top of page

Landscape Views Issue 23

This is a column by landscapers, for landscapers. In it, you’ll find knowledge, views and insights from professionals just like you, who are currently working in the industry

Q: Do you do design in-house or contract out the design element, and why?

Outdoor Rooms

Interviewee: Chris Edmonds Business Owner 

Location: Papamoa

Staff: 4

We used to work from other people’s designs, but we do our own now. I got to the point where I felt they didn’t understand how to build the projects they were designing, which made working off them tricky, so I did a design course and 10 years later here I am!

I feel it gives me an advantage over other businesses in our area, and clients confirm that. It allows us to move through the design and build process a lot more smoothly. 

Doing the design work ourselves also helps provide more accurate pricing, as I know all the materials I’ll need and how long it’ll take to finish a job.

It helps save costs, too, because I’m not left with any wastage on jobs. For example, we do our own tiling and I know exactly how each tile will be cut, so I can order specific designs or types. I know how many decking boards to order and, if I’m doing framing, I can work out how many set lengths I need, which means I’m not cutting off ends or throwing out timber! 


Interviewee: Max Jaffe Director

Location: Auckland

Staff: 16

We used to do a lot of design work in residential and commercial areas, but the business changed to become 99% commercial-focused, so our requirement for design work became less and less. 

We will sometimes do very simple design, where we focus on planting a few plant species in high volume. For example, one of our customers might ask us to re-do a garden bed and we can prepare a simple design for that.

Our speciality now lies in planting high-volume jobs quickly. One of our most recent ones involved planting 3,000 plants in a day and a half, but that’s all we had to focus on, as the hard landscaping had been done and we brought in subcontractors for the lawn hydroseeding and mulching.

We’ve been doing this for 30 years, so we feel comfortable bringing in subcontractors, as we’ve done a lot of work with them. We stay loyal to those contractors, because we’ve built such great relationships and we’re confident we’ll get excellent work in return. 

Henry Blakely Landscapes

Interviewee: Henry Blakely Director

Location: Christchurch

Staff: 10

We’ve offered design since the business was started just after the Christchurch earthquake, because I wanted to be in control of what we were doing – from our own innovative design work through to completion, including the build. I’d done a fair bit of design work for a previous employer and I really enjoy it, and now see it as a key part of my role and our business offering. 

As well as giving us a sense of control over our own work, it also makes our client relationship process easier, because we can make changes more quickly. It makes the build process easier too, because we’re familiar with the design and have an intimate understanding of what we’re trying to achieve.   


bottom of page