All the most common questions we hear from clients before embarking on an outdoor renovation project.
What is Yardzen? . . .
Yardzen's the brand-new way to get the outdoor space of your dreams. Technically, we're the first online landscape design firm, but we're so much more than that. We start by guiding you through a process to arrive at an actionable design you love for your outdoor space. Then we connect you with a vetted, local contractor who can bring your design to life. So you see, we're not just a landscape design service. We're how outdoor renovation projects get done, starting with design.
Who is Yardzen for?. . .
Yardzen is for anyone who has a yard and wants to improve it. Own property? Great, let's talk about your outdoor space!
How is Yardzen different than traditional landscape design? . . .
Yardzen was created to be an alternative for homeowners to the time and cost-intensive process of landscape design. We believe great design is the square root of any well-executed project and that it should be broadly available. For starters, our process is entirely online, which means no mid-day site visits, no scheduling mutually acceptable times to meet. This is how we're able to keep costs low and turnaround times faster. Where you can expect to spend tens of thousands of dollars + and months of time on a design created by a local landscape designer or architect, Yardzen designs top out at $1,495 and are generally completed (the first draft, anyway) within just a few weeks. Additionally, our process is very, very visual. We like to think our deliverable is far more useful and understandable for homeowners like you. Rather than give you a plan that you need a BArch degree to interpret (we give you those too, but they come after you've finalized your design), we'll give you photorealistic 3D renderings of your actual home that show your design installed. Client feedback has been loud and clear on this one — it's wildly helpful to see what it'll look like before greenlighting a project.
What do Yardzen designs not include? . . .
Aside from the hefty bill we mentioned, they don't include a few things you might be expecting and we like to be upfront about those. Our plans don't include irrigation or grading plans. As far as the Yardzen process goes, we expect your contractor to handle both and so far we've yet to find a contractor who can't create them from the Yardzen design you'll receive. They also don't include construction details for elements like pergolas, decks and other structures. If your design includes some of those, you contractor might engage a structural engineer as part of your build process.
About our Process
How does Yardzen work? . . .
The Yardzen process goes like this: Complete your design profile and choose your package → Create an account and tell us more about your project → Designer creates your design → You receive your 3D renderings → You give us feedback (we expect you'll have lots!) → Your designer incorporates all and shares a final draft → We match you with a local, vetted contractor who can install your design → We stay in touch during your install to review your bid and make sure your project goes smoothly → You get your dream yard. Sound fun and easy? It's because it is!
Do you only design in certain styles? How about mine?. . .
Yardzen has designers who specialize in all aesthetics, including yours.
How do you know my style? . . .
Since Yardzen was born online, we've gotten pretty skilled at finding the look you're going for. When you complete your Design Profile we'll show you a series of visuals to get a feel for what draws you in. Then after you choose your design package we'll ask you for inspiration images, which are really helpful to your designer. If you have specific ideas about elements you want — a firepit from your favorite retailer, for example — send us a link and we'll design it in.
What can you tell me about Yardzen designers?. . .
Yardzen designers are industry stars, with bachelor's and master's degrees in landscape design and landscape architecture. We've created a unique platform for leading professionals to work on projects like yours in an incredibly flexible way and build their portfolios. Nearly all of our designers have thriving practices outside of Yardzen. Think of Yardzen as a unique opportunity to have an exceptional talent work on your outdoor space in a way that's also incredibly efficient for you.
Will I be able to talk to my designer during my design? . . .
As a Yardzen client you'll get a team of talented pros working on your design, including a landscape designer or architect, a horticulturalist and a concierge. Your concierge is your primary point of contact during the design process and can relay any pertinent information to your designer. After completing hundreds of landscape designs and experimenting with lots of approaches we've settled on this process and find the lack of interruption is especially helpful for the designer, who can simply focus on their craft and creating an exceptional, custom design for your yard.
How do you know the right plants for my (unique) property?. . .
We've built a database of plants, trees and groundcovers that match them to planting zone, sun/shade/water requirements, aesthetic and special features like "deer-proof," "non-toxic for pets" and "year-round blooms." Additionally, we use satellite and aerial imagery, coupled with what you tell us about your property, to assess sun and shade patterns at your property throughout the day. We rely heavily on this database, but we always have a horticulturalist make the final calls when choosing your design's plant palette. After you show us your style and tell us how and who uses your outdoor space, we're well-equipped to choose your plants.
Where does Yardzen currently design?. . .
We're focused on just California and Texas for now, but working hard to come to our next set of states soon!
Installing your design
I have a set budget. How do you keep my design inside of it? . . .
At the outset we'll ask you what your all-in budget is for your project. Your designer will create your design with that number in mind, however, there are always variables — like the materials and plant sizes you ultimately choose — that can ratchet cost up or bring it down. When we match you with a contractor, budget is usually where that conversation starts. We believe budget needs to be a central part of the process in order for us to deliver a design you can implement.
Do Yardzen designs usually get installed exactly as rendered?. . .
As with any renovation project, it's rare that the design gets installed exactly as rendered. Many final decisions will be made in the field between you and your contractor, such as last-minute plant swaps based on your contractors' expertise and preference, or a slight modification to a retaining wall that saves you a few thousand dollars but achieves the same look and feel. As long as you're both looking at the same design, these are productive decisions and changes.
If my contractor and I make a small design modification in the field, will you re-render my design in 3D? . . .
Excepting extenuating circumstances we don't and here's why: It's simply unnecessary. As with any landscape design, your Yardzen design functions as a way to communicate what you want to your contractor. As long as you're on the same page with your contractor about the change, s/he should be able to iterate on the design. We're glad to create one additional 2D top-down plan view reflecting the changes.
How do you find and vet contractors? . . .
In many ways our deep contractor relationships are our secret sauce. The contractors in the Yardzen Pro Network are top-rated professionals on all of the websites you might go to to find one. We partner only with the best, most responsive and diligent contractors for our clients' projects. So why are they thrilled to work on Yardzen projects when people regularly find it hard to get an exceptional contractor to simply return a call? Because with Yardzen, every project starts with a design. They appreciate that we've already invested the work to help you arrive at a plan. So when they enter the picture they can just get to work. Win-win.
Do I have to use a Yardzen contractor to install my design?. . .
Absolutely not. You're free to hire whomever you want. But we think you'll want to!
What are Yardzen's sustainability practices? . . .
Our favorite topic! Our core ethos is that anyone who controls a patch of Earth has the potential to affect positive change. We're a team of landscape designers & LEED-certified architects, environmental consultants, conservationists, even bee keepers. We're here to empower people to make good decisions, which is why we'll lead you toward a low-water yard and educate you about rain catchment systems and why there are better choices than traditional sod. As a general rule, every Yardzen design includes low-water plants and a few attractors that lay the groundwork for wildlife corridors. We believe that if we all do a little we can do a lot.