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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How detailed is the concept plan?

    The concept plan is a scale drawing of the garden showing its layout. It includes any existing features to be retained, proposed areas of paving, steps, paths, gates, retaining walls, lawns and planting. Our concept plans are drawn by hand and rendered in colour making them clear and easy to understand. We often include additional drawings – a perspective sketch or elevation - to help you visualise what we have in mind.

    The concept plan shows existing and proposed trees, hedges, specimen plants, underplanting etc. As the project gets underway, we develop a detailed planting palette for the garden to suit your preferences – eg native, subtropical, formal etc

    Any structures to be incorporated, eg pergola, water feature, gates etc are also included in the concept plan. Their detailed design is developed once the concept plan is approved.

  • How long does the design stage take?

    We can usually arrange an initial meeting with you within 10 days to take a look at the site and discuss your project. After this we can prepare a fee proposal based on our discussions. This proposal can be provided within 2 – 3 working days of our visit and provides you with an indication of the services we can offer you and our fee for those services.

    The timing required to develop a landscape concept plan depends on current commitments and the scope of your project, however we can generally commence the plans within one month of your acceptance of our proposal. We aim to have a concept plan completed within 6 – 8 weeks of acceptance.

  • How do you set a budget for the project?

    Once the concept plan is complete and agreed, we can draw up a budget for the project. This can generally be completed within 3 weeks. The budget includes itemised figures for all aspects of the project from excavation and drainage, retaining walls, concrete work etc through to garden lighting and automatic irrigation. Variations in materials such as paving alternatives, decking timbers, wrought iron or glass balustrading etc may be listed separately so choices which affect the overall look of the garden and also affect the budget will be obvious. We welcome an opportunity to discuss these items when the budget is presented.

    We also establish a planting budget for the project at this stage. The size of plants installed can have a significant effect on the overall planting budget. Some clients prefer to pay a little more for an “instantly mature effect” and others prefer to invest in a few significant feature plants and use smaller plants elsewhere. These options can be discussed once the budget is drawn up.

  • How long does the construction stage take?

    The commencement of construction depends on existing commitments, consent requirements and the ordering of materials for the project.

    Any resource or building consents required for the project can be identified at the concept stage. We liase with planners, engineers and other specialists to prepare the necessary documentation to make this process as smooth as possible.

    Each project is unique and the length of time taken to completion depends on the scope of the project. Most materials can be on site within 6-8 weeks of placing an order.

    Site work can sometimes commence before materials are on site. We will discuss a starting time for the project when the budget is presented.

  • Can I rely on your sub contractors?

    We regularly work with a select group of specialist sub contractors with whom we have developed strong relationships. We liase closely with all our sub contractors to ensure the sequence of works is efficient, to oversee the quality of their work and to ensure design detail is correctly interpreted.

    We manage all sub contractors on behalf of our clients and have high expectations of their standards of workmanship. We provide clients with warranties from relevant sub-trades at the end of the project.

  • What style of planting do you use?

    We believe that each garden is unique and plant choices need to be carefully made for each project to suit the overall design, site conditions, client preference, budget and seasonal availability.

    We work closely with a number of specialist planting designers who are experienced in selecting, sourcing and installing planting appropriate for each garden whether the look is to be subtropical or native, formal or relaxed. Your preferences are carefully considered and plant choices are discussed as the palette of plants for each project is selected.

  • Is it possible to stage a project?

    Yes. Staging a project can minimise disruption and can also allow you to pace the work to suit your budget. We recommend developing a concept for the entire area to be worked on.

    This allows you to work out your priorities, evaluate the practical aspects of staging the work and to complete the project as your budget allows.

  • Do you build gardens designed by other designers?

    Absolutely. While we enjoy being involved in the both the design and construction of gardens, we have also built gardens in the Auckland area designed by a number of other reputable architects, landscape architects and designers.

    These include garden designs by Spanish landscape architect Fernando Caruncho, Australian landscape architect Paul Bangay, Peter Sargisson, Fearon Hay architects, Suzanne Turley, Robin Shafer and others.

    We welcome the opportunity to discuss the implementation of your plans with you and your designer.

  • Why use a professional landscaper instead of a builder?

    Professional landscape contractors are trained and experienced in the construction and installation of gardens. Gardens include built elements which must be safe, durable and structurally sound and must not adversely affect the durability or structure of adjacent buildings. This requires experience in the selection of appropriate materials and components, detailing, finishes and construction methods to ensure an enduringly successful garden. Gardens also include living plant material which must have a healthy environment to sustain plant growth and ensure healthy plants.

    With over 20 years experience building residential gardens, we take great care to choose appropriate materials, design attractive and functional details, install adequate drainage, prepare healthy planting environments to create gardens which will stand the test of time.

  • How can I maintain my garden?

    Gardens inevitably looks their best when maintained by skilled gardeners who understand plant needs. We are happy to discuss garden maintenance requirements as the project develops.

    Although Strass does not provide this service, we frequently recommend the services of skilled gardeners and maintenance crew who have capably maintained gardens we have installed.

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