Landscaping is said to be the slowest of the performing arts. From design through installation to ongoing growth and change, it must be choreographed with knowledge and experience. Producing a garden is a challenging and creative process. While we may aspire to being surrounded by a landscape that delights and amazes us with every season, where does one start to make that vision a reality? Achieving such a landscape takes experienced guidance, teamwork and coordinated effort. A landscape design-build firm is most likely to produce a project that will satisfy high expectations.
Design-build landscape architects, their team, and the homeowner have the same goal, to complete a successful project within budget and on schedule. Design-build landscape architects are involved with every step of the process from helping you develop your vision through determining its viability through construction details, plant selection, installation and even maintenance. Years of hands on experience in successfully completing projects informs their design process.
“Creating a landscape is a very personal experience,” says Ron Dodd, president of Wallace Landscape Associates. In the design-build model, the landscape architect, estimator, construction manager and crew are accustomed to working closely together facilitating the installation to proceed as planned. The team is accountable for the entire project from costs through scheduling to final outcome. When challenges arise, everyone takes responsibility for the ultimate success of the project. All licensing, fees and costs are considered part of the process, so it is unlikely that there will be unpleasant surprises during or after installation.
The design-build system is highly adaptive. As a project comes to life, there is often a need for changes prompted by the homeowner or required by a situation on the ground. “Changes can be difficult with design only firms.” says Dodd. “It is a lengthy process involving multiple communications between homeowner, designer, contractor and subcontractors. Misunderstandings are common and disagreements may arise as to who is responsible.”
The design-build team communicates directly with the homeowner. Finger pointing is not an option and much stress and delay is avoided. As a design-build firm, Wallace Landscape Associates includes township code compliance and building and stormwater management requirements in the plan. The site is thoroughly analyzed as registered landscape architects work closely with the client to arrive at a realistic plan, budget and time frame for the project. A master plan is developed along with construction details and contract documents. “Upon acceptance, the project never leaves Wallace’s hands.” explains Dodd. “It is an entirely seamless process. The design-build process is committed to efficiency and quality throughout the installation.”
A landscape is not an object. It is ever growing and changing. As homeowner’s lives evolve, Wallace Landscape Associates’ designers are often called upon to adapt a garden to changing needs. Play areas may be outgrown, active gardeners may want to reduce maintenance and enjoy the garden at a slower pace, or a swimming pool may be desired for an active family. With a depth of commitment, Wallace’s designers maintain an interest and connection to the landscapes they create, coming back year after year to revise and renew.
Working with a design only office is a very different process. The landscape architect’s office produces only the design, which is then implemented by another firm. The designer may or may not participate in the selection of that firm. Competitive bidding encourages cutting corners. Interpreting the design is often left to field personnel who may not have a clear understanding of the objectives of the designer. Substitutions are often made without consulting the owner or designer.
As the plan is implemented, depending upon the agreement, the client may be responsible for complying with municipal codes and permits. Much decision making and supervision falls to the homeowner, who may not be prepared or have time or knowledge to take it on.
As a design-build firm, Wallace Landscape Associates has been creating functional and enduring landscapes since 1980. Located in Chadds Ford, PA, and well versed in the architectural traditions of the Delaware Valley, the firm specializes in residential landscapes incorporating unique swimming pools, elegant outdoor living areas, specialty gardens and landscape construction.
Let our team become your team as you create a memorable landscape for your home.