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“Sue is a true asset to the New England region...both as a landscape design instructor and for her book "Energy-wise Landscape Design," which should be a required text for all landscape and architecture students. Sue's approach to designing & building sustainable homes and landscapes is based in sound scientific and ecological principles, but she finds a way to present complex subject matter in a way that's easily understood and absorbed.”

StepsSusan Reed

Landscape Architecture

Designing home landscapes to be: • Ecologically rich • Comfortably livable • Energy efficient • Inviting to wildlife • Naturally beautiful.

A Typical Design Process

Overview

Planning your new landscape is a collaborative process of exploration and discovery. In this process, my job is to help you clarify your needs and wishes, provide new visions and solutions, and help reveal and enhance your property’s inherent character. Your role is to articulate your dreams, evaluate new ideas, and make decisions. The project begins with a site visit to discuss your concerns and ideas, and to explore the basic nature of your land. Input from other professionals (such as architects, builders and engineers) helps further define the parameters of the project. Work begins after we formally agree on a specific scope of service and fee. Please visit the Portfolio page to see photos of my designed landscapes and a collection of sample plans.

Mapping

Before starting to design, I create a measured map of your property, a bird’s eye view of the site, which accurately depicts the important features in the landscape. Like a measured plan of a building, this map is the basis for the development of all new design ideas and solutions. Here is a sample base map, with contour lines indicating landform:

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Site Analysis and Design Development

I then analyze all aspects of the project – your requests, the site’s conditions, constraining factors, opportunities for combining solutions, ways to save energy, etc. - and develop one or more preliminary plans that contain various design ideas and recommendations. For example, here are three design sketches for a stone terrace, swimming pool, pool patio, cabana, and related plantings, for the same house.

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Evaluating, Revising and Production of a Final Design Plan

Next, we meet to discuss the proposed ideas, and you begin the job of imagining, considering and evaluating the choices. Together we propose revisions and alterations to the initial ideas, if necessary. Finally, within a few days or weeks, you make final decisions about which options you prefer. The design phase ends when I produce a final plan, construction drawings, planting recommendations and cost estimates.

Construction and Follow-up

Following the completion of the design, I provide the additional (optional) service of coordinating the bidding process for implementation of the plan, then overseeing and guiding the construction process. To help ensure that the landscape is built according to plan, I interpret and explain the design to contractors, coordinate construction schedules, resolve unexpected dilemmas and remain available to help with any questions and concerns.