5 Tips For a Successful Landscape Design Consultation in Montana

Written By: Mason Shaffer

Feb 16, 2021 9:00:47 AM

When it comes to having your dream outdoor living space designed and built, the landscape design consultation is an essential part of the process. It’s where your ideas, including both your wants and your needs, will be discussed so that the ideal living area can be created just for you.

Of course, you want to be sure that you get the most out of that meeting. Because of that, you might be wondering how to prepare for your landscape design consultation in Montana. What can you think about ahead of time? And, what can you be sure that you ask when you meet with your landscape designer.

We understand how important it is to you that you feel fully prepared. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of our best landscape design consultation tips.

1. Plan for Your Landscape Design Consultation by Considering How the Space Will Be Used

First and foremost, you should plan for your landscape design consultation by spending time thinking about how you plan to use your outdoor space once it’s completed. Everything from the number of people that you intend to have in the space to how you plan to spend your time there will make a difference in the way it’s designed.Customers enjoying fire pit and patio entertainment area
Here are just some questions to get you started.

  • What is the purpose of this space? (For example, is it primarily for relaxing or for entertaining—or maybe both).
  • How many people does this space need to be able to accommodate?
  • What types of amenities do I envision in this space? What outdoor living features will help me spend the most time outside?

The more you can think about your space in advance, the more prepared you’ll be to answer your landscape designer’s questions and provide him or her with important information.

2. Think About Features and Plant Material

To expand upon the landscape design consultation tip above, one of the very important aspects of your landscape design to consider is the features/amenities and the plant material that can help make the space more aesthetically beautiful as well as enjoyable. The truth is these elements are more than the “finishing touch.” They’re the type of features that either make you want to spend time in your space, or not.

Use This Worksheet to Plan Out Your Landscape Design
Water feature and paver patio
Just some of the features that might be added to an outdoor living area to make it more beautiful and usable include the following.

Along with that, you might also consider whether you have a vested interest in any plant material. Are there plants that you love or that you hate? These are important elements to talk about during the landscape design consultation. You want to be happy with every element of the landscape design when it’s completed and that includes specific plants if you have ones that matter to you.

Sometimes, homeowners don’t have specific plants that they love or hate but they do have general ideas. For instance, there might be colors that they really like. Or, perhaps they love the idea of an edible landscape.
Perennial plant selection for your yard
Here in Bozeman and Big Sky, Montana, we also have the incredible opportunity to attract wildlife for viewing. For this reason, many homeowners are interested in plants that attract birds.

3. Consider What Style Best Suits Your Interests

Style matters for the outside of your home as much as it matters inside. When planning for furniture or other elements for your home’s interior, you probably spent some time thinking about what “suits your style.” Well, the same should happen as you plan for your exterior.

Are you someone who prefers a more modern or contemporary look or do you love a natural, free-flowing design? For a lot of homes in Montana, the latter is more likely, but that’s not to say that there aren't still ways to incorporate some contemporary styles.

It’s not uncommon for people to say they don’t have style preferences, but these often emerge once a design consultation is underway.
Contemporary style house and landscape
Oftentimes, it can help to browse magazines or look online for ideas. In fact, if we work with a client who likes to use an online “board” like Pinterest to pin ideas, that can be really helpful in beginning to separate out the design features that you like (and, just as important, what you don’t like).

Even if you save ideas that are quite different, we often find that homeowners might like one element from one design and another from a different design. Pulling these all together in a space of your own will make it truly unique. As a landscape design professional, it’s our job to take your ideas and help make them “work” within your specific property.

4. Plan for Your Landscape Design Consultation by Thinking about Budget

Budget is an important factor of any landscape design project. The extent of what we can achieve must be defined by your specific budget configurations. The fact is, no matter how big or small, everyone has a budget.

We understand that homeowners don’t always like talking about budget upfront and at a landscape design consultation meeting it might feel too early. Sometimes homeowners will tell us they don’t have a budget yet because they just want to know what things cost.

But the truth is, this really hinders the design process.

A big part of the landscape design process is helping you make decisions that will allow you to achieve your dream space within the confines of what your budget is. For instance, we can make changes to the materials we use or perhaps adjust the size of some hardscaping to help you incorporate some of the elements that you want but at a price that is within your plans.

By holding back from your budget, you might end up with a design that’s just not feasible. Ultimately, that’s just going to waste your time and cause unnecessary frustration.Fire pit and patio paver entertaining area

5. Be Prepared to Ask Your Landscape Designer Questions

Finally, you should also be prepared to ask your landscape designer some questions. This will help you determine whether you’re making the best choice in landscape design/build companies.

Here are a few questions that we suggest you ask in order to get a very clear picture of what you can expect.

How Do You Stand Behind Your Work?

You want to feel comfortable that whatever company you hire is going to be able to stand behind the work that they complete. Here are a few questions to dig deeper.

  • Do you offer a warranty?
  • How will you handle it if something goes wrong?
  • How long will I have to wait to get a resolution?

You want to choose a landscape company that you know is going to prioritize your needs should an issue arise.

Can You Design AND Build My Project?

Sometimes there are design-only companies and construction-only companies. But when you work with a company that only does design work (and then have to hire another company to build it), there can be a disconnect. The same is true if you hire a company that only does construction.

Can You Maintain My Finished Project?

On the same token, it really helps to hire a design/build company that can naturally transition into caring for the property, too. After all, nobody knows the space better than the professionals who designed it. But some companies are design/build only while others are maintenance only.

Making the Best Choice in Landscape Designers

Getting the process started on your outdoor living area is an exciting endeavor. And if you put in some time and plan for your landscape design consultation, it will go as smoothly as possible. You’ll also be able to get the most out of that meeting.

Whether it’s something that you’ve been thinking about for a long time or it’s a relatively new idea, you are now taking a step closer to making that dream a reality.

The key, of course, will be to choose a landscape company that is up to the task. Your wise choice in landscape design/build companies will make a huge difference in the success of your finished design.
Customers enjoying patio and Montana backyard
At Blanchford Landscape Group, we are committed to offering our clients the best. This includes a comprehensive design process so that even the smallest details are accounted for. By making sure that every single detail is considered on the front-end, you can feel confident that your project will come together exactly as you wish. That means spending more time outside and truly enjoying it to the fullest.

In the end, your decision in choosing the best landscape designer will help put you on the right track to your dreams coming true.

Are you ready to get the process of designing your outdoor living area started at your Bozeman, Big Sky, MT, or surrounding area home? Let’s connect and talk about your project. Then, we can meet and begin talking about your ideas! We can’t wait for you to be able to enjoy your amazing space.

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Topics: Landscape Design, Hardscaping

Posted by Mason Shaffer

Mason has earned both a degree in Ornamental Horticulture and a graduate degree in Landscape Architecture prior to joining our team in 2011. Outside of work, you will find Mason spending quality time with his wife and two little girls. They will likely be exploring the outdoors, camping, fishing, golfing, planting, or just playing in the dirt.