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  • Barry Lenson

How Long Does It Take to Plan a Landscape Design Project?

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

Are you planning to design a new landscape and have it ready to enjoy next summer? Or are you planning to extensively redesign a current landscape by adding new plantings, pathways, lighting, and outdoor structures like gazebos or pergolas?


Please remember that June 2024 is only about 32 weeks away. That might seem like a long time from now. But depending on the scope and complexity of your project, June might arrive sooner than you think.


So, the message is, the time to start planning your outdoor landscape project is now.

A Pergola with an outdoor living space

An Adjustable Timeline for Landscaping Projects


Here is an adjustable schedule that can help you devote enough time to each step of your design or redesign project. You can remove components from it, or add some additional project steps, depending on the size of the property involved in your project, the number of current features you need to change, your budget and vision, and other variable factors.


  • Initial Consultation and Site Analysis (1-4 weeks) - During this phase, you'll conduct a site analysis to assess the existing conditions, including topography, soil quality, drainage, and the presence of existing vegetation or structures. This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the project's size and complexity. Working with an experienced landscape architect or construction company can both speed and simplify this process.

  • Creation of a Conceptual Design (2-4 weeks) - Based on the information gathered during the initial consultation and site analysis, you may want to create a conceptual design that outlines the general layout, style, and features of the landscape you are planning. This phase may involve sketching, brainstorming, and discussions with the different people involved, including construction companies, family members – everyone involved.

  • Creation of a Detailed Design (4-8 weeks) - Once the conceptual design is in place, you may want to develop a more detailed plan that includes specific plant selections, hardscape details, irrigation systems, and lighting. This phase can be quite time-consuming, especially for complex projects. Working with an experienced landscaping contractor can speed the process and avoid mistakes too.

  • Obtaining permits and approvals (varies) - Depending on your location and the nature of the project, you may need to obtain permits or approvals from local authorities. This process can take several weeks to several months, depending on the jurisdiction. To save time, consider filing for permits during the preceding stage, when you have only developed your design on paper.

  • Construction Documentation (4-8 weeks) - After finalizing the design, you'll need to create detailed construction documents that contractors can use to build the project. This includes technical drawings, specifications, and material lists. Again, if you have worked with an experienced good construction company during the above stages, you might be able to reduce the time this step will require.

  • Bidding and Contractor Selection (2-4 weeks) – Remember that more complex projects require a greater number of contractors. The time it takes to solicit bids from them, and to select the right ones, can vary. You'll need to evaluate proposals, check references, and negotiate contracts. Another factor is contractor availability – will the contractor you like be available to undertake the work early next summer? Remember that if you retain contractors early, you stand a better chance of getting on their work calendars. Remember too that contractors that have extensive experience often work with subcontractors that can handle sub-projects like grading, electrical installations, and more. That can save you time and eliminate the need to find those secondary contractors yourself.

  • Construction (2-6 weeks) - The duration of the construction phase depends on the size and complexity of the project. Small residential projects may take a few weeks, while large commercial or public projects can take several months. Remember that construction almost always takes longer than you think it will – and longer than your contractors tell you.

  • Post-Construction work (1-2 weeks) - After the construction is complete, extensive cleanup and other steps may be involved. This is also the time to create maintenance schedules for your property, and to hire companies to mow the grass and undertake other maintenance.


Adding It All Up


If you add up the weeks that we have estimated above, you will find that you will have a cushion of several weeks. That is a way of saying that you can undertake those steps and get them all completed – or close to it – in about 24 weeks. That means that when next June arrives, you will be out on your land, enjoying your new landscape, sitting in your pergola, and enjoying your new or refreshed landscape.


Keep in mind that these timelines are approximate, and every landscape design project is unique. Some projects may progress faster or slower than these estimates, and factors like weather and unexpected challenges can also impact the schedule. Effective project management and communication with contractors are essential to keeping your project on track.


Privlux Can Help You Plan the Landscape of Your Dreams


Be sure to visit Privlux, the leading provider of high-quality pergolas. While you are visiting, be sure to fill out the online form and get a free quote on designing the elegant outdoor oasis you have always wanted.


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