Designing your rooftop space is an exciting process that takes the same kind of planning and preparation as designing a custom home. An experienced landscape architect can help you turn your vision into an art form of functionality and style. Success, however, lies in the details, and all design options should be explored early on in the process.
When it comes to new developments in Utah, we as landscape architects are usually called into a project after the majority of the construction is completed. In reality, we should be involved in the process much sooner, for by developing a plan for rooftop amenities in conjunction with the architectural drawings, clients will enjoy a superior end result and a significant cost savings.
Savvy developers recognize that the key to a successful project is to take a "big picture" approach to rooftop amenity design by involving the landscape designer along with the architect and builder in the earliest stages of the process. In this article, we explain the benefits of this approach.
A landscape architect brings better organization to a project
If the landscape designer, architect and builder can think everything through together, it not only helps to meet the developers' requirements, but often elevates their goals. It enables continuity between the construction of the development and its rooftop amenities like pools, patios and planters. It also ensures that the roof structure supports the loads of the amenities. Addressing these elements at the initial stages of the design can help save time, and avoid potential problems.
Planning rooftop amenities ahead can also help to avoid certain types of unnecessary expenses. For example, the builder may export soil from the site during construction and later we may need soil to create level changes or for grading purposes. Importing and exporting soil is expensive. If we can coordinate efforts to reuse resources already on the property, everyone benefits.
A landscape architect can help you save money
Landscape architects often use design strategies in an effort to reduce costs. Careful and thoughtful planning also eliminates costly mistakes. Landscape architects are always active in working closely with the developer to create a budget that meets their comfort level. Working with a landscape architect may save you money in the long term because your rooftop amenity plans are more logical and more cohesive, and your architect can help you maximize your budget. They can also save you money throughout the process by bidding the installation and construction with several highly qualified landscape contractors, ultimately driving down the price.
A landscape architect can help establish your construction budget
When we meet with clients for the first time the conversation eventually turns to budget. More often than not, we get the deer in headlights look. Mostly because they either never thought about it or have no idea what rooftop amenities cost. A well-trained landscape architect knows about costs, and can help you establish a realistic budget to meet your project goals. Knowing this upfront can help guide the landscape architect with material selection and ultimately prevent you from spending your entire budget on one area of the overall project.
A landscape architect can prepare a master plan
Some developers have grandiose ideas but don’t have the capital upfront to support them. This is where a master plan approach can be very effective. A design is prepared for the entire rooftop, and then broken into phases of construction. Some developers may want to just install a patio this year and down the road install lighting. Well, although this is a fine approach, proper planning is necessary for a successful project. What if the patio is installed and then they go back next year and there is no access to run wires under the patio? In this simplistic example, you start to appreciate what a landscape architect can bring to the table as he or she would have known to install conduit under the patio under Phase I. In addition to the construction sequencing making more sense, I can almost guarantee that the overall design will be more cohesive.
A landscape architect can provide construction management services
No matter how well thought out a plan is, it is not uncommon for unforeseen conditions to pop up during construction. This is where a landscape architect can really be of use! Since they have a relationship with the project’s development team, have a good understanding of the project goals, and have knowledge of construction, landscape architects have the ability to make decisions on the fly on the developer’s behalf.
In the end, engaging a landscape architect can be the deciding factor – are your rooftop amenities simply comfortable or are they extraordinary?
- Red Flags to Watch for in Rooftop Amenity Design & Construction