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Frequently Asked Questions

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What does “Verdance” mean?
How much do you cost?
What is your style?
How much should I spend on new landscaping?
How soon can my new garden be installed?
Can you recommend a good landscape contractor?
Do you install your own work?
Are you a landscape architect?
Will I get a big, colorful plan like the ones I see on that TV show?
What size properties do you work with?
I already know what I want; why do I need a designer?
Why don't you have my question listed here?

 

What does “Verdance” mean?

It probably means “green-ness”… or it may very well be a made-up word. For us and our clients, though, it's a blending of the Latin “verde” (green) and the German “danz” (dance) — the joy that a well-designed garden brings you every single day.

How much do you cost?

For most projects, Verdance charges a flat fee that encompasses all aspects of the design process including all research and site analysis, travel and meeting time, preliminary designs and design development, and final implementation plans. Our initial consultation provides design options, information and resources for $200/hour. Additional services, such as sourcing materials or monitoring their installation, are available at the rate of $200/hour plus expenses. Total fees will vary by the scope of the project, so please contact us to learn what we might charge to create a one-of-a-kind design for you.back to top

What is your style?

The style of any garden ultimately should draw on the architecture of the home and the lifestyle of the homeowner. Verdance generally bridges classical and contemporary influences with designs that convey a sense of order yet remain true to the organic — even chaotic — nature of a living system. We are proficient with low-maintenance landscapes, respecting that you probably have neither unlimited time to spend maintaining your garden nor unlimited money to spend on gardening services. And we do recommend environmentally responsible designs and practices whenever feasible, believing that each of us plays a part in preserving our one and only planet. Ultimately, our goal is to create a garden that brings you joy every day… whatever that means to you.back to top

How much should I spend on new landscaping?

One of the most difficult aspects of improving your home is knowing how much to spend on the improvement. Because attractive landscaping will increase your home's resale potential — and an efficient design will save you both water and energy costs — some sources recommend investing 10% of your home's present value on landscaping. But the fact is that a good landscape designer can help you achieve significant improvements on virtually any size budget: the important thing is to know ahead of time what that budget is, then design for that amount. Otherwise — if you first commission a design and then ask, “How much is this going to cost?” — you will waste money on a plan you cannot afford to implement. Verdance strongly recommends that you know ahead of time how much you can invest in your property; we then can create a realistic design that fulfills as many of your interests as possible within that budget, and even guide you on how you might implement your new landscape in phases to stretch your budget over time.back to top

How soon can my new garden be installed?

The design process usually lasts from two to four months. Because good landscape contractors may be booked for months beyond that, Verdance recommends you begin interviewing contractors as soon as you approve the preliminary design. You then can be “on the docket” by the time the planting plans are complete, and ready to begin installation shortly thereafter. If you would like us to recommend a good landscape contractor…back to top

Can you recommend a good landscape contractor?

Why, yes! As an associate member of the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA), Verdance regularly works with the best in the business. Furthermore, we can help you find a contractor who specializes in aspects of construction specific to your garden — water features, for instance — and even guide you on hiring a licensed landscape contractor. Contact us if you would like recommendations of licensed contractors who might be right for you.back to top

Do you install your own work?

Verdance is a design-only firm, not a licensed contractor, which means you are free to have your new landscape installed by any contractor you choose (or install it yourself, if you prefer). Although there are excellent design/build firms out there, Verdance usually recommends keeping the two disciplines separate to enjoy the best of both worlds: landscape plans from an expert designer who has no interest in profiting on construction costs, built by an expert contractor whose fees don't need to support a design staff. If you would like help finding good contractors (or, for that matter, design/build firms), please let us know — we are an associate member of the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA), and we'll assist you however we can.back to top

Are you a landscape architect?

Although our principal is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), we do not hold a license to practice landscape architecture. If your landscape plans require construction documents, structural specifications and/or grading or drainage plans, we recommend beginning with a licensed landscape architect, and we can suggest several excellent ones throughout the Bay Area. Alternatively, you might find it cost-effective to retain a licensed contractor, land surveyor, or professional engineer to work alongside Verdance throughout the design development process and supplement our expertise with their specialty. If you have questions about what services your property may require, please contact us for your initial consultation.back to top

Will I get a big, colorful plan like the ones I see on that TV show?

Yes, you will. Those big, colorful plans are preliminary designs, illustrating the landscape's style and features in general terms, often accompanied by photographs and/or samples of plants, structures, or other materials. Preliminaries such as these are the best way for a designer to convey our vision to the homeowner, and they are a necessary step toward a beautiful new garden. Verdance takes pride in creating preliminary designs that are as attractive as they are informative; and you'll be happy to know we don't bring a camera crew to our meetings.back to top

What size properties do you work with?

Verdance works only with single-family residences in the San Francisco Bay Area. Although we do have a minimum fee, the nature of a project generally is more important to us than its size. We have created designs ranging from a partial backyard to more than one acre; but most importantly, we are interested in working with enjoyable people to develop uniquely fulfilling environments. If that sounds like you, please tell us more about yourself and your site.back to top

I already know what I want; why do I need a designer?

Having a good sense of what you want from your new landscape is one of the most important things you can bring to your landscape designer. Beyond that, the professional designer's training and experience will allow us to know how your interests can be implemented within the specifics of your site — its environment, architecture, strengths and challenges. The landscape designer is also familiar with municipal ordinances that may affect your plans, and can coordinate other professionals such as surveyors or contractors as needed. If you are interested in purchasing new furniture or accessories, designers (including Verdance) may be able to purchase items for you below normal retail price. Verdance also provides our clients with free information on topics related to garden design and gardening, and can provide a guide for the care of every plant on your property as well to ensure that your new landscape looks its best season after season, year after year. Most importantly, though, the landscape designer provides you with a comprehensive master plan that can guide the installation of your new landscape, all at once or over time, ensuring that the entire property works as a cohesive whole. In short, the professional landscape designer's expertise ensures that the vision you have in your head actually comes to life and thrives in your garden.back to top

Why don't you have my question listed here?

That may be because you haven't asked it yet. Please contact us with anything that's on your mind… we would love to hear from you.

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