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Garden design using shade plants and shade trees   

FAQ / Frquently asked questionsFrequently Asked Question on Garden Design

Here are some frequently asked questions and our answers:

Can I do my own garden plan or should I hire a professional ?

Is a professional garden plan expensive ?

How do you figure out what I like in a garden plan ?

Where can I get a professional garden plan ?

Tell me more about landscape architects.

All of the landscaping contractors that I call won't just give me a garden plan. Why not ?

Are there other potential problems with using a local landscape contractor ?

Why should I buy a design from My Shade Garden rather than other Internet sites ?

Are you willing to visit my home ?

What are the most important attributes of a great garden plan ?

How do I know My Shade Garden is not some fly-by-night Internet company ? Is my credit card information safe ?

If you don't find what you need, try the site search engine at the top of the page (Top)

Can I do my own garden plan or should I hire a professional ?

If you want a great looking garden, but are not ready to invest a significant amount of time, I strongly recommend you hire a professional to design your garden. What you will spend in getting a professional design will be more than saved in plants that won't die or be eaten. Explore this question more. (Top)

Is a professional garden plan expensive ?

A professional garden plan need not be expensive. In fact, a good design can save you much money down the road by avoiding expensive mistakes, as well as insulating your home from cold winter winds and the hot summer sun.

A My Shade Garden custom garden plan starts at $98.00 (you can get an Online Price Quote for your garden). My Shade Garden, being an Internet company, does not have the high overhead costs most landscaping companies have to contend with. (Top)

How do you figure out what I like in a garden plan ?

We use two fundamental approaches in creating a garden plan that matches your desires.  First, our Order Questionnaire asks you a number of questions about your preferences.  Things like - What are your objectives for the garden (provide some color, hide something ugly, privacy, reduce maintenance, ...) ? and Do you have a color preference for the flowers ?  These questions are specifically designed to get at your most important preferences in a structured way.

Our second approach is to prepare a draft design for your review.  We provide the design, pictures of how it will look in your garden, descriptions of the plants and the reasons for their selection.  If you have comments on the design, we will modify the design and review it again with you.  (Top)

Where can I get a professional garden plan ?

My Shade Garden's main business is providing garden plans. See more about our Custom Internet Garden Designs, our Home Garden Designs or some of our Sample Designs. Your other choices include other Internet sites, a local landscape architect or a local landscape contractor. (Top)

Tell me more about landscape architects.

Most people are surprised to learn that landscape architects typically know very little about plants. Landscape architects are trained in how to move soil to ensure good drainage and a pleasing appearance. However, most landscape architects would be hard pressed to tell you what plants are shade tolerant and the plant's growing requirements. Just because a designer or contractor may be a landscape architect doesn't mean they are the person best qualified to meet your needs. (Top)

All of the landscaping contractors that I call Won't just give me a garden plan. Why not ?

If you hire a typical landscape contractor listed in your local phone book, chances are they will not charge you for the costs involved in developing a design. However, they also will not give or sell you a design alone. Most landscapers will only provide you with a design if you agree to have their company install it for you. That is because landscapers typically cover their overhead charges (such as insurance, equipment costs, and advertising) by charging their customers two or three times what it costs them to buy the plants they use in their designs.

Another reason many landscape contractors will not sell or charge for a design is that they do not formally prepare a specific design for each customer. Very often a landscaper will have a general idea of what he or she wants to do for their client, but they don't worry about the details until they visit the nursery they buy their plants from. (Top)

Are there other potential problems with using a local landscape contractor ?

Most landscapers buy virtually all of their plants from one or two nurseries. As such, they base their designs around the plants that their favorite nurseries have in stock. Since landscape contractors typically do not directly charge their customers for the time it takes them to buy the plants they are planting, they don't “waste” a lot of time searching for the “perfect” plant. The result is often a design that looks like it was made with a cookie-cutter, very undistinguishable from the neighbors. (Top)

Why should I buy an Internet design from My Shade Garden rather than other Internet sites ?

First, My Shade Garden specializes in creating garden plans using shade plants and trees. We know shade and we know plants, a knowledge base not many landscape contractors or landscape designers have. As such, we can develop a garden plan that is shade tolerant and beautiful.

Second, you know our price up front. Before you spend your precious time doing a detailed layout or filling in a long questionnaire, you can use our online Price Quote page to know how much an Internet design will cost.

Third, we develop the plan interactively with you over the Internet. The process starts with you completing our Order Questionnaire online. Next you send in a picture and a simple sketch of your garden area. After we work up a draft of your garden plan, we put it in a private area of our web site for your review. Based on your comments, we will finalize the garden plan and provide you with:

Schematic Diagram showing exactly where you should put each plant.  This design exclusively uses shade plants.

A Photograph of how your garden will look after the landscaping is complete (with an option to buy a photograph for all the seasons). We make sure the design is visually appealing - something that makes your neighbors say WOW! - and whose purpose and style matches the way you will be using the garden.

A List and Count of plants used in the garden plan for you to take to the nursery. We select plants that are suited to your climate, soil and sun exposure. Without this careful selection, the plant that looks great in at the nursery, probably won't survive a year.

A description of the selected plants from our Garden Plants Encyclopedia.

To guarantee your satisfaction, we offer a 100% Refund if you do not like the draft design we prepare for you.

Fourth, if you ever have a gardening question or a problem, we are just a “click” away. We don't forget about our customers. We keep in touch with you through our Free Twice Monthly Newsletter and email. (Top)

Are you willing to visit my home ?

Sometimes customers feel more comfortable having our landscape designer come to their home and look at their garden in person. If you live in the New York Metropolitan Area, (link opens a new window) we offer special Home Gardening Services. To schedule a service or for more information, please email us at , call us at (845) 362-2123 or use our home gardening services Request Form. (Top)

What are the most important attributes of a great garden plan?

There isn't a magic formula for a great garden plan. However, there are quite a few considerations that need to be carefully thought through when developing a garden plan. Inappropriately addressing any one of these considerations can make the difference between a poor, average or great design. These considerations are:

Design for your location

Scale

Balance diversity and repetition

Appeal to the five senses

Year round interest

Design for your lifestyle

We have more on Garden Design Attributes or our Garden Design Principles. (Top)

How do I know My Shade Garden is not some fly-by-night Internet company ? Is my credit card information safe ?

First, we hope that the vast amount of information available on the web site shows our commitment to our customers. The hundreds of pages of information have taken thousands of hours to develop and we keep updating it - see What's New ? or our Free Twice Monthly Newsletter

Second, if you're worried about placing a design order with us, take a look at our Testimonials page and see what other customers have said about us. To guarantee your satisfaction, we offer a 100% Refund if you do not like the draft design we prepare for you. Further, when you order a custom design, we encourage you to pay by credit card. Should you not be satisfied, the credit card company will intervene on your behalf and work towards resolution of the issue.

Third if you're concerned about providing your credit card information over the Internet, you don't have to be when you use our secure server. A secure server encrypts credit card information as it travels over the Internet. In the very unlikely event that some rogue catches the message (there are trillions of messages sent every day over the Internet), it will just be gibberish and of no use.  (Top)

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Last modified: February 08, 2004