whenever i am meeting clients for the first time, it is exciting and can be overwhelming at the same time. some clients know exactly what they want but want a professional to make it come to fruition. some clients have a bunch of ideas but not a clear or cohesive vision. this is where i come in as a designer. it is my job to marry the desires of the client(s), the budget and constraints into a master plan. still other client have no direction as to what it is they want other than to make it look pretty or to function a certain way. i have a few suggestions for those of you that are having a hard go of it in figuring out what is the best fit for you, your space and your lifestyle.
start a journal of the things listed below.
first i would suggest looking in your own neighborhood or city for things you like and just as important the things you don’t. chances are if it grows for your neighbor it will grow for you. start noticing types of materials that you enjoy and why you enjoy them. for example if you like a retention wall, what is it about this wall that you like…is it the color, the texture, the shape, the height or its function. really start to notice and take in your surroundings. if nothing strikes your fancy in your neighborhood start to venture out to other neighborhoods or places.
the denver botanic gardens are a great place to go if you want to capture ideas that work great for this climate. if you aren’t in denver then visit your local garden(s) or conservatory. again take note of what it is you like or dislike and why or the feeling it evokes for you. get up close and personal to the elements and touch and smell them if you can. really start to experience the landscape and take it all in. remember that you want your space to reflect you and your lifestyle.
if sightseeing and sauntering through your neighborhood or city is not your thing, then try the internet or magazines. there are tons of home, gardening and lifestyle magazines to sort through. go to your local book store, grab a beverage and start flipping through pages. if you don’t want to purchase dozens of magazines, write down the name and page number and take a photo of the design. again note what you like/dislike and why. same with the internet, start capturing images or book marking pages you like.
take special note on seasonality if you live in a climate with distinct seasonal changes. what might look great in the spring might not be your cup of tea during other seasons. while not everything looks great all year long, multi season appeal is not that difficult to achieve.
you will be glad you kept the journal when you sit down with your designer, trust me. this will save you time, energy, money and a few headaches in the end. you don’t have to know exactly what you want or how to get there, that is why you are looking for a professional after all. for those of you that are having some anxiety, a little direction will go a long way in facilitating this process and easing your mind.
photo courtesy of the Denver Botanic Gardens