GardenArt performs and/or manages a full line of landscape services for our clientele. In addition to your standard landscape tasks such as planting and mulching, GardenArt and its experienced employees have honed their skills over the years with many other components that are available for your landscape project. Including concrete paver patios, outdoor wooden structures, ponds and low voltage lighting, just to name a few, GardenArt can design and install all aspects of your outdoor living space. With many of our clients, if GardenArt doesn’t actually perform the service you desire, we can contact and manage a quality sub-contractor to give you the quality you deserve without the headaches of trying to organize it yourself.
What follows below is a general idea of how the design and/or installation functions are organized at GardenArt. While not every project is the same, these guidelines will give you a good feeling for what to expect when we work on your particular landscaping vision. Like always, please contact us at your convenience should you have any questions.
1. Initial Meeting
Our initial meeting takes 30 – 60 minutes. Our primary mission in the initial meeting is to listen to you and understand your vision for your property. We want to understand how you use your property, what your interests are and how we can develop an outdoor living environment reflecting your lifestyle.
Once we have collected the information from the interview, we will schedule a return appointment to present our design and estimate. Please refer to the FAQ section to see what information we need our clients to provide to us at this initial meeting.
2. Design Phase
We will return after the initial meeting to do site analysis. We will take pictures, assess drainage and existing vegetation, shoot elevations as necessary and site measure site elements such as existing trees. Once the site analysis has been completed, we begin our design work.
With most projects, a detailed design and estimate will be prepared for the second meeting. If the design is more involved (water garden, patio, pergola, and plantings) the schematic plan with budgets will be reviewed. Once the schematic plan is approved, detailed plans and estimates will be developed and presented.
The detailed plan and site analysis are our guides to developing estimates for projects. We make every reasonable effort to account for all items affecting cost. Our estimates are designed to be within 5% on most projects. We very rarely exceed the estimated cost, but do make mistakes from time to time.
In the rare event we find some previously unknown site condition which has not been accounted for in the estimate, we will consult with the client to determine the best course of action. Actual examples have been the majority of an old auto buried in a back yard and 2-3 cubic yards of concrete buried under a layer of topsoil. These occurrences are very rare, but have occurred from time to time.
In most residential situations, a verbal notice to proceed from the client is adequate to show intent. We do require a 25% down payment for the work to be scheduled.
If we are in the process of minor revisions (a plant size change, a plant type change), the verbal approval is sufficient until the client receives the revised estimate. Once the client receives the revisions, remittance of the down payment is expected within a few days.
Scheduling of a project generally runs 4-6 weeks from time of verbal approval. Once the down payment is received, the project becomes approved work meaning time is blocked out on the schedule, materials are ordered and plans are printed for use by our installation foremen.
For most single – scope projects (a planting installation, low voltage lighting installation, a patio) installation will take a matter of a few days. For multi-faceted projects (water garden + patio + planting + lighting) the installation can exceed one month.
We will notify you via e-mail or phone to let you know specifically when we will begin. Utility locates (all that pretty paint and flags) are generally completed a few days prior to beginning the project. Weather, other contractors and occasionally suppliers can cause project delays. This may mean we need to work else where for a day or two. Once the delay has been addressed (wet ground dries, the irrigation contractor finishes, the tree we are waiting for comes in) we will return to your site to complete the work.
For multi-faceted projects, installation can range from a full week up to a few months to complete a project. We can keep you posted as to our progress as often as you would like. Most clients can gauge this by what is being accomplished on a weekly basis and communication with our on-site managers.
For most projects, GardenArt will invoice upon completion or substantial completion. An example of substantial completion would be as follows. GardenArt installs a new foundation planting to enhance your curb appeal. The ornamental tree in the design is a clump Serviceberry which will not be harvested until the following fall. In this case, all work completed would be invoiced after completion. The Serviceberry would be invoiced once it is received and installed.
For large scale or multi-faceted projects, GardenArt invoices on a monthly basis. This allows us to keep our revenues and expenses in line on a monthly basis. These invoices will reflect a percentage of work completed based on the estimates provided. The terms are the same, payment upon receipt.
In the event payment is not received within ten days, GardenArt reserves the right to void the warranty. If you have billing questions, please contact Dan Vawter (firstname.lastname@example.org).
8. Instructions and Warranty
Our plant warranty is one full year from time of billing, labor inclusive. If a plant dies, we will replace it with a plant of the same size. Generally, most shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses and groundcovers can be replaced within a few weeks. Trees (shade, flowering and evergreen) however, can take long to procure due to the fact they need to be harvested at specific times of the year.
Warranty on construction items is two years, labor inclusive. Some construction materials (concrete and clay pavers, low voltage transformers to name a few) have manufacturer warranties. GardenArt will address these manufacturer warranties with our vendors, it is not your responsibility. The construction warranty is seldom used. If it is needed, it is generally due to the settling of a base material under a patio or sidewalk.
We have always considered our warranty policy to be fairly liberal. I cannot think of an instance a warranty was turned down, other than by lack of prompt payment for services rendered. There are, however, incidents which void warranty: Acts of God, vandalism, blatant neglect by the owner or the owner’s agent (leave town for 3 weeks, don’t make arrangements for watering new plant material; snow removal company plows over shrubs) or damage from other trades (herbicide drift from adjacent farm field, soil poisoning from washing off painting supplies) are not covered under our warranty.
The most important information we give our clients once planting has been completed is watering instructions. These can be sent electronically or mailed with your invoice if necessary. We also provide clients with a landscape maintenance calendar. This will provide a timing time line for specific landscape maintenance tasks. Please email any other care questions you may have so we can provide you with the information you need.
9. Customer Service
We will periodically inspect newly installed landscapes to check the general condition of plantings. This allows us to check up on our work, monitor clients’ watering practices and to recommend changes in watering techniques if necessary. Please call anytime if plant(s) is/are looking out of sorts or you have any questions. Questions should be directed to Korena Vawter (email@example.com). She will physically check the site when necessary or route the question to the proper people if she cannot answer your query.
Ultimately, your satisfaction with our product is our goal. Sound installation practices, quality materials, periodic site checks and a solid warranty policy put all the pieces in place to make this a reality.
The easiest way to set up a meeting with the GardenArt team to discuss your vision for improving your outdoor living space is to fill out the simple GardenArt contact form, click HERE. Do it today!
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|West Lafayette Landscape Architects & Designers|