When a homeowner wants begin a design conversation, a site plan is a perfect starting point. An accurately measured site will help your landscape designer understand what elements are existing. A correctly measured site will also aid in recognizing the possibilities and limitations of a given area before design suggestions are made. These plans are always drawn to-scale so that anyone with a ruler (scale) or tape measurer can comprehend the drawings.
Why is accuracy so important?
Since hardscape materials are expensive, it’s crucial to get as precise as possible to the actual square footage of materials used in a landscape design because:
- Your Landscape Contractor can order what the hardscape design calls for and not overcharge you.
- You won’t run out of materials during the installation and you’ll be spared a change order.
- Most of the materials a Landscape Contractor orders cannot be returned. Even if material can be returned, it has a restocking fee, which is typically absorbed by the client. Clients can therefore get stuck with a stockpile of materials they don’t need.
How does it work?
Our measuring expert sets up his laser transit (tripod) on one area of the property and then holds his laser receptor pole at the exact location that he wants to measure. The lasers do the hard work and he receives the exact data on not only the locations (shape of the house, the hardscape and the trees) but he will also get elevation information which we call topography. Here is Scot Rysdale, our preferred expert, as he measures this flagstone path around the existing water feature.
Why hire a professional?
- Your site is too large or irregular shaped (or both)
- You have many trees and mature vegetation that you wish to keep
- Your lot is not flat and you intent to add stairs or retaining walls
- If you’re just too busy or don’t trust your own accuracy to measure yourself, hire a professional!
How much does it cost?
A site measurement is less inexpensive than a survey because it only measures existing empirical data. Cost of measuring simple front yards can be under $1000, but most clients that want their entire site measured can expect to pay around $2000. Large estates and sloped properties may run higher.
Do I need a licensed survey?
Most residential landscape design projects do not need a licensed surveyor, unless your site is undergoing a new construction and your city planner requires it or you and your neighbor are having a property line dispute. A survey can range anywhere form $3000-6000 for most Bay Area sites.