The ALD Difference:
There are a lot of landscape designers out there, and many of them are going to tell you the same thing. The buzzwords "relaxing" and "beautiful" and even "natural" are thrown out far too much. Great design is far more than putting a few pretty plants together (want an example of bad gardening? Click here). This is an example of the quality work you can expect from Ashcrow Landscape Design.
ALD starts out by getting to know the site itself. I measure the site, investigate the surrounding architecture, and points of view of the surrounding area. I test the soil for fertility, and investigate drainage to see how the site handles storm waters. I get to know my client's needs and desires, and how they want to use their space. I divide the space into categories, the two main being "Functional" and "Decorative". For larger jobs I'll hire a survey team to get proper elevations, very important for all work!
Being able to get around your yard is important. A good plan will have areas for furniture, places for entertaining, and spaces for quite repose. Engineering elements such as retaining walls, and architectural additions such as columns and patios are also planned in this phase. These areas are made safe and use the same bio-mechanic engineering style found in quality architectural design. My hardscaping plans include decks, retaining walls, ponds, pools, paths, seating, and other physical features installed by subcontractors.
While our climate has little rain, the truth is rain usually comes all at once. Grade changes, drain locations, and drain pipe locations are placed here. A dry landscape can quickly be a liability if the site doesn't have proper drainage. If you have memories of your lawn flooding, your walkways need to be sandbagged, and mud in your walkway, you know of what I'm talking about. Most new construction requires adequate drainage to gain the necessary permits for new construction. While many designs will do drainage last, I like to plan drainage early, since designing for it early is far less costly than fixing problems down the line.
I won't lie, landscaping plans are the part of the design I enjoy working on the most. While all the other elements are crucial for a good design, the planting design is where the most spectacular effects can be created. For me, the land is a canvas, and the plants are my paint. Paint that grows.
Client will expect a full description and photo of plants being used, so they know what to expect. This example was used on the winning design used at Cal Poly Pomona's Farm Store.
I provide both a rendered plan for the clients and a planting plan for the landscape contractors to ensure everything gets placed in the right area.
With the drainage, hardscape, and plants all accounted for; irrigation design is quite easy to plan for. Good irrigation plans will keep your plants healthy with an easy to understand irrigation controller (I'm a big fan of the Hunter controllers). I believe in conserving water, which is vital for Southern California, and use water conservation irrigation heads (I am a fan of Rainbird) with drip systems in areas where appropriate. I like to design my systems to be cost effective, easy to install and adjust, and will last.
Landscape lighting is a vital upgrade to a landscape design project. Lighting creates space in the nighttime, making your darkened yards comfortable spaces to inhabit and walk through. Walkway lighting accents paths for safety and security, while ambient lighting floods the ground with subtle lighting that sculpts the shadows, while accent lighting highlights trees, architecture, or areas of gathering.