Monday, 12 December 2011

Sex, Politics, Religion and...Budget

Sex, Politics and Religion. Three topics guaranteed to cause awkward subject changes, but I'd have to add the topic of budget to those classics...
I loved designing this penthouse garden - but a clear budget is essential when preparing any design
I've written about this subject before in 'How much does landscaping cost', but it still amazes me how uncomfortable people are about providing a budget for their landscaping. I know very often the problem comes more from clients not knowing how much is a realistic figure to set aside, but without at least a rough budget to work within, there is so much place for time-wasting.

I recently had two clients with two completely different approaches to the subject. The first fidgeted when the subject came up, and wouldn't give any guidelines. I worked on some ideas and presented the concept along with an estimate only to find that it was not within their budget. I went back to the drawing board to try to find a way of adapting the design to the budget, before eventually having to come up with a completely different design that would fit within the parameters. It seemed to me that the issue wasn't that they didn't know how much they could spend, because it turned out that they had a very clear budget - it seemed that they felt that disclosing how much they could spend would somehow disadvantage them.

My second client gave relatively clear guidelines. Knowing what the budget was, gave me a clear overall picture of what we could work with. When I presented the concept, which they loved, I was able to keep the costs within their budget so that they had enough left over for some garden furniture and some additional accessories.

The first project was fraught with frustrations from the start, while the second was a pleasure from start to finish.
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