Before the Photos: What's Included in the Site?

As residential architects we tend to present our projects with glossy photos that show nothing of how we got there. I truly believe that my job as a residential architect is to guide my clients through the entire process. This all starts with presenting a proposal and making sure you understand what you are hiring me for. The best way to start a project is when everyone understands what they are getting and what is required of them. Ask questions. Get answers. Keep asking until you understand.

Recently I had a client ask me a lot of questions about my proposal. I wanted to share a couple of the questions and responses. These are all dealing with site issues. Who does what and how far do you take it?

Let me know if this brings up any questions for you. I’m happy to help.


1. Does “outdoor space layout” mean items outside that are in close proximity to the house?

That would include all outdoor space of the project. The only thing I don't specify or design is actual plant species. All of the space we talked about: Entrance to the property with a possible gate, pond, maybe a look out and screening of the approach of the driveway is all included.

2. Am I understanding that you are not including a site design? You will put on paper our design. (items away from the house)

I do not do site design as a civil engineer would do it. I cannot tell you if your pond will get enough run off or if you driveway grade meets certain specifications. I will work with you on all design aspects that we discussed - designate pasture and show fence. I'll probably even show what we want the fence to look like because once I get into a project I take a sort of ownership. It's difficult to just let go of a piece that is going to define the project.

3. All outside items will be located on the site by us from the drawing?

I'm not sure what you mean here. Maybe I've already answered this? A general statement is that I want this entire project to work. I want to work with you so that you end up with a project we can both be proud of. For good or for bad, I tend to want to be involved in every aspect of the project. Wherever you will take my guidance, I will give it.

As Founder and Principal Architect of Springhouse Architects, Sheri’s mission is to lead Clients through the building process with the Clients in control and Springhouse as their guide, advocate and ally.  With over twenty years experience in Residential Architecture, Sheri brings knowledge and confidence to your custom home project.

Lisa Saldivar