When Should I Start My Landscape Design? The Timeline of Design to Installation

March 29, 2018

Spring is here and with each flicker of sun grows the excitement to spend time outside in the garden. Spring is a time when many people start looking into their gardens and dreaming of what is to come.

Anytime of year is a good time to start planning and begin the design process but as with any process it takes time. It may be disappointing to hear that starting a design now will likely mean you will not be able to enjoy the final installation until fall or winter…But trust me, it will be worth the wait!

Bluestone Flagstone Patio and Crushed Stone Pathways and Fire Pit Seating Area

Typical timeline:

Start: Consult & site measurements

2-3 weeks⇒ Concept review meeting

Bothell Residence Concepts

Bothell Residence Concept Designs

1-2 weeks⇒ feedback and revisions

1-2 weeks⇒ revisions returned and approved

2-3 weeks⇒ final plan and planting plan review meeting.

Bothell Residence Final Layout and Planting Plan

Bothell Residence Final Layout and Planting Plan

That is 6-10 weeks with the average being 8-10 weeks.

Once the design is complete the timeline is dependent on the schedules of contractors. Soliciting bids and finalizing scope is very project dependent but typically takes a minimum of 3-4 weeks, longer for large or complicated projects.

After finalizing scope and signing a contract with the contractor they will typically have other projects they are working on so most likely they will not be able to start right away. Depending on the time of year and workload, this lead time can be anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months.

Once they break ground, the timeline for completing the project will be based on size, complexity, subcontractors, and weather. A typical average suburban back yard is 4-8 weeks. We do live in the northwest which means that rain can slow projects down as well as snow and freezing temperatures, but construction efforts continue year-round.

Patio Installation Getting Underway

Patio Installation Getting Underway

All said and done, if you are dreaming of a garden renovation now it would be wise to plan for 6-10 weeks for the design process and an additional 2-4 months for bidding and installation.

You can use this general timeline to help you determine when to start your project, but if you want to narrow it down by season, this might help.

Summer Install Completion ⇒ start design process in Fall or Winter

Fall Install Completion ⇒ start design process in Winter or Spring

Winter Install Completion ⇒ start design process in Spring or Summer

Spring Install Completion ⇒ start design process in Summer or Fall

If you go in knowing typical lead times for landscaping projects, this will help you realistically plan for your garden renovation and can assist you in planning out other areas of the design and installation process such as budgeting and goal setting.


2 comments... (add a comment)

  1. Pat Miller

    When is the best time to replant your grass?

    • Hi Pat,
      If you’re talking about your lawn, the best time to reseed would be April-May when we’re still getting rain and the soil has warmed up a bit. Depending on our rainy pacific northwest weather, you can sometimes start in late March as long as the ground isn’t too wet and the last frost is long gone. If you’re wanting to install sod, you can do so anytime as long as the ground isn’t frozen and there is no snow on the ground.

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