I’ve been selling outdoor spaces since 1999 and its truly amazing how much the industry has changed is such a short amount of time. Back in the 90’s clients were looking for paver patios and maybe some landscaping or a retaining wall. Today clients want fire, lights, shade, sound and the list goes on and on. A common question is “What do you see?” or “How do you see things in my yard?” I don’t always want to answer that question because there is so much thought that goes into a design and I don’t want to limit what the possibilities can be. Three things go into a successful project.
- Function – How does a client see their family and friends using the space? Everyone uses their space different and its important to know what their tendencies are on both a daily basis and also when they are entertaining. Some clients want an outdoor living room and others a place to cook and eat. Function is the biggest part of a design. A space that functions well will also appeal to a potential buyer.
- Scale- It’s important to scale a project to the house and the space allowed. Over do a space and it may be an investment that won’t hold its value when the house is being sold. Or the opposite, make the space too small and it will feel out of place. Being able to take the proper time to put a design on paper will allow the designer to fit the space to its surrounding.
- Budget – Based on the needs and wants for each homeowner a good salesperson can get the best value for the project. It’s important to know how long a client plans to live in the house and also what they are comfortable spending. Cost of the wish list and the budget don’t always align so the picking of materials and the discussion of phasing make the end product more comfortable for the client.
So when a homeowner wants to know what it will look like during the first meeting I always hesitate to answer. The possibilities are endless for outdoor living spaces. The reaction three weeks later when the client sees the drawing and 3Ds for the first time with no expectations is fun for us all. Technology has allowed us to create and visualize amazing spaces before they are ever built. That along with a designers’ creativity allow us to create unique spaces with no limits. I can only imagine what ten more years will bring.