I was thinking that, when asked the question, what do you do? I would answer EDUCATE. Often I find myself explaining to prospective clients why planning first saves time and money. Sadly, in new construction, the Landscape Professional is called in too late in the process after important elements are already installed; i.e. driveways, utilities, decks, etc.
Below find a quote from Julie Moir Meservey one of my garden design gurus that sums up the need for an open relationship involving all parties. Personally, my most rewarding projects reflect this attitude and the winner is you, the homeowner!
“I’ve found that an attitude of respectful collaboration creates a happy and knowledgeable work team. Each person feels appreciated for his or her contribution to the effort and the product. I think of my role as that of a designer, yes, but also a producer and director rolled into one. In the end, a great process does produce great gardens.
So what does this mean to home gardeners? If you decide you want to work with a designer, look for someone who’s a collaborator, someone who will really listen to you, help you to decipher your “inward garden,”—your associations, memories, preferences, and dreams as they relate to your landscape—and propose ways to translate all of that within a garden setting. Whenever you employ a garden contractor, look for someone whom you feel you can trust—someone who’s experienced, careful, and caring of your needs and the needs of your land.
Even if you do all the work in your own garden, you can engage in design collaboration by seeking ideas and feedback from fellow gardeners, family members, and even non-gardening friends. For my own garden, I’ll grab anyone who comes near—my husband, my daughter, my neighbor, even the Fedex man, to check out my placement of a garden ornament I’ve just acquired, or to give a critique of the bed lines. Untrained people often have the most astute eyes.”
The Art of Design_My Passion and my Practice
My design process is simple and concise with a focus on facilitation and ease for my
clients. Through observation, evaluation and communication I learn how to constructively
juxtapose the demands of the site with your specific goals.
The design process begins with a site visit whereby I walk the property and listen to your
ideas, needs, and desires. The Contract For Design Services will then be submitted to you
for your review, signature, and deposit to begin design work. Within three to four weeks I
will present the Draft Concept Plan to you at your home. This Plan provides the
concept of the design from which to make changes, amendments, additions or deletions.
I can then alter this Plan accordingly and present it along with any necessary supporting
documents to the appropriate local entities. Upon approval of the design, the Final
Concept Plan is developed and presented to you, again at your home. This Plan is
complete with elevations, descriptions of hardscape materials, and a general indication
of which plants will be used. At this time I like to offer and discuss our services to further
your project in the role of Project Management.
The Art and Science of a Beautiful Landscape
Elaine M. Johnson Landscape Design creates innovative gardens and landscapes. I draw
inspiration from the natural contours and conditions of the site and thoughtfully integrates
hardscape while enhancing the elements intrinsic to the native landscape.
An intimate knowledge of the local landscape including climate, soil structure, and flora
provides the basis of my design philosophy. From this foundation I sensitively interpret,
accentuate, and enhance the best aspects of the site and its surroundings, infusing
creative yet practical ideas along with the client’s wishes to create a memorable sense of
My close working relationships with local artisans, carpenters, stonemasons, and
landscape contractors, provide wholeness to the design process, drawing every
necessary element into the design to create your outdoor space. This combined with a
concise design process and open communication with the client affirms the successful
completion of the landscape – a pure representation of balance, function and beauty.