Step 2: Design

Creating the landscape plan for your project is one of the most important aspects of making sure your project delivers exactly what you are hoping for, without any regrets. Often we find people do not even know what they want until they see it, and this often means seeing things they didn’t realize they actually did not want. It can be tough to visualize everything at your own property when you are used to seeing the same thing day in and day out. Getting our teams fresh perspective on your space is going to completely transform the potential of your project.

From the moment we first step foot on your property, our creative juices are flowing, and we are looking for any and every way to maximize the quality of your home landscaping. Whether you are looking for a brief overview of the project or a full blown 3D fly through model of the finished work, our team is ready to help you establish a proper budget with expectations to match your preferences. And we are very excited to work with you!

Who on your team designs my outdoor space?

Our Chief Landscape Designer, Kim. Kim attended the best landscaping architecture program on the west coast at Cal Poly SLO Landscape Architecture program in San Luis Obispo. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree. It goes without saying that we’re incredibly lucky to have Kim on the team.

While many of our clients prefer drought tolerant plants, Kim’s education taught her plenty about  water management and can use that knowledge and skill set to build landscapes that maximize the use and retention of rainwater if you so desire.

Our Chief Landscape Designer, Kim

How does the design process start?

Right off the bat, we want to know WHAT YOU WANT? Chiefly, we want to know how you plan on using your outdoor space. Form follows function when it comes to your outdoor living area.

Kim will come to your home and walk the site with you. She’ll evaluate things like sun exposure, your existing irrigation system, and perform site measurements.

Do you want to entertain guests? If so, an outdoor bar with a BBQ and a fire pit might be perfect for you. We also want to make sure the bar and BBQ isn’t too far from your patio door so you’re not schlepping a platter of steaks clear across your yard every time you run inside/outside. 

Or perhaps you want to have a play space for the kids? If so, a grassy area surrounded by plants without sharp cacti might be best. Synthetic turf with room for a playground or even a pit for a trampoline can be wonderful additions too.

Whatever you want, we want your outdoor space to be perfect and you always have the final call. We simply sprinkle in practical advice that can only be gained after designing and building 100s of outdoor spaces.

What happens after that?

Once Kim understands what you’re looking for, she’ll draft a base plan and then share that render with you. At this point, the goal is to iron out how things look spatially and if the layout fits your vision.

By creating a base plan, both Kim and yourself will be able to visualize clear walking paths and layouts in your outdoor living area.

How long is the design process?

As annoying as this answer may be, it just depends on a few different factors. Size and complexity of the outdoor space, the number of plant species, the variety of materials used, and of course, the number of revisions you request. On the low end, the design process might only take a week but often can require up to a month.

Some projects might require us to build an entire Master Plan with dimensions along with a planting plan. For outdoor kitchens, we create an appliance layout so everything is placed sensibly.

Why does the design process take that long?

The design phase really sets the stage for every subsequent stage to flow harmoniously. When the construction team arrives on day zero, we don’t want them standing around with no idea what they’re doing or lacking the materials. During the design phase, we’ll order materials and plants and then create highly detailed construction plans so the team knows exactly what to accomplish day by day. The teams aren’t there to show up and figure everything out. Our job during the design phase is to ensure they have a tactical step-by-step battle plan.

What happens during construction?

Once construction begins on your property, Kim transitions into more of a construction administration role for your project. Since we need to order plants and materials, Kim helps coordinate the efforts of the teams to align with what’s already on-site and what’s on the way.

There might also be an unexpected situation where we find pipes and irrigation somewhere we were planning on digging and then need to perform a change order pretty quickly to keep the teams moving.

What advice would you offer to a potential client?

First, to be open. Trust us as designers and trust our construction crew. No one on the planet knows this stuff better than we do. It can be a nerve racking experience seeing strangers tear up your yard and driveway. It’s difficult to see all that demolition and to trust that we’re building your vision exactly as we discussed.

Right when we finish, you might also think your landscape looks empty or bare. We might be planting a one-gallon plant that will eventually get to be 5 feet wide. It’s hard to remember that when you might be reviewing our finished work. You have to trust the process and also trust that these plants will grow and develop into a beautiful landscape.

One issue we’ve run into is some clients might find some great inspiration from Instagram or Pinterest and want something similar for their own outdoor space. Sometimes, the space you have may not allow that to work. You just can’t have a bocce ball court when you’ve got a 15% slope in your backyard.

Budget is always a challenge. For example, a retaining wall might just seem like a stack of bricks but it’s a wall that has to hold back many tons of Earth for decades and that requires footing and rebar. Things like that cost surprisingly more than what most people expect. Some clients might then go shop around for the same project and get a much lower price for it. The truth is, if it’s cheaper than us, it’s just not the same quality of work. In 10 years, that wall will likely be leaning over and it’s going to cost even more to fix it then.

Regarding communication, we’re happy to communicate and keep you updated as much or as little as you’d like. Every client is different and we’re delighted to give you a nightly report if you want it or a weekly summary if that suits you too.

Clearview Landscaping is the premier provider of landscaping services in the Santa Barbara area. For over 20 years, we’ve been transforming bland outdoor spaces into beautiful sanctuaries with integrity.

200+ 5 Star Reviews across the web

“Every time my sellers have gone with Clearview the property value of their home has increased dramatically prior to selling it.”

- Justin E. (via Yelp)

“Transforming your property is a carefully orchestrated sequence of deeply interconnected steps.

It takes vision to create beauty. Organization to deliver quality. Communication to maintain harmony. And unwavering integrity to respectfully manage your project from start to finish.

That’s why working with a single contractor like Clearview ensures success.”

Chris Hulme