GARDEN BLOG

Project Planning at Gardenworks

Have you ever wondered how landscape contractors approach the task of crafting or building a new garden design? At Gardenworks we believe that planning is everything when it comes to installing a new landscape for our clients.

A typical project begins with a landscape design that is a collaboration between our client and our design team. From that design we develop a proposal and contract that we send to our client for approval.

On the day we begin the landscape construction on the client’s property, the project’s foreperson is given a set of plans and what we call a “Field Report” that outlines the scope of work, including any time-consuming steps such as landscape lighting, garden fountains, and water features, as well as the simplest of tasks, such as tree service and garden plantings.

Because the Field Report covers every task for the entire length of the project, the Gardenworks technicians on site know what they will need in terms of labor and material and the timeline to produce another award-winning garden like the many others our landscapers are so well known for in Sonoma County. In other words, they have a plan, a process, and a goal from day one for every project.

We begin with the “Demolition” phase: this consists of removal of anything that will not be part of the new garden. During this phase, we are also looking at access for equipment, a place to stage material, verifying location of underground utilities, and drainage patterns or issues. We may also do some landscape maintenance, pruning, and shaping of plants and green areas that will remain as a part of the new landscape. (Be sure to visit our Follow a Project page for details and photos on all of the project phases we typically complete for a new landscape.)

Next comes the “Hardscape” phase.  In this phase much of the underground and infrastructure part of the project gets laid out and installed: drainage, irrigation, and electrical are tasks the landscapers and contractors will start to build. This step is where rough grading and a lot of trenching and digging takes place.

Hardscaping refers to elements of a garden that are not “living” such as deck designs, concrete patios, dry creek beds, arbors, water features, fire pits, fountains, waterfalls, and outdoor kitchens/BBQ areas. We’ll install any and all of these features at this stage and complete most of them.

The  “Irrigation” phase  follows, where we more or less finalize installing the new sprinkler system. We’ll install it as a conventional type or, more typically for us, one designed for optimum efficiency and water conservation. Remember the Field Report? Within those pages, our crew will see what type and size of valves we are planning to use, what type and size of controller (including if it is a weather-based or “smart” system, even how many drip emitters we will need. Low voltage lighting wire may be run during this phase to save time later on.

We then move on to the “Landscaping” phase where the “green” happens. This phase includes soil preparation and amending, plant layout or garden design, and landscape construction and installation, including running and installing drip lines and emitters, sod lawns (typically with aviary wire under them to discourage moles, voles, and gophers), surface-run lighting wire for landscape lighting, and finally the installation of a 2-3 layer of mulch.

Near the end of the project we have a “Lighting” phase, which includes the installation and connection of any outdoor lighting fixtures and components.

At the end of a landscape project, once we’ve completed all of the phases we just covered, our Gardenworks team details the project, cleans up the site, creates and completes the final punch list, then presents our client with their Project Binder, which contains any and all information about the project, including the project plans, the “as built” plans, plant list, irrigation maps and schedules, manuals for products used, and a list and source for all of the material used. We also include a CD of any photos taken of the installation and our Gardenworks warranty. Contact us to see what we can create for you!