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nickmoore design

Make the most of your design

I’ve said to prospective client’s, only half jokingly, that the most valuable thing I can give them is the name of  a good landscape contractor. One of the biggest challenges we face in residential landscape design is not having the time/budget allowed to document projects properly. If someone has a construction budget of $50,000 they can be reluctant to spend more than $5000 on design and documentation which limits the scope of what we can do and this is where a good landscape contractor comes in.

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Good things take time

I had a recent enquiry from a woman who told me a tale of woe about wasting over $30,000 with a contractor. Apparently they had started constructing a landscape with no plan so not surprisingly she  was not happy with the final result. So wanting to do it right this time she decided to invest in a planned design before proceeding to build anything more. Based on the fact she had a property in a remote location but worked locally I suggested we catch up for a chat just to work out what her priorities were so we might put together a proposal that best met them which she readily agreed to. I tried over a couple of weeks to make a time to meet up with no luck but on my third call I was told to forget it as they’d got someone on site to start work because ‘we can’t be bothered wasting time meeting up with someone’. Now this was fine by me because there was clearly a disconnect on priorities (and it doesn’t take Columbo to figure out where they’ll end up in a few months ) but it does raise a question. Why do so many people react this way when met with the suggestion that it is going to take some time to work out a plan before building can commence, because it happens a lot.

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Whats the Point?

At the risk of sounding precious one of the biggest challenges we face is trying to explain the value of design to potential clients. While it used to drive me nuts meeting with people looking to spend substantial amounts to create something which had never been built before who could not see the value in spending a small percentage of that budget on planning, now it doesn’t worry me (as much as it did). We explain the value of design and then they either agree or they don’t, I don’t see our job to change people’s attitudes but to do our best work for those who value what we do.


 

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Sculpture in Landscape Design

We’re half way through the construction of a courtyard in which will feature a piece of sculpture by the artist Nicholas Uhlmann (piece pictured below). I’ve been trying to get one of his pieces into a design for quite a while now so really looking forward to seeing it in place. Sculpture in landscape design is hardly a new concept but its not one that a majority of clients embrace readily despite the benefits on offer. A good piece of sculpture ( and by good I mean one that has a noticeable and positive effect on you personally) can absolutely transform a very ordinary space, give it a sense of purpose and give you a reason to be there. So why the hard sell?


First and foremost, like a lot of things these days the first hurdle to get past is price. And good sculpture is not cheap (bad sculpture is though). And the thing is not a lot of people are ‘into it’. The joke is that sculpture is what you walk past on your way to see the real art in a gallery. The thing with sculpture is that it can take a bit more work to ‘get’ so to speak so very often its not given a proper chance. I’d argue that anyone who says they are not into sculpture just hasn’t been exposed to the right piece. The second challenge might be perceived ignorance. So someone might like the idea of including a piece of sculpture in their work and be willing to invest but not have the confidence to choose something for fear of looking ignorant. Again I think its a matter of just finding the right piece, try a bit of ‘seek and you will find’ and you’ll know when you find it. Good sculpture (and art) affects you in ways that are hard to ignore. Granted its not for everyone but if you appreciate good landscape design I’d suggest there is a good chance it is for you.

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Photo: Stephen Newton

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