Our Process

While all projects are unique, and require a degree of customization, the following phases comprise the typical process we employ:

  • Project Programming, Inventory and Analysis
  • Conceptual Design
  • Design Development
  • Construction Documenting
  • Construction Administration

Project Programming, Inventory and Analysis

In this phase we lay out the practical groundwork for the entire project and all corresponding design work.  We will ask for a topographic survey/ base map from which we can accurately work.  A survey is crucial to determining location of utilities, existing trees, plantings, and structures likely to be affected by construction.  Additionally it presents information about grading, critical to developing appropriate ideas regarding steps, retaining walls and terraces.  If you do not have an existing conditions survey for your site we can provide that service through one of our trusted consultants. Survey in hand, we visit the site to conduct a thorough analysis.  We study and photograph all existing natural features (land forms, drainage ways, vegetation, climate, and geology), inherent site qualities (views, orientation, aesthetic character), and man made elements (roads, buildings, bridges, etc.) that influence the future design and placement of landscape elements within the project. Through subsequent discussions with you, we develop the program, or your list of desired uses and improvements for your property.  Some examples might include roads, paths, terraces, retaining walls, special garden areas or particular specimen plants, fences, fountains, a swimming pool, tennis court, etc.

Conceptual Design/ Preliminary Budgeting

During this phase of the process, we explore preliminary design ideas and the best ways to fit the project program elements on the site.  This phase is typically our most intensely creative period as we develop the initial concepts that will guide the project forward.  At the end of this phase we will present a conceptual master plan to you, demonstrating all the site elements; their sizes, shapes, and essential character. Additionally we will use our 3-Dimensional rendering software to give you a real-world view of what the project will look like.  We will highlight important features of the design and can provide a “fly through” of the site. Developing a realistic construction budget is critical to the completion of any project.  During the concept design phase we will work with you to establish your budgetary goals.  We will present an ‘Opinion of Probable Construction Costs,’ to you during the concept presentation to assure that our design aligns with the project budget.

Design Development

This phase is devoted to refinement of original ideas, based on our collaborative conversation during the conceptual presentation.  We explore exact dimensions, materials, and details of site improvements.  Some redesign can be involved, as we clarify new program requirements and explore various material options.  With your authorization, we may engage consultants to engineer or design some specific components of the design. These components might include retaining walls, ponds, site utilities, lighting and irrigation. During this phase we will show you a variety of sketches and drawings, including elevations, sections and details as needed.  We will provide material samples, proposed plant palettes, and specific design details for each area.  This phase culminates with a final design and cost estimate for your concentrated review. The number and type of drawings, renderings, or models created, the scope of work, and the decision-making process are all factors influencing this stage.  Changes to the design after this phase may lead to greater construction costs and may significantly delay project completion.

Construction Documenting

Construction documenting consists of detailed plans for layout, grading, materials, finishes, appearances, and planting as well as construction details and specifications.  These documents take the design drawings to date and translate to the contractor what the project requires to be built as it has been conceived.  The document set forms the basis of a fair and equal price comparison when submitted to selected contractors for competitive bidding.

Unless you have a contractor on board already, we will assist you in determining the most suitable contractor for your landscape construction project.

Construction Administration/ Project Management

The final phase of the design process is when the intent of the final design is carried out.  We bring years of experience and expertise in discerning quality craftsman, anticipating and minimizing trouble spots, and understanding the optimum sequencing of events to guide a smooth and timely construction phase.  During this final phase of the design, we serve as your representative, assuring that the design we collectively created is properly installed.

We look forward to the opportunity of guiding you through our creative process!


Get In Touch

311 Kast Hill Road
Hopkinton NH 03229
Tel: (603) 746-3512

“Eric Buck with Terrain Planning is the most professional, versed, and creative architect that I have worked with in 30 years in the industry.”
ROB KEIM Keim Landscape Consulting
“Terrain planning and design have done several design projects for me. One of the few landscape design companies that will design and over see the project till the finish. Great company.”
Bryan Fournier Bryan Fournier Landscape & Irrigation
“We hired Eric from Terrain Planning to redesign the courtyard of our reproduction home in Henniker NH. The plans we received were absolutely top notch and beautiful.”
Russell Mann Henniker, New Hampshire

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