Design build construction is the oldest type of construction in the world. It has always been based upon the idea that the architect, or master builder as he was called by some, was the supreme authority responsible for the creation of a structure. In the Ancient World, palaces, temples, and public forums were erected using this model of process flow. In today’s world, a modified version of this model is still used in both home and landscape construction. Instead of the individual master builder being in charge, however, today’s model substitutes it a general contracting firm as the overseer of the design for the landscape or home, and one or more subcontracted companies performing the role of the laborers and craftsmen we have previously studied in history.
Landscape design build is more common in the residential arena than it is in the commercial arena. In the corporate world, most large companies follow the design-bid-build model, where the landscape designer sells a detailed schematic as intellectual property to the company. The company then opens this plan to bidding to a general contractor, who in turn brings in subcontractors to implement the physical construction. Such a process is both too complex and too expensive for even wealthy individual homeowners to invest in safely. It represents an extra step (the bidding process) which costs additional time and money, and it also creates a higher margin of error, because even the most detailed landscape design plans can be misinterpreted—and consequently altered–by the general landscape contractor who ultimately wins the bid. The expense of developing a plan, then paying someone else to build it, is costly enough. Add to that the likelihood that the plan will probably not represent the intended formative vision established by the originating landscape design firm—and ultimately disappoint the homeowner—and it becomes clear as to why the design-build model of construction works ultimately to the advantage of both the homeowner’s pocketbook, sense of personal taste, and specific expectations for an intended outcome upon completion of the project.
It is for this reasons that most landscape architects make it a point to service the high-end residential community from a design build approach to outdoor development. Consultation lays the groundwork for the schematic, with clients having the opportunity to provide an extensive amount of detail regarding their lifestyle, aesthetic tastes, and expectations for their yard. A landscape design plan is then developed for every element of form and function that will ultimately generate a new outdoor living experience congruent with the architecture of the home and complimentary to the lifestyle lived within it. The landscape design firm will then directly build certain elements of the landscape themselves, and they will also subcontract various specialist firms to build other specific forms such as pools, hardscapes, and outdoor lighting systems.
The accountability inherent in this model is incredible. Subcontractors who are brought in on the project receive a list of specifications and materials in advanced that ensures they will remain within the parameters of the intended aesthetic and forecasted budget. These experts are all allowed to freely contribute their expertise, but they must remain within the boundaries established by the landscape design build contractor. This guarantees that homeowners will ultimately enjoy a finished project that truly fulfills their expectations at the end of the day.
By positioning ourselves as a landscape design build firm, Exterior Worlds is able to provide a single source of consultation, planning, design, and landscape development. By combining all these elements into a singular stream of harmonious process flow, we forego the complexities and excessive layers of detail needed to produce the schematics used by design-bid-build firms, and we streamline this process in such a manner as to expedites project completion, keep labor costs within the budget of the resident, and ultimately create a finished product that works to the benefit and satisfaction of all parties concerned.