Design Process Part 3: Design Oversight Services

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Construction of a landscape is a lot of work for the contractor and construction team, and often also for the homeowner.  Questions arise, details need ironing out, substitutions may be required, and when your full-time job isn’t landscaping it can be a lot to take on.  For this reason, and to maintain the ultimate integrity of our designs, we offer our Design Oversight services in conjunction with our Construction Documents.  Our goal is to make the process as easy as possible for our clients, so you can do less stressing and a lot more resting. 



Isn’t J.Montgomery a Design-Only Firm? 

Often we get this question from the very start of the design process.  Since the answer is yes, we are Design-Only, clients of course want to know how they get from our vision to their new landscape.   Because we were once a Design-Build firm we have real insight into how landscapes are built and what they cost, because we are extremely thorough we offer any level of construction plan detail, and finally, because we offer Design Oversight services and vetted contractors, we do set you up in every way for construction success even though we don’t do the construction itself.  In short, we will stay with you through the entire process if you’d like us to. 

So… J.Montgomery manages contractors? 

We don’t manage contractors, but we do recommend them.  And we don’t recommend just anyone – The contractors on our list are folks we’ve worked with in the past.  They know how to execute the caliber of work our clients expect.  We don’t get a cut from a contractor for recommending them, just the knowledge that our design will be built just as we envisioned it. 

Can I get competitive bids? 

Absolutely.  Going into the construction phase, bidding is an important part of deciding which contractor you want to hire.  While we give you our best guess on project cost from the very start of your design, you’ll find that construction costs always vary.  Who you choose is always up to you.  

What if I live remotely from the project site? 

If there’s one thing the last two years have taught us, it’s how to work even better with clients from afar.  If you live remotely or are often away for work, we can still do Design Oversight on your project.  In fact in this case it’s often a really good idea! 

Tiers To Choose From

Outdoor stone stairs with wrought iron railing

We offer three tiers of Design Oversight, so we can be as involved in the construction process as you would like (or not!)  Contractor selection, construction process oversight, and post-construction services are all part of our offerings.  


Our ‘Complimentary’ Tier is just as it sounds.  For every design we do, we offer contractor recommendations and answer design and bid questions from homeowners or contractors throughout the construction process – at no extra charge!  When the construction is finished, we also lead a final project walk-through.  If you enjoy being involved in the decision-making and working with your contractor one-on-one, this tier may be for you.  


Our ‘Plus’ Tier is a step up in our involvement.  For a one-time fee we will distribute plans to contractors for bidding, offer substitutions as needed, conduct 4 site visits during the major construction phases, and ensure that everything is completed with a “contractor punchlist.”  If you’d like to be involved with the construction process but also want the assurance that the design is moving along as it should, this may be the way to go. 


Finally, if bidding, construction, and contractor questions sound like a headache, we offer our Premium Design Oversight Tier on a monthly fee during the construction process.  Many of our busy clients choose this option because, frankly, they have other things to do.  Among other things, the Premium Tier includes us presenting and explaining bids, fielding contractor calls and remaining ‘on call,’ scheduling regular site visits, meetings and updates, hand-selecting materials and plants, and reviewing contractor invoices.  You can rest assured that your landscape is taken care of, and focus on everything else in your busy life.  We get it! 

Always Our Clients

Wraparound deck overlooks misty California hills

Many of our clients cherish the peace that falls on the day construction is completed.  There is nothing quite like walking into your finished yard and taking a deep breath!  This is the moment you’ve been waiting for… so quiet and peaceful… But wait, did we hear you say you miss your Landscape Architects?  Don’t worry!  We are always just a phone call away.  Our clients call us weeks or years after their landscapes are completed, and we are always so happy when they do!  We’ll probably want to know how your dog is doing and if you’re getting apples from your orchard.  Oh, and we can answer technical and maintenance questions too.  For now, enjoy the peace of your new landscape.  What a journey it’s been! 

We hope you enjoyed reading this 3-part series on the Design Process!  Just in case you were wondering what we’re doing all the time, now you know – We are 110% into whatever we’re working on!  Lucky us, since it’s our dream job. 

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