Enter My Gardens
“I’ve long defined a garden as a relationship: a relationship between a person and a bed of soil; between an idea and a place; between our desire for reality and our need to flee it; between the essential loneliness of being and our hope for an encounter. So in this sense, a garden cannot be designed. It exists only at the moment we are engaged in it when shovel hits the soil. Only when are we baptized into the soil—the meeting place of the inanimate and the animate—does the relationship begin.”_Thomas Ranier, Grounded Design
Dreaming of high-end landscape design ideas and luxurious outdoor spaces is one thing—making these landscaping ideas happen is another. Even if there’s a substantial budget that can go toward landscaping ideas (becoming one of those houses with pools isn’t cheap), coordinating installation and construction so they don’t make spending spring and summer days outdoors difficult can be tricky.
To assure the best results for my clients, my services rely on the importance of a cohesive, unified team approach. I believe that for any project to be truly successful, the landscape designer, architect, interior designer, and contractor should work in concert from the project’s inception. This relationship fosters the pursuit of a common goal, “the client’s best interest.”
I go above and beyond to make sure my clients are actively involved in the building process from inception to completion. Each member of our diversely talented team holds their work to the most scrutinizing standards, but it’s your opinion that I care about most. Our clients particularly appreciate the ongoing relationship fostered by our principals, a dynamic relationship that grows and matures over time, in sync with the landscape itself.
Consultation & Contract
The design process begins when I meet with you, on-site, to discuss your landscape and architectural objectives. As I listen to your ideas and become more familiar with your property and intended improvements, I begin to define a scope for your project. This tells me specifically what you wish to accomplish. You can review my portfolio, which has examples of completed projects and provides us with insight as to your personal objectives, aesthetic sensibilities, and budgetary outlook. I define the sequence of tasks likely to be involved in realizing your project and assess your expectations for time and completion. https://www.elainemjohnson.com/consultation/.
The design process continues as we develop a plan of existing conditions that become the foundation for further design work. My contractors spend the necessary time on site to survey and evaluate the existing landscape and architectural features, giving us first-hand knowledge of design considerations such as noise, drainage patterns, and the presence of pleasurable or unpleasant vistas to and from the site. I photograph the site to assist in the design development process. I will also incorporate information obtained from collaborating engineering and architectural professionals.
The first step in the Concept Development process is to discuss with the client-specific goals for the project. This enables both parties to have a mutually agreeable expectation, budget, and timeline.
Next, I analyze the extent to which existing conditions affect your desired goals. There may be a range of alternative design solutions. Discussing the pros and cons of alternatives helps us focus and select the design direction that most closely fits your needs and objectives. From this emerges a design that is then drawn as a conceptual plan and elevational sketches and overlays. I review this with you along with necessary sketches, illustrative details and graphics, and a preliminary cost projection for the proposed scope of work.
I also encourage continued client participation through site visits and subsequent meetings to review proposed construction materials and potential budget alternatives.
Final Design & Drawings
Upon approval of the design and budget presented at the conceptual stage, the process moves toward implementation. A comprehensive overall plan is developed, which includes detailed specifications for the various components of the project, such as grading, planting, lighting, and construction details. Together with the client, decisions are made regarding contractor selection, schedules, and final budgets.
At this point, if necessary, I will assist in the important, yet complex permitting issues that often impact landscape architectural projects. The permitting process typically includes the Planning, Zoning, Historic, and Conservation Commission town boards.
Please refer to the Services tab on my web site for a preview of the areas I provide for my clients. As a Design-Build Landscape Designer, I attend to every detail and believe in the importance of Project Management and consistent communication.
“MORE THAN EVER, WE NEED PLANTING SOLUTIONS THAT ARE RESILIENT, ECOLOGICALLY FUNCTIONAL, AND BEAUTIFUL. OUR GOAL IS NOT MERELY TO CREATE MORE FUNCTIONAL LANDSCAPES, BUT TO MAKE PEOPLE SEE AGAIN, TO MAKE THEM REMEMBER. WE ARRANGE PLANTS IN WAYS THAT WILL CONJURE EXPERIENCES OF THE EPHEMERAL. IT IS NOT THE PLANTS THEMSELVES THAT HAVE POWER; IT IS THEIR PATTERNS, TEXTURES, AND COLORS–PARTICULARLY THOSE THAT EVOKE WILDNESS–THAT BECOME ANIMATED AS LIGHT AND LIFE PASS”_Thomas Ranier.