I was recently asked to contribute to an article querying what would be the most important advice I would give new, novice landscape designers. It is a tough question, because there are so, so many tidbits of imformation to succeeded in landscape design. But success won't happen at all unless the designer knows how to work with clients: developing a relationship and finding out what their clients want, then building the design around those ideas. The designer is only as good as his or her clients, and I consider myself truly fortunate to continally work with terrific homeowners. Maybe its the San Diego sunshine, but my clients are simply the best.
See the full posting below:
Steve Harbour, Owner at Steve Harbour Landscapes“The unique advice I give to budding designers does not pertain to learning the nuts and bolts of actual design concepts and drafting at all. This should be more than apparent; anyone learning this profession needs as much education and experience they can obtain to become proficient at landscape design. I believe one essential aspect that turns a good designer into a great designer – not taught in classrooms — is the art of working with each client, not assuming to know what they want, or worse, deciding what they need without their input. The designer needs to take the proper time to really get to know clients, listening to them, and work jointly together throughout the design process.”
“Each design is a collaborative effort. The process begins with lots of questions: welcoming questions the clients have (and they will have plenty) as well as asking a slew of questions to draw them out and learn what they really want to accomplish. I was originally trained as a newspaper journalist, so the ability to ask questions has become second nature, yet I still like to work from a list of set questions and then ask any other questions specific to the project that may seem pertinent. I also welcome any pictures or sketches they have saved that show landscapes they like, and then ask what it is they like about them.
Lastly, it is helpful to get to know each other on a personal level, which brings a comfort level to each unique job. I have gone to dinner, to concerts, and to parties at my clients’ houses, staying in touch for years after the project is completed which, as a bonus, allows me to see my design work as the landscape matures. There is no such thing, in journalism or in design work, as gaining too much information.”