Budgeting is the next part of the design/build process and is the most important part of any design. Money is not a very popular dinner-time conversation. But providing some insight into how much you are willing to spend allows us to be much more efficient. And you guessed it… saving time saves you money! If a client can give us a budget range, we are better prepared to present you with a design that is within those parameters. If we do not receive a budget we have to go off of our gut instinct. This works on occasion but isn’t always 100% on point. If our educated guess is off that means more hours at the drawing board, which unfortunately increases design costs.
Budgeting is the most challenging part of the entire landscape design process. But it is a process. By working together, client and designer, we can achieve a successful meeting of the minds and wallet. How does one design a project to meet all the goals, include all of the wish list features, have the desired feel, include all of the desired materials, and still fall within budget? This is a process known as re-engineering. Thankfully, that is something we are quite good at. Basically, it entails making adjustments with materials, prioritizing the wish list features, or the size of those features to get the costs where they need to be. We typically present which features we consider to be essential to the project and which features can be considered “options”. We present the estimated budget like this so clients have time to think about what they consider to be essential vs optional. Sometimes we disagree and need to adjust priorities.
We also have the option to phase-in certain projects, meaning the master plan can be broken up and installed into two or more sections over time. This may prolong the ultimate completion of the project but it can allow the client to achieve their full wish list. It can reduce the immediate outlay of funds though it can, depending upon the project, increase the ultimate cost of construction.
COVID-19 Effects Supply & Demand
The landscape project budget is another victim of COVID-19. It is undeniable that cost estimates have risen in accordance with our supplier’s and sub-contractor’s price changes. In some isolated cases, material costs have increased by over 25%. The main cause of this is manufacturing production decreases with offsetting spikes in demand. In addition to raw materials, some contractors adjusted their installation costs to keep up with demand. At Redbud, we adjusted we our design and budgeting process to accommodate the current state of affairs, mainly via material substitutions. We are hopeful that this situation will stabilize in the coming months.
Our ability to assess the vision of the client and procure the available materials that meet both the budgetary and stylistic requirements make us a distinctly valuable design team. We can save time, save money, and help bring your vision to life without breaking the bank.
Stay tuned for the next post on 3D renderings…