meet on site to go over these as it is easier to comprehend the ideas while on the lot, looking out the windows, or walking the slopes.  (If the house is not yet under construction the quote may include “office” rather than “site” for this meeting to save the travel time charge.)  We meet a second time in my office for a feedback session after you have had a chance to consider the ideas and determine preferences.


PRELIMINARY SCHEME: The preliminary scheme is usually a composite of ideas presented in the concept studies coupled with new ideas that come up in our discussions.  I draw the hardscape portion of this drawing as a computer graphic.  I have found this to be time saving and more accurate than hand drawn and is immediately useable as a site layout drawing.  I then apply the plant material “graphics” by hand and again present this to you in color.  There are usually some minor revisions to this to correct interpretation of your feedback from the concept sketches.  Those revisions result in the FINAL PRELIMINARY DRAWING, which, because of its similarity to the previous drawing will not be in color nor include the plant graphic.

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