Landscape Design Firms – Distinguishing The Good From the Extraordinary

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Many people look at the landscape as a kind of step-sister to the architecture. Often an afterthought,  we think of landscapes as what is left once the all important home stakes its claim on the land. Typically, landscape design firms are brought in once the house has been built and finished.

Most clients maintain a budget for their homes. The garden, however, is usually designed with the money that’s left over from the architectural budget.

In recent years, this perception has changed drastically. Landscape design firms are brought in earlier, ideally at the beginning of the project, to ensure that the exterior environment is well planned as an extension of the home.

Discerning clients now recognize that the landscape, first and foremost, is a tool for shaping our environment and adding value to our communities.

How Do Landscape Design Firms Approach Design?

A client looking for a landscape design firm, is looking for professional advice on designing their space. They are looking for ideas, input and suggestions on how to design their gardens to complement their lifestyles.

Landscape design firms look for input from their clients. What is your lifestyle and how can we incorporate that into your design? Do you like to entertain? Do you have children? How do you intend to use your outdoor space? Are you passionate about a cause? We then use this input to translate your vision into reality.

Two Types of Landscape Design Firms

How do you, as a client, distinguish average firms from extraordinary ones? What do you look for in a landscape design company?

Landscape design firms may be design only or may offer design and build services. Either way, we think there are two main approaches to design.

An average landscape firm focuses on exploring the client’s vision and ways to translate that vision into built reality by focussing on shaping exterior features. So, they look at what a client wants in their gardens. Do you want a swimming pool, pergolas, seating, pathways, water features or any other elements that would turn your outdoor space into a pleasing, functional space?

They then look at designing these features to look aesthetically pleasing. So, the main focus is on using features in the landscape to create an outdoor space that is interesting.

The well-established landscape design firms realize that there is much more to designing landscapes than just incorporating features. They go much deeper.

Sophisticated landscape design firms look at branding clients through their living spaces. They try to understand what clients want to achieve through their design.  They then think about how best to communicate this.

Do  you want guests to think of you as someone who has achieved a certain status or prestige in life? Do you want your guests and visitors to feel that they are an authority in their field? How can the design of your living space reflect this image?

The Importance of Branding

What Is Branding?

Branding is the outward image or perception of oneself as well as how this presents to other people. Branding makes people immediately identify with you and encourages them to engage with you.

This interaction could be on a personal or business level. Branding is all encompassing and is not just limited to visual input. It also extends to feelings, smells, sounds and textures.

It is a way to set yourself apart from other people and communicate your unique passions and vision.

Why Is The Landscape Important In Communicating Your Brand?

Whether intended or not, physical space is a major contributor to brand image. The space you live and work in says a lot about who you are and what is important to you.

When someone walks into your space, they immediately form an opinion of you based on what they can see, feel, hear and smell. Have you ever walked into a restaurant where the cooking odors put you off? Or have you ever been to a friend’s house and thought she is sloppy because her house is  untidy and cluttered?

The same principle applies to landscapes. Every element of the landscape creates an image in your visitor’s mind. A grand pool might convey a message of luxury.  Additionally, you can use a state-of-the-art sound system to show that you are a person accustomed to the highest standards of technology. A well-planned sustainable landscape might have visitors thinking that you are an upstanding citizen of the community, committed to our environment.

So,  we use each feature in the landscape to convey a message. Rather than leaving this to chance, exceptional landscape design firms make sure that this message reinforces your brand.

We infuse your brand identity into every outdoor feature in your garden to make sure that they reflect your branding accurately. The repetition is a way for us to ensures that the visitor is constantly reminded of this as he moves through your garden, thereby emphasizing brand attributes.

Tips For Creating A Powerful Brand Identity Through Outdoor Space Design

As we have discussed, each feature in the landscape can make an important contribution to communicating your brand. Below, we look at some practical tips on how to achieve this when designing your landscape.

Know Your Brand Identity

Before landscape design firms can delve into expressing your brand through your outdoor living space, they need a clear vision of your brand. Iconic brands have strong identities: they know who they are and what they want to convey.

This applies to our clients as well. For us to be able to effectively communicate your brand, we need a clear picture of what it is.

What is the first impression you want to create for guests who walk through your garden? Do you want to convey a feeling of luxury and glamor? Do you want guests to see you as a well known and well-established professional in your field? Or are you looking to reach out to people from diverse professions and backgrounds?

Establishing a clear idea for your brand is the first and most crucial step. Landscape design firms can then use this information to design your outdoor space in a way that continuously delivers the message to your guests and visitors.

Create Strong First Impressions

Feng Shui principle states that you create your environment and that environment creates you. Your surroundings say a lot about who you are.

When a visitor comes to your house or garden, their first impression should be highly positive. Does your garden look organized and clutter free? Is your garden design cohesive or is it a hodgepodge of different elements thrown together?

A clutter-free, spacious home and garden immediately makes your guests feel that you are highly organized, well-placed and successful. It takes visitors into different zones, sub-consciously compelling them to form an opinion of that space that then extends to you, the owner.

For example, if you want to wow visitors by highlighting your commitment to innovation, then make sure the landscape design is cutting edge.

Use the most advanced automated systems for sound, lighting and irrigation. Integrate the sound and lighting systems with your home audio systems for seamless operation.

This will immediately tell visitors that you are a person who enjoys using technology for enhanced comfort and convenience.

Link The Brand To Lifestyle Choices

Link your brand image to your lifestyle so that your branding can serve you. Many clients want to have meaningful parties with friends. They want to invite high net-worth individuals into their homes to expand their network. They like to invite high profile professionals and business associates from all walks of life into their homes into an environment that nurtures them to close more business deals.

If you love to entertain, your outdoor space should make entertaining smooth and effortless.  Opt for the most advanced sound system you can afford. Go for immaculate lighting that highlights the features in your landscape and brings your parties to life.

Think about flexible space design that can cater for smaller, intimate parties or large, lavish events. Wow guests by catering to their every need and convenience.

Alternatively, you might prefer to socialize with people who are closer to you. Your garden design can then convey the image of a discerning individual who values privacy.

Smaller zones can create intimate spaces to enjoy casual drinks or an enjoyable Al Fresco dinner under a vine-covered pergola.

ou might opt for a more intimate jacuzzi style spa, rather than a glitzy pool, where guests can enjoy a cool drink on hot summer nights.   

Design your outdoor space so that it reinforces the kind of lifestyle you prefer to indulge in.

Have A Clear Organization of Outdoor Space

Organization of space is the key to conveying immaculate planning  and attention to detail. A well planned garden can greatly contribute to a high-profile brand image by emphasizing the value placed on organization, comfort and convenience.

Let’s consider the above example of a client who likes to entertain. If the client throws a party, how will people move through the space?

Will they enter through a garden entrance or do you want to lead them through the house and into the garden? What do you want them to feel when they enter your living space – excited anticipation for the upcoming party or a feeling of relaxation?

The answers to these questions will determine the type of music and the type of lighting you choose on that day.

Think about the details. Where will caters set up and where will they prepare food?  How will they serve food to your guests? Will it be a buffet or will they serve them at their tables?

So, we think about each scenario carefully when building your brand. We create an image so that guests perceive you in a way that is prompted by the space around them.  

Showcase Your Brand Through Your Garden

To emphasize the brand, experienced landscape design firms infuse it into every point of contact with the guest or visitor.

Sounds

Music is a great mood enhancer so use it to your advantage. Play peppy dance music to energize a boring party, or use soothing music to wind down the event and signal an end to the evening.

Sleek, modern sound systems indicate to visitors that you are innovative, that you are a person of good taste and that you enjoy the conveniences of modern technology.

Gone are the days of cheap looking, boulder-shaped speakers that are solid and bulky. Modern sound systems are sleek and minimal. You can place them unobtrusively anywhere in the landscape.

All guests will hear is the music, without being able to see the source.

Smells

When visitors walk into your garden, the last thing you want them to experience is the pungent odour of cooking food, unless it’s a casual Friday barbeque.

Smell is one of the strongest human senses, so use it to make the experience of walking through your garden extremely pleasant for visitors.

Plants such as citrus have a strong fragrance that is energizing and refreshing. Some plants such as night jasmine are strongly fragrant after sunset.

Greet visitors with the sweet smell of fragrant flowers, so they feel happy and welcomed into your space. This puts them at ease and prepares them for an evening of leisure and enjoyment.

Opt for mildly fragrant plants as not everyone likes the heady odors of strongly fragrant plants.

Lighting

Lighting systems have come such a long way in recent years. Modern lighting systems are energy saving, can be adjusted to complement different vibes and add serious style to your outdoor space. Use lighting to impact emotions at a subconscious level.

A bright, well-lit garden immediately puts visitors at ease, making them feel secure and safe.

Bright lights can also add a feeling of restless energy and would be great at the start of a party.

Softer, diffused lighting creates the opposite mood, making people feel relaxed and less alert. Softer lighting can be used when winding down a party or for more intimate gatherings.

Light is even believed to affect how fast we eat and our eating preferences. Warmer, lower light levels are thought to encourage visitors to enjoy starters and hors d’oeuvres, while brighter light levels subconsciously direct them towards the main course.

Something to think about when you throw your next party!

Pools And Water Features

Pools and water features speak volumes about a person’s tastes and level of sophistication. A pool becomes a glamorous water feature, when not used at night and can add a major wow-factor to your landscape.

Visitors perceive pools as objects of luxury and style. As a swimming pool is usually one of the largest features in the landscape, it has a big impact on perception.

A chic swimming pool with custom pool lights and perhaps an underwater sound system would immediately form the image of a successful, sophisticated individual who revels in the luxury and comfort of his stylish home.

You can even use the pool  to showcase a passion for innovation, technology or sustainability, depending on its design approach.

Link To The Architecture

Lao Tzu, a famous Chinese philosopher and writer, once said ‘it is the emptiness inside that makes the vessel useful’.

How you express the landscape from inside out defines your exterior space. When materials shapes and forms in the garden match your architecture, your garden becomes an outdoor room enclosed by the property walls. It becomes an extension of your home.

Blending the outside with the inside lends the space a cohesiveness and conveys a maturity of design that makes no distinction between what is inside versus outside.

As soon as you create a nurturing, comfortable environment that is aesthetically pleasing, it immediately forms the image of a successful individual who enjoys coming home, revels in the comfort of his environment and feels pride in his living space.

When you feel proud of your living environment, it is inevitable that this feeling will pass on to those visiting your home.

Milestone – Experience In Branding Through Creating Spaces

If you are a proud homeowner, we would love to work with you to translate your vision into reality.

Our diverse design staff are highly experienced at asking the right questions to extract information about your lifestyle, passions and how you like to live.

We can express this in the design of your property, emphasizing your branding through positive experiences for your family and friends. Our focus is on translating vision rather than just creating pleasing features.  

We are passionate about creating spaces within a home, both inside and out.Please contact a member of our design team for an initial consultation to get started on your living space.

Sejal Nagjee

Sejal Nagjee

Sejal Nagjee, Milestone’s CEO and Creative Director is a gifted designer. Regardless of the project scale or scope, from homes and offices, hotels and restaurant, to gardens and exterior living spaces, her distinctive style injects a fresh and vibrant perspective to every living space. With over 30,000 hours of hands-on experience, across a wide breadth of interior and exterior design and build projects, Sejal has the skills, passion, resources and industry connections to get the job done on time!