After a client has determined their needs and desires, the next step is to discuss a budget or price range for their project. Some clients have the luxury to work through the design process without establishing a budget, because they want what they want, they have the means to achieve it, and they don’t want a budget to disrupt the design process. But for most of us, establishing a budget is a prudent course of action. Occasionally when I am designing a project, my clients are simply afraid to share their budget with me. They may be afraid that if the project doesn’t cost as much as the budget allows that I will design a plan that implements the entire budget. The reality is I will design a project that creates the best value towards the client’s lifestyle and home. This may mean investing the entire budget or possibly not. The job of a good designer, who has studied and practiced their craft, is to recommend the best solutions with the available resources to achieve the desired goals and objectives.
While it is totally understandable that a client may have no idea what a project will cost because they have not done anything like this before, it still makes sense for the client to establish the maximum cost they can afford for the project. I have presented numerous designs with proposals for installation of projects, where budget was not revealed, and have heard, “I didn’t think it would cost that much. We only wanted to spend this much.” Unfortunately, as a result of not revealing the budget, more time and money is spent on revisions. Revealing the budget would have opened up a discussion of budget analysis. If your price range is inadequate for achieving your goals, then your designer can work with you to either modify your program, or suggest materials and design strategies that might be used to achieve your goals. In this scenario, many of my clients will install their projects in phases in order to achieve their objectives. This course of action still requires budgeting and planning but it is based on what you will spend for the first phase and over time.
Look at it this way, when you purchased your home or your new car you gave the agents the amount you were able to spend. This obviously allowed them to show you what you could purchase within that range. Without this information they most likely would have wasted your time and their own showing you houses and cars that were either above or below your means. Similarly, with a price range in place for your landscape project, a good designer will be able to evaluate your needs and bring them together in a concise plan.
If you build trust with your designer, and allow them to display their talent, you are on your way to establishing a mutually beneficial relationship. The relationship, while supporting the designer, will also provide you with a purposeful plan. If the plan is competently installed, it will at its best, achieve the full potential of your objectives and add meaning and value to your home and lifestyle.