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What’s Included in a Landscape Design Fee?

It’s helpful to understand what a landscape design fee includes and the process taken to achieve the desired master landscaping plan.  For large scale design projects design is a process from concept to creation of a final plan.

Research and Preparation

  1. Client meetings—from the initial meeting to signing of the contract
  2. Preparing the base map—this includes taking accurate site measurements and transferring it to a base map of the existing site that shows existing site conditions and features of the site.
  3. Conducting a site inventory and analysis—in this step the designer catalogues and evaluates important site conditions that may influence the design. This includes: site location, character of the surrounding neighbourhood, zoning ordinances, building codes, topography, drainage, soil, vegetation, climate, utilities and views.
  4. Developing the design program—this is a list or outline of the elements and requirements that the design solution needs to incorporate.

Preliminary Design

The design process begins with a functional diagram to ensure that all required elements have been incorporated into the design and ends with an illustrative site plan for presentation to the client, which may be supplemented with sections, elevations and perspectives.

Master Plan

Only after the preliminary design has been re-designed with refinements and input from the client, can the designer create a more detailed landscape master plan that incorporates a planting plan.

Planting Plan

The planting plan shows the contractor what specific plnats are to be planted and where they are to be located.  A plant list that identifies the genus and species of plants in the design should accompany the planting plan.  The plant list normally indicates the quantity, size, condition and other important notes about each of the specified plants.

Additional to the Design Fee

In many instances, the final presentation of the Master Plan along with the Planting Plan is the end of the project for the designer.  However, it’s a good idea for clients to keep the designer involved with the installation and implementation of the design so that the intended quality is fulfilled.  Depending on the nature of the situation, the involvement may vary from occasional supervision or review of the implementation to the direct and complete control.  Whatever the role the designer plays, some involvement is better than none.

Call us at (416) 301-7281 or send me an e-mail at for a free consultation.

Sally Stanleigh

Sally Stanleigh

Sally Stanleigh, Founder of Outdoor Rooms Landscape Design is an accredited Landscape Designer and Floral Designer. She graduated with Honours in Landscape Design in 2005. Sally is passionate about creating beautiful gardens with timeless appeal and loves the challenge of transforming the most difficult spaces into beautiful ones. Sally has a sound knowledge of horticulture and Project Management. Learn more about her work at