Design Process

Leo Martin – Orange County Landscape Architect Design Process

How Do We Work?

I read “Good design doesn’t just happen” from an Orange County Landscape Architect design website and it is sooo true! There are several important steps to achieving a great design and one of the most important steps is the very first one.

Initial meeting:

Landscape Question

During the first meeting, we will ask several important questions that will help us visualize your dream landscape. You may not even know what you ultimately want, but during this interview, your answers to our questions will reveal the vision you have for your property.

Most of our clients use pictures and notes from magazines, or photos of landscape elements they’ve seen around town to help them explain what they’re looking for. Even if you don’t know the exact details, you should know if you want an outdoor entertainment center, a pool, fireplace, stone walk etc. Regardless, we will assist and inspire you in “fleshing out” your creative vision.

Site plan preparation:

An accurate site plan is a crucial part of the project. If you do not have a site plan from previous professional landscaping or architectural services performed on your property, you will need to obtain one from a licensed civil engineer or an “As Built” measurement company. We can also prepare one for you.

Concept plan:
concept-planDuring this phase, we layout all of the “wish-list” items that were discussed during our preliminary meeting onto a colored concept plan. We may also use one or all of the following tools; rough concept sketches, Photoshop illustrations or elevation drawings to help illustrate to you how these all fit together and how they will look upon completion. At this point, we can refine or change this concept drawing to better meet your vision of how your garden will complement your home.


Construction Drawings vs. Preliminary Landscape plans:

Construction drawings detail the individual elements of the project on multiple sheets, where each sheet represents a specific element or phase of the project.. These sets of drawings often include the following:

  • Construction plan – Consists of hardscape layout with dimensions, radius and materials to be used
  • Drainage plan – Consists of drain inlet locations, surface water directional flow and materials to be used
  • Construction details – Consists of details on how to build landscape elements and what the finish elements are to be used
  • Irrigation plan – Consists of sprinkler and valve type and manufacturer, sprinkler and valve layout, considers available water pressure for proper water distribution, materials to be used.
  • Planting – Consists of plant location, type of plants, size of plant container to be installed, soil amending, fertilizer etc.
  • Lighting – Consists of  lighting fixture type and manufacturer, layout, materials to be used.
  • Utility Plan – Consists of all gas, water, electrical and sewer connections
  • Engineering – If engineering is required, it will be coordinated by the Landscape Architect as an additional service.

The construction drawing are detailed and comprehensive to insure the individual contractors who are responsible for each separate part of your project, including…masons, pool builders, and landscapers, construct the project exactly as you envisioned it during our preliminary meeting.

Preliminary Landscape Plans work best for smaller jobs, such as a front yard or if only a single area of property is involved, or for projects on tight budgetary constraints.


Construction Management is a service we provide that will assist you in selecting a construction team from among trustworthy and capable contractors we have worked with in the past. We will review the contracts, determine the construction schedule, review payment requests, and provide general construction oversight during the entire process. Careful review of the project installation and timely communication between clients and contractors will ensure that your garden design is built true to plan and to the highest standards.

Note: this option is not available if the owner selects contractors other than those we have worked with in the past. Fee is a percentage of the construction budget.

Construction Oversight is available in lieu of Construction Management. We are available on an as needed basis, to answer questions from the owners and contractors, and are available for

critical onsite inspections such as; hard-scape layout review, specimen tree selection, and plant layout. This service is based on an hourly fee.

Call today for a free consultation 949-5476605 or email me at

Take care!!