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Our Process

Samara Design has formulated a set design process that is applied to all projects to ensure that our designs are very thorough and address the needs of our clients.  The process is not just based on the mechanical production of architectural landscape designs, but includes the crucial discovery process of the clients needs during the initial consulation that proceeds these design steps, and the concept phase that in many cases allows for the client to have choices in the final direction of their garden.  Below are the phases of the design process following the consultation appointment

.: site inventory and base plan
The first step of the design is to produce a scaled base plan of the area to be designed as a computer file in the Samara title block at the scale desired.  The base plan is then used as the blank canvas in the development of the design. If no “blueprints” or drawing files (.dwg) can be provided by the client or architect/designer, the entire site will require on-site collection of all existing items including the residence and any other buildings, any grades/elevations required, and all existing pertinent site elements such as walks, trees, utilities, and any existing elements such as patios, sheds, pools, etc,  If any electronic versions of the site including any of the following: a survey plan, site plan, the floor plans (and elevations) there may be a cost saving as not as many measurement will need to be manually collected.  In many cases a site visit will still be required to locate any elements or to collect site grades/elevations not indicated on the plans provided.

.: concept sketch development
The second step is to develop a conceptual sketch (or in sketches, in some cases) of the proposed design.  In most cases the sketch will be a hand drawn sketch indicating any hard landscape elements (walks, patios, pools), and all areas of soft landscaping (planting beds, trees, and lawn).  The concept sketches will be presented to client.  If multiple concepts are provided, on of the concepts or an amalgamation of the ideas may be used in the final design direction.  If revisions are required they will also be sketched in the same manner.  Once the design direction has been established, the next step is to proceed to the development of the various working drawings.

.: master plan development
This phase of the development includes the creation of two separate plans – the Master Plan and the Dimension/Grading Plan.  The Master Plan is a scaled overhead plan view of the project indicating all the proposed design elements, the existing elements that are to remain, existing elements to be augmented, or existing elements to be removed.  The Master Plan will also include all material specifications for hardscape elements.  If the hardscape elements are complex, construction details may be required – see below.  The planting areas incorporated in the new design will be designated, but the specification of the actual plants will be done in the Planting Plan  - see below.  The Dimension/Grading Plan is a simplified version of the Master Plan with many of the annotations removed so that the dimensions and any required elevations/grades of the layout may be indicated for ease of construction.

.: planting plan development
The Planting Plan is an optional plan that may be provided as desired (unless required for design approval).  The Planting Plan is not to be undervalued however.  The entire aesthetic of the project, or look of the garden may be ruined if the planting is not designed equally as well as the layout of the garden.  The goal of the well designed Planting Plan is to provide year round colour and/or interest.  The means used to obtain this goal are much more complex than just choosing colour, as many think.  The key aspects to be considered when designing a planting plan are: flower colour, leaf/foliage colour, bark colour, blooming times, exposure, proper spacing, correct layering of heights, and leaf size and texture.  Development of a quality planting plan is in fact more difficult than a hardscape layout and should not be left to someone who does not understand the complexity of such a plan.

.: construction details
“It’s all in the details”.  Many elements incorporated in the Master Plan may require construction details.  Detail drawings help ensure a soundly constructed project, but also include all the fine details to be incorporated to elevate the custom look of the project.  The detail drawings will include dimensions, construction process annotations, and expanded material specification information.  The optional detail drawings package may one or more of the following views: detailed plan views, sections, and elevations.

.: renderings
There are a number of optional renderings that may be prepared to assist in illustrating the design intent of the project.  These drawings may be required for clients that cannot visualize the finished product from the Master Plan, or as sales tools.

Perspective Rendering – a three dimensional drawing of the project, or key a portion(s) of the project.
Section/Elevation Rendering – a two dimensional drawing of the project, or key port a portion(s) of the project.
(Each option may also include the addition of colour to the rendering)

Coloured Master Plan – coloured rendering of the Master Plan.