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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 site meeting that proceeds these design steps.  The concept design phase allows for the client to have choices in the final direction of their garden. 


Below are the phases of the design process:

.: 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. The base plan is then used as the blank canvas in the development of the design. A site visit shall be required to collect the existing site measurements and grading.  If “blueprints” or digital files (PDF/DWG) can be provided by the client or architect/designer, they will used in conjunction with the on-site measurements and will reduce the design budget required.  If the site is too complex a BCLS Surveyor may need to be engaged.

.: concept sketch development
The second step is to develop the conceptual sketches for the proposed design.  In most cases there shall be a minimum of  3 concept sketches completed, these hand drawn sketches shall include the hard landscape elements (walks, patios, pools), and all areas of soft landscaping (planting beds, trees, and lawn).  There may be one concept that can be used for the basis moving forward, or there may be am amalgamation of some of the portions or ideas from the various concepts that may be pieced together.  The aim of the concept sketches is to establish the "big picture" of the basic layout, and to build from that base.  Once the feedback has been provided on the concepts,  the next phase is the completion of a computer draft that will be completely scaled and will include additional information with regard to materials, grades, hedge, fencing, trees, etc. 

.: master plan and dimension/grading planThis 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.  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.  The Dimension Plan is a simplified version of the Master Plan with many of the annotations removed so that the dimensions of the layout may be indicated for ease of construction.  Grading and drainage requirements are also indicated

.: planting plan development

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.  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

.: construction details

Some 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 detail drawings package may one or more of the following views: detailed plan views, sections, and elevations.  If a specific element will be included from the outset a price can be provided in the initial quote.  If an element is added or evolves during the design process, a quote shall be provided.

.: renderings

Construction of a detailed 3D model of the proposed landscape design for the property, or a portion(s) of the design that may be tough for some clients to visualize.  The model allows “snapshots” of the project from any conceivable angle and will closely represent final construction and material styles and colors.  Truly the best method for clients to make sure they fully understand what the final product should be before breaking ground.

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