Developing a Landscape Plan Lots of Moving Parts

Anne has described the landscaping we’ve seen at many houses as “haphazard.” Both to avoid this look and to deal with the various elevations and shapes of our property, we feel we need a landscape designer to draw us a comprehensive plan. We won’t be able to implement it all right way, but we want to know where we are going.

landscape plan example

We first asked Kevin about this in the spring. He asked around and got a recommendation to Paula, from England but living in Marche now. She met us at the property during our visit in May, when we discussed the situation in front and behind the house.

During this meeting, we reached a general consensus on our best option, roughing out the various land terrace levels. We thought the next step was for Jimmy, the geometra, to develop some specific drawings. Then Paula could develop an overall plan.

It hasn’t quite turned out that way. We needed to resolve the parking area location and size. Alessandra had proposed the parking to all be on a level above the house. Paula suggested that a parking area for one car next to the kitchen would be a good idea. Kevin went off to develop the kitchen parking option and get some costs.

While this was going on, Paula sent us an idea of what she could do to help with the overall landscape design. I found it a bit confusing, so we exchanged a few emails to try to sort it out.

We took all of these issues up again during our July visit. While we liked Paula’s idea, as it would be more convenient, given the land shape we’d need to build a reinforced concrete platform for the kitchen parking area. Big bucks. So parking just above it will be.

Now, the problem became the cost to do all the earth moving and reshaping we need to get to the terrace plan we developed. Fortunately. Francisc was able to find a lower cost contractor and to get some needed soil from another job site. However, we needed to wait until all the exterior stone work was done before the land reshaping could be done, as there was stone piled all over the property while that work was in progress.

Just recently, this major land rework has been started and should be done in a week or so. We’re eager to have a landscape plan, so we can do as much planting as feasible as soon as possible.

Since I didn’t feel Paula had given us a clear proposal from which we could engage her services, I looked over the series of emails with Paula and outlined my understanding:

  1. Phase one: The overall plan gives all the hard landscaping (stairs, paths, some area by pool to be out of sun, etc. – anything that isn’t a plant ) and indicates which areas are planting and a rough idea of the type of planting.
    • Turnaround: 2 weeks after you get needed site survey from Jimmy. Then, once we understand and approve this plan, you will firm up the drawings, including any technical drawings needed for the work to be priced and built.
    • €550, with additional site visits at €30 per hour.
  2. Phase two: The planting plan is a scaled drawing (usually 1:50) with lots of circles, each one representing a plant’s ultimate spread, and each one labeled (in Latin) to facilitate ordering, planting and ongoing maintenance. This a plan that could be planted in stages with the broad structure planted now and the more developed areas then could be planted as and when we are ready.
    • Turnaround: 2-3 weeks after we agree on the final output of phase one.
    • Estimated €600-€800.

If this description is accurate, we’re ready to sign with Paula and get going.

The immediate next step is for Paula to get the land surveys and drawings she needs. I have asked her to contact Jimmy and be sure he understand just what these drawings need to be. In the past, she has seemed reluctant to approach Jimmy. I’m hoping now things will finally start to move forward.

An Update

Paula and Jimmy have talked. Jimmy will soon deliver the drawings to Paula on large sheets, as she just works on paper. not on the computer.

Landscape plan example: Copyright: toa55 / 123RF Stock Photo

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