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Our Unique Process

"Dear Wan-Chi, I checked my calendar a few days ago and realized that Classic Nursery will be doing our spring maintenance work very soon. It is hard to believe that it has been over a year since we completed the hardscape and landscaping of our new home here in Bellevue...I have become a consistent user of organic products and methods for all of my planting and fertilizing. I was gratified that you not only agreed with my convictions but were able to implement them in the work that was done on our property. Thank you very much for being an advocate and not an impediment. I would also like to recognize you for the artistic sensitivity and skillful eyes that you brought to our rather large project. Your insights were very helpful in visualizing what the yard would look like upon completion and in the years to come. I can hardly wait to see what it will look when three full growing seasons have past. I think it is going to be even more beautiful... I was completely ignorant of the unique climate of the northwestern United States. Your help in making the right plant choices for the new home were crucial to the long term success of our landscaping vision. Supplies at the local plant markets at the time I started the project were very limited. I appreciate the enthusiasm with which you searched for the best choices and the constant efforts you made to find sufficient suitable plants. Your judgement in selecting and recommending the right plants for the Seattle area was sound. The evidence of that fact is now growing in my front and back yard. I was worried that the heavy cold rain that persisted all winter would damage the roots of the new plants and the recent transplants. My yard was soaked and wet all winter and I feared that many plants would die. Therefore, I am happy to report that almost 100% of the plants appear to be alive and doing well. Almost all have swollen bud, new leaves or flowers already, though the first day of spring was only a few days ago. All of the perennial grasses are showing signs of growth. I look forward to working with you this spring at our regularly scheduled maintenance event so that we can continue to improve the health and beauty of our outdoor spaces. Best Regards,"

- Jim D.

Establishing a budget for your outdoor project

Landscaping can be a complex series of decisions. You've got the basic aspects of wind, water and sun as well as soil, slope and drainage. Mix in the difficulties of budgets, phasing and the fact that you have to make the decision with that pesky spouse of yours...and, well, we don't need to tell you how difficult it is. We help people make these decisions all the time. It really doesn't have to be that difficult for you. In fact, if you break it into simple steps, landscape solutions can be relatively easy to resolve.

"How we do it" handouts

Be sure to download and read our "How We Do It" series of PDFs noted below. These helpful documents will explain our techniques and styles when it comes to landscaping. First of all, take a few moments to analyze your property. Make some notes...

What is it that you like about your home site? Are you having drainage problems? Do you need to screen or accent a view? What plants do you like or dislike? Is there a "style" of plant arrangement that appeals to you? Do you need all the work completed for you? Would you be willing to complete portions of the work yourself?

Take a few moments to establish a budget. Not just your "first phase", but what you might invest in the outside of your home over a few years. Of course we're going to say that "landscaping is a good investment" because, well – we think that way. Up to a point, landscaping is a good investment, not just in monetary value, but family enjoyment, (not to mention we can screen out that nosy neighbor). You've also got to think of your home's overall value and contrast that against how much you plan to enjoy the area around your home. We've got some information here on our website and at the Garden Center that can help you set some guidelines and to get a sense of how landscaping increases your home's value. You can also assess your needs by completing our Landscape Questionnaire. Submit the questionnaire form and our design staff will use it to determine the types of complementary catalogues (plants, drainage, stone, pavers, etc.) to bring for you at the first visit to your home.
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Plan or proposal?

Having some confusion as to whether a complimentary proposal or a landscape plan is the best way to move ahead with your project? At the time of your initial consultation, we'll be happy to write up a free proposal for you. It usually takes a few days to put it together....

...and then we'll email the proposal and also send it by mail. A plan is a more methodical process, involving more time, (from two weeks to a month or more), as well as an additional investment on your part. We base your design investment on a very reasonable $65 per hour charge with a 10 hour minimum. This includes not only multiple drafted, scaled, blueprinted copies, but accurate estimates and a revision to the plan at your request. The design fee is not based upon your budget, but the overall complexity of the design. This could be related to issues involving your property measurements, the types of construction and whether your brother in law is going to be giving us advice.

Most properties will fall into the 20-40 hour range. If you are having trouble determining whether to have a complimentary estimate prepared or invest in a design plan, the following information may help:

  • Choosing an estimate only for your project: Advantage: No charge, Can be prepared in 7-10days. Disadvantage: Does not graphically show you where each item is placed.

  • Choosing a plan and estimate for your project: Advantage: Shows all the work to be completed. May be implemented as a "Do it Yourself" or phased project more easily. Allows a number of companies to bid the same thing. Disadvantage: Invest $65hr, minimum 10hr charge or more.

Note: One way to determine whether a landscape architectural plan might be a good value for you is to consider how long you will live in your home. Cut that time in half and assume that you will be done with all of your landscape phases within that period. Try to project how much you will have been comfortable investing in the landscape (including decks, walks and patios, etc.) by that future date.

Now, take 5% of that number, and if you can have plans prepared for 5% or less, design plans may be a good value for you. Again, please note that planning costs are not based upon your budget, but on the complexity of the project. Just being able to discuss ideas clearly with your spouse and methodically "plant the lavender on the corner of the patio" yourself during phase two has good value once you know where everything is going. All of our plans are reviewed by our on staff licensed landscape architect and include firm estimates based upon the discussed and approved budget.

To read more about establishing a simple budget, and finding out what questions to ask a garden designer, please download the "Establish a Simple Budget" document below.
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Establishing a Simple Budget

Download this guide to learn more about establishing a simple budget, knowing what questions to ask your landscape designer, and designing your basic landscaping plan.

How We Do It: Irrigation & Lighting


How We Do It: Plans & Projects


How We Do It: Planting Colorful Gardens


How We Do It: Ponds & Waterfalls


How We Do It: Theatrical Gardens