No two projects are identical. Clients’ needs and interests are too varied; projects come in too many sizes, as do budgets; buildings are old or newly built, formal or friendly, distinctive or utilitarian; landscape comes in innumerable forms. But we have found over the years that projects follow similar paths. Your project may not unfold just like the following description, but we hope it gives you an idea of what to expect. The most important thing for you to remember is that this is no forced march. As with everything else, you and your goals determine how we proceed.

The Master Plan

Our landscape design projects begin with a master plan clarifying the relationship of the inhabitants to the landscape. It identifies the spaces and pathways the client desires, and creates logical and sensitive relationships among them. Access, flow, privacy, company, play, repose are among the experiences clients may want the landscape to facilitate. Vistas, cloisters, cool shade, brilliant sunshine are among the settings the client may wish to enhance. In broad strokes these features are identified, located, and connected with one another in the master plan.

sketch schematic for granite spa landscape design

Detailed design comes next. Stone walls, steps, or boulders may be used to adjust elevations, protect buildings and outdoor “rooms” or to create added visual interest and provide focal points. Drives, walks, paths get routed, and their materials selected.

Boundaries between the landscape’s elements are given careful attention. This might mean designing border plantings along buildings, drives, and paths or softening the edge between a meadow and the forest. Specific elements the client desires — a spa, a lawn for croquet or galloping children, a fire pit for evening gatherings, a pine needle path for meandering around the property’s perimeter — are designed and detailed. Planting plans are developed with species and quantities identified as required.

Throughout the detailed design phase, plans, elevations, sketches, samples of materials, selections for lighting, etc. are shared with the client for review, feedback, and revision. As this phase draws to a close, the plans are sent to contractors for cost estimates. Based on the results, plans may be adjusted, or the project broken into several stages for construction.


Once the detailed design is complete and the contractors are selected, construction begins. Burdick & Associates typically provides services in coordinating and monitoring construction to ensure the final result matches the design. Inevitably, there are questions to be answered, unexpected circumstances to be managed, and changes to be implemented. Burdick & Associates can help all this happen smoothly with efficient, coordinated efforts.

Green Spa forest, boulder ledge, excavation, landscape design,
Green Spa forest, boulder ledge, excavation, landscape design,

Before long, the transformation is complete. The client can settle into a new world with a rejuvenated sense of place and a deeper harmony with the natural world.