What to expect when working with Ekklesia Design?
Ekklesia Design starts with a free initial consultation to understand your needs, the project site, and projected scope of work. Engaging in this process is a great opportunity to get a feel for how well we will work together, and to ensure that your project is ready to move forward.
This phase is geared toward further identifying goals and "programming" (creating a refined list of client needs, space requirements and relationships, etc.) for a project. This includes any research necessary before work begins; such as the initial interview, documenting existing structures and site conditions, and researching applicable codes or design precedents.
This phase is very collaborative and consists of generating initial design concepts. These drawings can be loose sketches or digital site plans, perspective renderings, or cross-sections/elevations to give a sense of place. You can expect to meet and discuss several alternatives, with an aim to zero in on one option and style. Typically, this is also the time we recommend bringing on board a civil engineer to have an initial meeting to discuss general design direction, along with preliminary grading and drainage concepts (if applicable).
Once a direction is agreed upon, we will start to refine the plans and elevations, select materials, and commence work on preliminary construction details. At the end of this phase, you will have enough information to begin interviewing local contractors and gathering cost estimates. This is also where we would apply for any required municipal permits or approvals, where applicable.
After design decisions have been confirmed and a contractor has been selected, we will further specify elements of the design with additional drawings and detailed notes. This final set will be submitted for building permitting, and will be the set of drawings that the contractor requires to begin construction.
*NOTE: At this point in the process, Ekklesia Design will require collaboration with a local, licensed professional landscape architect in your state/region, in order to ensure compliance with local municipal code and state requirements for stamped drawings. We will work together with you and various networks of Christian churches/businesses to ensure a compatible local firm is selected.
However, our services do not end when we hand the drawings over to a local firm and/or contractor. We will remain available to help answer any questions, assist with any issues that come up in the field, and check in regularly to ensure things are going well during construction. It is important to us that your project is built to your expectations and standards, and in a God-glorifying way.
WHY IS HIRING A CHRISTIAN LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT IMPORTANT?
We are skilled in spatial planning, construction methods, materials selection, project management, and working with local government officials. We have the education and experience required to analyze what you want and to translate that into a functional, buildable plan. We can think spatially and visualize your project site in a variety of alternative forms and functions than what exists currently.
But why not just hire a local landscape architect to do the job? We are a postmillennial, reformed-Christian business committed to redeeming places to the glory of God, and have a trained eye for aesthetic design that many churches (unfortunately) lack. In addition to our unique professional skills, we start every project from a theologically-grounded view of land and its ultimate purpose in the Kingdom of God on Earth. We even offer teaching sessions along with sound theological resources to guide you in your efforts of engaging Christian placemaking from a biblical worldview.
WHAT EXACTLY DOES A LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT DO?
We craft a reality from your vision! We listen to a client’s needs, wants, and priorities, and then translate those thoughts into plans and renderings. We can think through project sites as a whole and wisely intuit how things will fit together while anticipating if there may be any issues. We manage your project from beginning to end and ensure that the project adheres to local building codes. We work hard to keep your project within your budget and make revisions as necessary. We can give you recommendations for contractors who would be well suited for your project, as well as help manage other professionals such as interior designers, architects, structural engineers, etc.
We are not "landscapers", which is a common misconception. Think of an architect who designs cathedrals rather than a structural engineer who plans a concrete warehouse. A landscape architect is a designer that considers both form and function of the built and natural environment - and at Ekklesia Design, we craft with truth, beauty, and goodness in all that we do!
WHAT DOES A LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT NOT DO?
We do not act as a contractor for construction/installation, nor do we provide an exact price for final construction costs (we can provide estimates based on SF and experience). Our costs are separate from the site work getting commenced/completed, but that added value is why securing the right designer up-front proves to be an invaluable asset the future success of any project!
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
Every project is different. A good landscape architect should be able to adapt their process to fit what you need. Some projects may only require concept layout plans while others desire the complete design package - down to detailed material selection. Make sure you understand what is provided in the project scope and how each fee corresponds. It is important that you understand how the procedural steps for any work getting done and the subsequent deliverables will play a role in your project.
WHAT CAN I DO TO ENSURE THE BEST OUTCOME?
Be very open about what you want and what your budget is from the beginning. The process will go much more smoothly if the landscape architect knows what you can spend on the front end. Share precedent images that you are appealed to and explain what you like/dislike. The more information you can provide at the beginning, the closer the initial design will be to that perfect design you’re looking for. Be honest. If something isn’t working, say something. The designer’s goal is getting you what you want and need in a God-glorifying way. That being said, you will likely be presented with a design that we believe is the best way to solve the problem based on our years of experience and education, and what is principally found to be the most aesthetically pleasing. When in doubt, you should feel comfortable trusting their judgement. Pay your bills on time and as outlined in the contract. Don’t be afraid to ask for something or for an opinion that may be outside what you think a designer does - we're generalists! Landscape architects are both project managers as well as designers, and we usually have strong, educated opinions and are happy to share.