The Swan Creek Process
Our unique process is the key to providing our clients with a truly satisfying design/build experience. We have created a specific system that takes our clients through a process of discovery, planning, design, budgeting, construction, and follow-up that captures their thoughts, ideas and dreams and turns them into a final creation that meets and exceeds their expectations. The process is basically a roadmap that brings everything together to ensure that we don’t miss any required criteria, that every base is covered, and that the end result is spectacular. Throughout each step of the process, we are committed to open and honest communication, as well as a friendly and helpful attitude from all of us at Swan Creek Landscaping.
This is the starting point of bringing your dreams to reality. The first thing we do is listen. Although this seems basic, it is our experience that many in our industry simply do not have the knowledge and experience to ask the proper questions to help guide you, or that they have preconceived notions of what they want you to do. This is usually based on what kind of projects they feel most comfortable with or what they think you need.
We will ask you questions about your lifestyle, tastes, entertainment style, specific family needs, future plans and dreams, other plans for your home, etc. We want to get a compete understanding of how you see your outdoor space fitting into your dreams and needs. After all, you should have what you want and what fits your family’s needs. Only then can we move on to…
In this step, we solidify the parameters of the project, create a priority list, and begin to form a general idea of budget parameters. Although many times discussing budgets can be an uncomfortable topic, it is vitally important that we gain an understanding of a desired budget range. Nothing is more frustrating for everyone involved than to create a design and plans for a dream project only to discover that the desired project is far over what the client was hoping or willing to invest. We understand that discussing budgets require trust on both sides. You need to trust that we are not out to up-sell you on items that do not fit the budget parameters, and we need to trust that you are being honest about your budget parameters so we can provide you with as many options as possible. You will find us to be honest, trustworthy, and forthright in our discussions of what is possible now, what can happen in the future, and the cost of various choices. We can provide you with satisfied clients who have placed their trust in us and can testify to our honesty and integrity. We are also happy to help you plan the design and construction of a project so that, as budgets allow, you can get the compete project that you desire.
At this stage, we will work with you to narrow the many potential options available to fit within budget parameters while fulfilling as many of your desires as possible. We will also perform a site survey and analysis to reveal any problems or obstacles that may impact the design. Many times we discover unique attributes of a site that can be worked into the design to create one-of-a-kind outdoor spaces. When we have the information that we need, we will move into the next phase…
For us, this is the most critical phase of our process. As professionals, we do not simply scribble something on a sheet of paper and proceed with construction. A great deal of time and expertise is used to collect the data that is used to formulate a proper design. To us, not having a proper landscape design that is like building a house without blueprints. It’s impossible to give our clients the best design and accurate budget without following our specific process.
At the start of this process, we create a concept drawing that outlines the basics of the design based on all of the discussions and parameters that have been established. The concept drawings will show you the general layout of the design. In this step, specific areas will be determined such as paved areas, planting beds, privacy plantings, pool areas, kitchen areas and so on. This step also includes the pedestrian and vehicular traffic study to be sure that you are able to navigate the project easily. We also consider exactly how you are using these spaces and what types of furniture you may like.
Once the concept drawing is finalized and accepted, we compile all of the data from the vision, site analysis, and conceptual drawings to come up with the finished layout of your project. In this step, color drawings are produced and, if requested, 3-D computer plans are created. This is where you will see your vision come to life. These plans provide the roadmap for your outdoor project and take every single element under consideration. This stage may include revisions if necessary. At this point, there are many times that desired options are considered and priced into the plan. Decisions are made as to what to include or exclude and project parameters are finalized so that a final budget can be solidified.
Now that we have a formal plan in place including desired elements, sizes, and materials, we can accurately price the job. We will prepare a detailed proposal explaining what tasks we will complete, how we plan to execute the plan, and the timeframe. Each activity will be thoroughly explained and priced accordingly. Referring to previous discussions on budgeting, if accurate information has been shared previously, there should be no big budget surprises at this point.
Upon acceptance of the proposal, we will process the construction drawings. These drawings accurately show our expert crews exactly what we are building, what materials are to be used, and the exact specifications and sizes of each detail. The job is scheduled and materials are ordered. All approvals and permits are obtained, and local utility marking services are notified.
Now we can finally execute your landscape project. One aspect of the construction process that we warn our clients about is the amount of “demolition” that takes place before we can begin the “construction”. Although we do warn clients about this, the sight of a project during construction can be quite jarring! Like the old saying goes, you have to crack a few eggs to make a great omelet. We do promise it will be worth it in the end.
We do take every effort to keep the job site clean and safe at all times. We are mindful of children, dust, dirt, windows, pets, cars and anything that we can affect. We pride ourselves on the safety of our employees and all those coming near the construction site.
Follow-up & Walk through
In this final stage, we walk through the entire project with the client. We explain watering needs, maintenance techniques and requirements, and any detail that needs to be explained. We also use this opportunity to perform an “exit interview” with our clients to evaluate us and critique how we handled your project. This step is extremely important to us since this is the basis of our continual improvement. We strive to become better landscape contractors and the best way we know how is to ask what you were pleased with and how we could improve.