Having an EYE for what you cannot yet see is a skill many do not have.
Visualizing the final design is not something everyone can do. The ability to know what is going to work, and more importantly, what is not going to work is something most do not have. Clients cannot visually see or appreciate what the end result will look like. Here at Artistic Stoneworks, we offer 3D renderings to our clients that were not given that gift of sight. By offering this complimentary service, we are able to reduce some of the anxiety associated with committing financially to the unknown. However, that is but one step, of many, that must be taken to ensure a great outdoor design.
There are so many choices in outdoor living design, how does one choose?
Deciding what hardscape design is best for a home, boils down to personal taste and the desired use of space. Oftentimes, we find that our proposed design is not what our client wants, but more what we as hardscape designers think is best. As masonry experts, it is more important to understand the structural integrity over aesthetics. Meaning, your client may want their own signature style – and it may go against every design rule in the book. Listen to your client and be flexible enough to create something original that blends well with the property. Most important – always place the structural integrity above all.
Designing and visualizing includes asking the right questions before you start creating.
During your preliminary meeting with your new client, you will want to cover some of the following questions when presenting an outdoor design concept
What is your intended use of the outdoor space?
It is important to discuss the intended use of the space so that you will be able to ascertain the types of materials and the square footage that will be required to achieve the intended goal. If the goal is to achieve a secondary outdoor kitchen with protected seating for outdoor dining, that will add the costs of quality outdoor stainless steel appliances. How many people will be using the space? This too is crucial in order to allocate the proper amount of space for a certain number of bodies. At Artistic Stoneworks, we like to cover intended use first as it will segway into the second and equally important topic of cost.
2. What is your budget?
This should be covered on the forefront of your discussion so that ideas are not presented that may entice the client, but they soon discover they cannot afford. This sets a bad tone from the start. Instead, revisit the items covered during your ‘intended use discussion’ so that a real understanding of the size of the project in terms of square footage and types of materials required to achieve their goal can be reiterated to the client.
3. What do you like?
Use this opportunity of a discovery meeting to learn your client’s taste and style. Customers will always appreciate that they are being heard. Pay attention to the small details they provide when discussing things they like, such as muted colors, smooth edges, and natural accents. Incorporate all these elements into your proposal to show that their desired space will be exactly as they envisioned.
4. What don’t you like?
You do not necessarily have to ask the question – however, it would be wise to inquire what is absolutely not to be incorporated into the design. It would also be a wise choice to avoid a modern, all white, sharp-edge with steel accents design for the “what do you like” described above.
Gone are the days of walkways, patios, and concrete walls.
The masonry installations today are much different then what they used to be. Historically, hardscape work was performed according to the project. A stone wall, a concrete wall, or a brick wall. With the emergence of software programs that allow stoneworkers to design an intricate end project – consisting of patterned pavers, curving and textured walls, with a boulder accent featuring an illuminated built-in light fixture.
Narrow down to simple do’s and don’ts when coming up with an outdoor design.
- Do not just use concrete for everything – even if you are using different coloring/shades. Instead, mix concrete with other products. A concrete segmented path with stone border and inlays will add just enough of a natural product to enhance the concrete work.
- Do not use more than three types of product in one area. For example, if you are using granite countertops with slate stone for the kitchen area, do not add a brick design patio – but instead a stone flooring that will complement the kitchen area.
- Do add more hardscape products to your design to blend the nest of both the masonry and landscape world for that perfectly balanced design.
At Artistic Stoneworks we ask the four questions and follow the aforementioned design dos and don’ts when we embark on a hardscape design project. We have found using these basic principles have proven beneficial for securing satisfied customers and ongoing referrals. We hope they can provide the same for you!