Broomfield Landscape Design Local Business Spotlight: Botanical Living
Spring is officially here! As I step outside the grass is greener, the sun is shining and the temperature definitely tells me that winter has passed. This is the time of year when many homeowners begin thinking about the improvements they will make to the exterior of their homes. In many cases this includes new landscape design projects for their Broomfield homes. There are many benefits to a well landscaped yard beyond enjoyment for the homeowner. A well-landscaped home can add approximately 6-13% in value compared to a home with little to no landscaping. According to the Department of Energy well-placed trees can reduce energy bills up to 25%. Finally, mature trees add an average of 10% to a home’s property value according to the Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with a local landscape designer who produces tremendous results for homes throughout Broomfield and surrounding areas.
Abby Rupsa is a Denver-based landscape designer specializing in the blank canvas of residential new builds and the reworking of existing landscapes.
On her website, www.botanicallivingdesigns.com, you can find a tremendous portfolio of work in neighborhoods such as Huntington Trails, Spruce Meadows, The Broadlands, The Preserve at McKay Shores and Vista Ridge. Each design has its own unique design elements that are sure to get your mind racing about the different elements that you can incorporate into your outdoor space.
I recently interviewed Abby where we discussed many topics of landscape design including the design process, budgeting, design choices, what makes a home stand out, and the benefits of hiring an independent designer.
The interview is below. If you have further questions or to contact Abby for a design consultation for your home, she can be reached by phone or text at 949-230-9929 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q&A With Abby Rupsa- Botanical Living Landscape Design
What would you say are the benefits to a homeowner wanting to hire an independent designer?
I find that being an independent designer, clients trust that I will not try to over-design or oversell a vision because I don’t have an ulterior motive to incorporate the most expensive products. I try to listen to how my client will really live in the space and give them several options that will be a neutral jumping off point when they discuss the design with a third-party installer. I educate my clients on the many options available and try to spec materials in keeping with the style of the home so as not to over improve. My goal is to create a beautifully functional space that will keep with the aesthetic of the neighborhood.
What is the difference between an independent designer and a landscape contractor?
The difference between an independent designer and a contractor is that I only focus on the vision and design and the contractor implements the installation. A lot of my contractors I refer love not having to do the design, they like just bidding and the installing according to plan. A designer can really see what the yard needs in terms of space planning. We look at the space in terms of “rooms” and how it will really be used and how it will connect the home’s interior to its exterior for maximum beauty and seamless flow.
What drives your designs choices?
The most important part of my meeting with a client is listening to how they are going to use the space. What are their needs? Do they have a big family and do they entertain? What features are important to have? When I do a site visit, I instantly get a sense for the scale of the face of the house. Is it a two-story home with a tiny “boutique” yard? Is it a new-build on acreage where the house needs tons of layered landscaping to anchor it to the property? Could the yard use an elevation change or two? What view needs to be screened or highlighted? Is the house linear and flat-faced where a more sweeping feminine line could be introduced? There are so many questions I have running through my head, but I always incorporate the clients’ wishes first, and secondly, play off the architecture of the house. I think in terms of hardscape and plants performing jobs. They are just as much structural pieces as the house is and if the proportions and layering are pleasing to the eye, that’s what makes an amazing space that looks more thoughtfully cultivated.
When designing landscapes, what are some of the elements that make your spaces stand apart from the rest of the neighborhood?
I strongly agree with the phrase, “Landscaping is the slowest form of art”. There is something subtly recognized when a landscape is professionally designed. Boulders are naturalized and dug in more deliberately to convey weight and imply that they are anchoring the home to the property. There are a proportionate amount of evergreens to deciduous plantings so that the landscape doesn’t appear bare in the winter months. There is a sense of rhythm and echo in the plantings in the form of repeating textures, sizes or colors. There is also a sense of “perimeter edge” that is necessary to form a subliminal border. Proportionate scale is felt, but not overtly seen and the landscape just has a sense of being “right” for the house. I also try to use the right plant for the right place so the homeowner can readily enjoy their yard without tons of maintenance. Essentially, I’m always trying to duplicate what Mother Nature does best and blend the home’s interior with it’s beautiful exterior.
Do you make sure to use a variety of plants that are blooming throughout the year?
I really pride myself on putting sustainability practices at the forefront of my designs. For instance, we have large homes and small “boutique” yards, so rather than try to capitalize on a strip of turf that will be uninspired and hard to irrigate, the trend is to either minimize it as much as possible or do away with it completely. If the yard can handle the latter option, it makes a super lush, very private and layered landscape that will grow into a beautiful and thoughtful palette of plants. No homeowner has ever asked me for a “high-maintenance” garden yet, so I try to spec shrubs that flower and color depending on the season. The perennial layer is the jewelry of the design. It’s the color that gives it that pulled together “wow factor” that makes for a memorable place that makes you want to linger.
What does your design package include?
I provide a very thorough and detailed 2D design rendering using Dynascape landscape software. My plans include sizing, variety, quantities of plantings as well as dimensions of bed lines and hardscape elements like kitchens, fire features, water features, retaining walls and pergolas. Essentially the plan is easily interpreted by either a DIY’er or a landscape contractor. During presentation, I also provide a digital look book of all intended plantings and provide inspiration images of proposed hardscape items to give the client a taste of what the design will feel like once completed. The look book does a great job conveying the textures and colors of the project and helps homeowners get excited about their new space. The homeowner then receives an electronic copy so they can send it off to any governing HOA board or to secure bids from contractors. I am also able to be hired to consult when installation occurs for an extra hourly rate to ensure plants are spaced properly and installation is happening according to plan. Homeowners feel it is an added value for that extra hands on attention to detail.
What is the cost of your design packages and what should a client budget to complete a project?
Price for a design really depends on all the features requested to be included. I walk the yard with my client and once we discuss the scope of the design, I give a price on the spot. Half is due upon signing my design agreement and the remainder upon presentation. Most people don’t have a budget in mind because they just don’t know how much it all costs which is understandable. Implementation costs depend on the materials being chosen and the contractor you hire to install, but according to the American Society of Landscape Architects, clients should prepare to spend a minimum of 10% of the home’s value on landscaping.
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