biography



CONSULTING:

Whether you need design solutions for the pots on your patio near the beach, your condo balcony, or simply some new curb appeal for your home, we can help. An hour or two of consulting and a few ideas and sketches can transform your ordinary outdoor space into an extraordinary place for you to enjoy the summer sunshine. Here are some other ways that a consultation can help you…
  • Your rental property needs some curb appeal
  • Your are selling your house and the current landscaping needs some help
  • The entrance to your home office needs a new look
  • Your beach home needs a few new pots on the patio
  • Your courtyard needs a fountain
  • Your family needs a shade tree in the back yard
  • You have always wanted a rose garden or a lemon tree and don’t know where to plant them

FULL DESIGN SERVICES:

For larger projects, Houghton Design Group offers full design services. These services include: Conceptual Design, Agency Processing, Construction Documents, Bidding Assistance, Construction Administration, and Post Construction Evaluation.

DESIGN PHASES CHRONOLOGY:

The design process is complex and unique to each project and client. Although smaller projects such as front yard makeovers may only require a consultation visit and a few ideas and sketches, the following schedule represents a typical step-by-step chronology for most residential projects.

Step 1: Getting Started

Prior to our initial meeting I will encourage you to develop a family wish list for your landscape project and collect photos from magazines and garden books that show examples of landscape design styles that excite or intrigue you. Start a file of gardens, shrubs, trees, roses, perennials, pools, decks, fences, patios, stonewalls, etc., that you like—or dislike. This will help you communicate what you want to achieve—or avoid.

Step 2: Initial Meeting

Once we meet together at your home I will review your collection of inspirational photos and we can begin the collaborative design process. We will talk about your family’s lifestyle and how you envision using your outdoor space. Does your family envision a special place for entertaining beneath a vine-clad arbor? Does your family covet an outdoor fireplace, a children’s playground or a pool? Or, does your existing landscape simply need a facelift? This information gathering will help develop the Conceptual plan.

It is very important at this point to make a realistic budget. One rule of thumb is to invest 5 to 10 percent of your house’s worth. If your project is extensive, consider amortizing your project over several years as your time and budget allows.

Step 3: Conceptual Design Phase

At this point in the design process I take the list of design elements and conduct a thorough site analysis of how your home relates to the site, and its surroundings. Local codes are reviewed and once the constraints and opportunities have been determined, the Conceptual Design Phase begins. Depending on the project, I typically use drawing techniques such as colored sketches on trace paper that show plan views, sections and elevations that support the overall design and detail sketches that show the custom workmanship of the proposed landscape or structures. I also offer Photoshop images of the proposed design. All of these graphics are intended to help the client visualize the completed proposed project before the construction begins. Typically, two design options are offered.

Step 4: Construction Documents

Once the Conceptual Design has been approved by the client, Houghton Design Group will produce all the necessary CAD Construction Documents that are typically required for permits and for contractors use to bid and build your project. These documents typically include:
  • Cover Sheet
  • Demolition Plan
  • Grading & Drainage Plan
  • Construction Plan
  • Construction Details and Specifications
  • Irrigation Plan
  • Irrigation Details and Specifications
  • Planting Plan
  • Planting Details and Specifications
  • Lighting Schematic

Step 5: Project Construction

The following two service options are available for clients during the landscape construction process:

Project Management
In this option, Houghton Design Group, LLC will assist in selecting a construction team from professional contractors that we have worked with in the past. We can help review the contractor’s contracts, determine a realistic construction schedule, review payment requests, and provide general construction oversight during the entire construction process.

This option requires extensive reviews of the project construction. An open and professional communication between clients and contractors will help ensure that your garden design is built true to plan and to the highest standards. Fee is a percent of the construction budget.

Construction Oversight
In this option, Houghton Design Group, LLC will be available as needed for questions from the owners and contractors, and be available for critical intervals such as layout review, and plant and tree selection. Fee is hourly.