About The Process (a "brief" description): 

As a company that provides landscape architecture services we are tasked with being stewards of the land. Prior to starting on the design work for a project, in depth research, analysis, and planning is conducted. Depending on the project type, we may solicit input from clients, users, and/or members of the community. All of the gathered information assists in identifying the appropriate uses and developments that are suitable for the site.

Then concepts are created. Feedback is solicited from the parties involved and the concepts are refined. Once the overall concept is established, the details and individual elements within the design are refined (ex: plants, stonework, irrigation, lighting, etc...).

After the design is refined, the desired plan set is created and presented.  When a design is completed, we can continue to work with clients to ensure the installation of the design runs smoothly. Once an installation is completed, in certain instances a maintenance program or post construction evaluation may be produced, if desired.

A.  Research & Miscellaneous Services:

Soil Testing

Soil Testing is when soil samples are taken on a site and prepared in accordance with the testing laboratory's instructions. These samples are then sent to the testing laboratory with the appropriate payment and an application that specifies the testing method(s) for each sample. The soil-testing laboratory analyzes the samples in an attempt to identify the soil's capability and make up. Soils can be tested for pH levels, nutrient levels, organic matter content, cation exchange capacity, and texture classification. The soil laboratory typically gives recommendations for soil amendments that may improve a soil's suitability for a desired use.

Municipal & Regulatory Services

Municipal & Regulatory Services are services conducted in association with a municipality, agency, government, or regulatory body on the Client's behalf. This work can include, but is not limited to conducting conversations, attending meetings, researching regulations, filing applications, and adjusting design plans and documents according to specific regulatory guidelines.


B.  Design Documents:

Existing Site Plan (aka: Base Plan)

A typical Existing Site Plan includes items that currently exist on the site, such as noticeable vegetation, bodies of water, buildings, permanent structures (such as a pool house, shed, pergola, arbor, bar area, and other items of a similar nature), walls, fences, electric meters, telephone/cable junction boxes, telephone poles, culverts, drainage head walls, fire hydrants, gas meter, paved surfaces (such as patios, driveways, walkways, roads, parking areas, paths, terraces and other items similar in nature), utilities (such as gas, sewer, septic, telephone, cable, electric, water, storm sewer and drainage culverts), scale, north arrow and any other elements deemed necessary by Elemental Designs to develop the design.

Site Inventory and Analysis

The Site Inventory identifies the site’s existing condition(s) as well as the influences which contribute to its current condition. It helps to identify key items on the site that may become key factors in the development of the landscape design. The Site Analysis contains judgments or evaluations about the worth or importance of the condition of the existing site. It shows certain needs and constraints as well as suggestions as to what positives should be maximized and what negatives should be minimized. Influences or items that may be shown on the Site Inventory and/or Analysis are hydrology, drainage, soil, microclimate, building, vegetation, pedestrian, vehicular, utility, sensory (smell, sound, visual, touch), function (current uses), topography (slope, erosion) and animals.


A program is a list or outline of all the elements and requirements the design solution must include and satisfy. This program is a mandatory service that will be provided because it is a necessary part of the process.

Concept Plan (Rough Diagram/Sketch)

The Concept Plan is a rough plan created using bubbles, arrows and other graphic symbols to show how areas will be used on the site and how they will relate to one another.

Preliminary Master Plan

The Preliminary Master Plan displays the general material of all elements and forms, plant materials as masses, approximate sizes, and location of elements. No plant species are identified on this plan. Property lines and proposed topographical contour lines are included on the Preliminary Master Plan, if previously agreed upon by both Elemental Designs and the Client. This plan may show elements such as driveways, walkways, planting beds, patios, walls, pergolas, arbors, fire pits, fireplaces, landings, lawn, ground cover areas, trees, utilities, pools, hot tubs, pool slides, play equipment, bars, outdoor kitchen areas, entrance pillars, etc.

Master Plan

The Master Plan is a refinement of the Preliminary Master Plan. It contains any changes made by the client after the presentation of the Preliminary Master Plan. Plant species are identified on this plan. Labels are further refined and simplified in comparison to the Preliminary Master Plan. This plan may show elements such as driveways, walkways, planting beds, patios, walls, pergolas, arbors, fire pits, fireplaces, landings, lawn, ground cover areas, trees, shrubs, perennial flowers, annual flowers, utilities, pools, hot tubs, pool slides, play equipment, bars, outdoor kitchen areas, entrance pillars, light posts, parking areas, roads, and other items in slightly more detail compared to the Preliminary Master Plan.

Perspective Rendering

A Perspective Rendering is a drawing created by hand that shows roughly how the items in a design will appear, when viewed from a specific location, after the design has been implemented/installed on the property.

CAD Perspective Rendering

A CAD Perspective Rendering is a computer aided drawing (aka: CAD) that uses a computer to show roughly how the items in a design will appear, when viewed from a specific location, after the design has been implemented/installed on the property.


A Section-elevation is a drawing or rendering that shows a vertical z axis cross section of roughly how a design will appear at some point in the future after it has been installed on the property.

Construction Cost Estimate

A Construction Cost Estimate is a roughly calculated monetary approximation of expenses relating to the construction installation of an Elemental Designs design or elements therein.


C.   Construction Design Plans and Documents:

Demolition Plan

A Demolition Plan shows the elements that are to be removed prior to design installation and instructions for disposal or relocation of those elements.

Site Preparation Plan(s)

A Site Preparation Plan shows minor adjustments and repairs that need to be made to the site, as well as protective measures that need to be taken. (Examples: Erosion Control Plans show the protective measures that need to be set up within the construction site in an effort to reduce erosion and downstream pollution. Items like silt fence or wattles or hay bales are typically used. A Plant Protection Plan shows what plants on the property are to be protected, how they will be protected, and what will be used to protect them. Sometimes soil amendments need to be added to the soil to improve the soil's ability to be used for specific purpose, such as promote a healthy vegetation or maybe soil protection is needed in high traffic areas, so soil compaction can be reduced. Stockpile locations are sometimes identified on a plan to show the appropriate locations for certain types of materials.)

Layout & Materials Plan(s)

The Layout & Material Plans show the location, size, shape, and material type for landscape design elements.

Grading Plan

A Grading Plan shows existing contours, proposed contours, spot elevations, drainage items (some examples: pipes, catch basins, drains and water flow direction), and other earth moving requirements.

Planting Plan

A Planting Plan shows plant material locations as well as common name, botanical name (latin name), nursery plant order sizes, and quantity of each plant type. In addition, a planting plan may include, at the designer’s discretion, instructions for plant installation, plant orders, and information regarding appropriate plant substitutions.

Lighting Plan

A Lighting Plan shows the proposed location and type of various lighting items such as wire runs, lights, junctions, and transformers.

Utility Plan

Utility Plan shows the existing and proposed locations for the Utilities on site. It shows or describes the proposed work to be performed to the Utilities on the site. (Some examples: water lines, gas lines, electrical service lines, cable/telephone lines, transformers, protective conduit, septic tanks, sewer lines, septic fields, telephone poles, junction boxes, shut off valves, meters, and non-low voltage lighting.)

Construction Details

Construction Details show enlarged sections and plans, with labels, for specific elements or pieces of elements that can be built into or on the landscape.

Technical Specifications

Technical Specifications are the qualitative requirements for a project in terms of materials, equipment, and work to be performed, which are listed on a document. They typically include descriptions of the methods, materials, and performance of project components.


D.  Maintenance Design Document:

Maintenance Program/Instructions

A document or set of instructions, which suggests the type and frequency of care that may be needed to help the landscape to stay in a healthy or visually acceptable condition for a period of years.