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Plan and organize before your
landscaping project begins.



Inspiration

Preparation
It makes good sense to do a little preparation in order to get the most out of your complementary design meeting. We suggest sitting down and organizing your thoughts. Consider these helpful hints that have worked for many of our clients.

Make a folder
Spend a little time flipping through our portfolio of finished work, magazines, and even books. Tag pictures you like that elicit the look and feel you want. A picture conveys 1000 words. Now make a note about what it is you like about each picture.

Make a list
Make a list of the components you would like to have. Try making a list together and then make one independent of your significant others. Now prioritize the list from most important to least important. Don’t worry about design style or the details. Compare notes after you’ve finished. You may surprise each other.

Remember, designing is a process and a series of problems solved one by one. It can be paralyzing to look at the whole picture. It’s much easier to assemble the components and take the design on item by item, area by area.

Site Analysis
Each site or location offers both subtle and obvious nuances that will effect the design. Considerable issues in the future function of the landscape are good cause for careful site analysis.

Give consideration to the following

  • Screening objectionable views and creating privacy if desired.
  • Screening objectionable background noise with water, music or ?
  • Borrow: What features do you see in the background that are not part of your property but could become “borrowed landscape”. Perhaps these items are:
  • Background scenery, views: Try framing the view with plants, columns or posts, etc. to create a picture within a landscape. Borrow dramatic trees or palms from adjacent properties. Design plant that embrace and expose the background as desired.
  • Extract the Most from your Site:
  • Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your site: Utilize its strengths and play down the weaknesses in your design. Make your property work for you.
  • Comfort: Create shelter from excessive heat and wind which can ruin
    any gathering. Make your design comfortable to spend considerable time within.


Wind direction and exposure
relative to comfort, smoke, etc.

Sun Exposure

identify the cardinal directions and use them to your benefit. Northern exposures offer better shade potential. East facing provides early morning warmth. South facing, the warmest facing direction year round. West facing must contend with heat and glare all afternoon.

Assemblage of Components
Without concern for style or theme of design, bubble or simply circle the area within the plan where you feel the components work best. Give careful consideration to why each location works best for each component. Try arranging components in a triangulated relationship to each other so they will carry a flow.

Corridors and Angle of View
Remember a landscape is not a static one dimensional painting. It has three dimensions. One can remain static or in motion throughout a landscape changing the angle of view as one moves throughout the garden. Consider how components look and relate to the floor plan of the house and how views are affected out each window from the inside looking out as well as the outside looking in.

Traffic Flow
Create easy flow between areas. Envision the use of your desired components and how they relate to each other. Assemble the bubbles in close proximity or triangulated to each other. Compartmentalize components as desired for certain considerations. Create an easy flow through the garden. Draw arrows between bubbles and create a desired flow pattern for foot traffic throughout the garden, in and out doors, out and around anticipated outdoor furniture, etc.

Select a Theme or Style
Remember you have still not designed anything! You have simply organized your thoughts. You have prioritized and analyzed your site, your needs and wants. You are getting close to beginning a design. Now simply select a theme or style. Often the architecture of the home will do this for you. A home and garden that appear as one harmonious design of theme, style, and color have the broadest sense of appeal.

Select and Limit the Materials
Select some materials for patios, pathways, veneers and caps for walls, etc. Don’t worry about planting, lighting or anything else. Your budget constraints will most likely effect your selection of materials. Consider durability of products and look for timeless less trendy materials that won’t date your look

Remember
A weak design often relies on expensive materials, A creative well thought out design may utilize interchangeable materials.

Limit the selection to a few types of materials and unify them by composing them with complimentary shapes and tones. Create drama and effect with shocking contrasts.

Create order and harmony by repeating shapes, elements and materials throughout the design.

Beginning the Design Process
If you’ve completed all of the above steps, you are ready to meet with a member of our design team. Your preparation is invaluable to us in order that we understand the particular nuances and considerations relative to yourselves and your site. All of this information is critical in our endeavor to perform at our highest capacity for you. Thank you!

Complete the Landscape Designer’s Questionnaire
To give us additional information relative to your project.

Landscaping Sequence for installation and description
of phases.



A typical residential landscape installation will be installed in Sequence as follows.


Demolition
Removal of all unwanted and unrelated debris including but not limited to plant materials, concrete, and masonry elements. Essentially clearing the site in order to begin construction.

Swimming Pool, Spa, Fountain,
Large Water Feature, Waterfall Installation

Since these components require major access for equipment they become first in Sequence. These primary construction elements have elevations that determine the fall on paving and decking and thus the flow of drainage water on the entire project. Drainage System: This is clearly the most important component of your landscape. Without proper installation and design , all work that follows may be compromised. Drain systems collect water from catch basins set either in planters, lawn areas and decks as well as from behind retaining walls through their French drain systems. Roof gutter and downspout water is often tied into the drain system as well. Drainage water needs to be day lighted or directed to street gutters, an approved energy dissipater or an approved natural runoff location where it will not adversely effect those downhill from it.

Irrigation System or Sprinklers
Whether you are using spray irrigation or drip irrigation, mainline pressure pipe, remote control wire for the valves and some lateral PVC pipe are usually dropped into the same deep trenches as the drainage system. It is critical to compact adequately as this large trench is backfilled.

Large Specimen Tree and Boulders
Requiring heavy equipment or cranes . Need to be planted and placed before access is eliminated .Masonry Footings and 1st Courses of Block Walls: The underground supporting portion of retaining walls, bbq’s, fireplaces and fountains or “the footings” are excavated, steel reinforced and poured with concrete. The entire footing is below finish grade. It is imperative that the established grade at the top of the footing never be compromised by setting the top of the footing elevation too high. Tops of footings and edges or “copings” of swimming pools set the elevations for what follows as well as facilitating the flow of drainage system water, with minimal noticeable fall.

Paving
Concrete Construction, Interlocking Paver, Etc: Concrete paving along with innumerable combinations of stone, brick, tile, and interlocking pavers constructed for pathways, patios and driveways. Compaction upon backfill of all trenches leading under decking is essential to the success and the stability of the decking surface. All conduits and sleeves for future sewer, gas, electric, lighting and sound need to be in place. Once decking is complete, care needs to be taken to preserve it for the duration of the project.

Masonry Construction
Masonry construction often possess the character or architectural style of your landscape. Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are natural gathering places. BBQ’s and outdoor kitchens in tandem with outdoor rooms provide natural “outdoor living spaces”. Retaining, screening and seat walls add structure and character to the garden. These “hardscape” components are typically assembled in full at this point in construction. Your project will begin to really take shape as these detailed masonry elements are handcrafted in place right before your eyes. Upon completion of this phase your “hardscaping” is complete.

Soil Preparation
Either simultaneous with or following just after masonry, soil preparation is an integral component of your “softscape” phase.This includes the enrichment of your on site soils with organic matter, topsoil, and a multitude of organic fertilizers and soil conditioners.Each part of San Diego County lies within one of several distinctly different soil types ranging from sandy silted coastal soil to impregnable cobble and clay. Our on staff horticulturist will prescribe the preparation formula .Components and ratios vary depending upon the zone.

Irrigation
Continuation of the sprinkler system or irrigation system is accomplished by extending the previously installed and capped pipe installed during the drainage phase. Installation of PVC, drip pipe, sprinkler heads and drip emitters are taken with great care as to selection of head type, spacing, overlap and zone separation.

It’s critically important to separate irrigation zones including but not limited to:

  • Lawn Planter
  • Hillside
  • Sun
  • Shade
  • Pottery
  • Fruit Trees
  • Vegetable Gardens
  • Intense All Day Heat Areas

Plantings:
Once the soil is prepared, graded and your watering system is in place, you may begin the planting phase. If you are drip irrigating, the planting and drip installation are somewhat simultaneous .Planting of the smaller boxed trees first followed by the bigger background and then smaller foreground shrubs.Care should be taken to lay low voltage wiring cable prior to ground cover and lawn installation.
Your planting will reflect distinctive style by integration of a multitude of different types of plant material including but not limited to:
  • Annuals
  • Perennials
  • Cacti and Succulents
  • Woody Shrubs Broadleaf Trees
  • Evergreens or Coniferous Plants
  • Tropical Palms and Subtropical Plants
  • Native Plants

Through their innumerable combinations, one of many popular Southern California “themed gardens” are created. These styles include but are not limited to:

  • Mission
  • Craftsman
  • Early California or Ranch Style
  • Tuscan Style Landscape
  • Santa Barbara Inspired Gardens
  • Mediterranean Style French
  • Country Japanese Garden
  • California
  • Eclectic

Xeriscape or Xeriscaping
Use of water conservation throughout any theme is highly recommended. Incorporation of drought tolerant plants, mulches, or aggregate coverings of different sizes and textures. Also, the use of cacti and succulents, native plants and grasses requiring less overall water consumption.

Wood Construction
Taking place either simultaneous to planting or masonry. The wood construction phase will provide more architectural form and help complete your desired style. Wood construction provides function in the garden through shade structures, decks, benches, fencing and gates.

Providing Shade
Shade is of the utmost importance for any desired gathering, patio / pool or outdoor room atmosphere. The successful design of these spaces is most critical to whether or not these spaces are used and enjoyed by family and friends .Either attached or freestanding, pergolas, pavilions, loggias, gazebos, patio covers and arbors create a cool, comfortable atmosphere year round. They may all be constructed with details to accompany your theme or compliment your architecture.

Low Voltage Lighting
Adding extended use of your landscape into the evening hours and providing visual drama, low voltage or line voltage lighting brings every project to life at night. The subtle illumination of architectural elements, objects of art, and Niche and wall lighting combined with path lighting will insure the safe passage of garden visitors in the evening.

Accoutrements
Various components such as pottery, murals, furniture, garden art, spheres, globes, sun dials, statuary, will greatly expand on your theme and style.

Clean-up Detailing
Summits high standards are reflected in the impeccable condition your finished landscape and home are in when your landscape project is completed.

Maintenance
Because a garden is really never finished. Providing on going service and individualized maintenance is just as important as a quality installation.

Outdoor rooms and kitchens to extend your home's enjoyment.

Outdoor Room & Kitchens
Our Mediterranean type climate offers an incredibly long season to enjoy activities and gatherings outdoors. Outdoor rooms provide seamless flow between living spaces indoors and outside. Outdoor rooms become just that, another room typically attached or just adjacent to the main structure. Successful designs extend roof lines of homes with matching roof styles and building materials for an integrated architectural style.

A variety of alternative shade coverings include, but is not limited to:

  • Hipped or gabled roofs with matching roof tile or latticed framework.
  • Wood patio cover construction.
  • Canvas and SunBrella fabrics over framework.
  • Alumawood.
  • Shade or sail cloths.
  • Palapas.

Incorporate an attractive interior ceiling fan, down lighting, shelving for t.v., music, etc.

Typically a fireplace enclosing a portion of one side will increase the intimacy of space. Use the fireplace to screen objectionable views or block out background noise. Consider enclosing one or more sides with walls if needed.

Paving surfaces should reflect an interior richness, especially since this will accentuate the look and feel of a room. Sliding, French or pocket doors create a summertime easy flow between rooms indoors and out. Leave a niche for some of your favorite shade plants.

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