Methods of Inquiry

The designer then uses the meeting to review the clients’ answers to the ques­tionnaire and to clarify questions that either party might have. Please list the types of materials you like most for pavements, fences, walls, etc._____
B. I. © Home Planners. Thank you in advance for your cooperation. Barbecuing
Sitting/Relaxing/Reading Sitting/Talking with family Entertaining
4-6 guests
6-10 guests
more than 10 guests
Sunbathing Watching birds Gardening
Fruit trees
Woody shrubs
Throwing baseball
Throwing football
Throwing frisbee
Other (please identify)
Days per Week
Time of Day

IV. The adage that “a picture is worth a thou­sand words” is especially true for clients who are trying to communicate what ideas they have in mind or what kind of landscapes they find appealing. Last, a re­view of the portfolio permits the designer to explain how a project is undertaken and some of the thinking that goes into its development. all parties and allows the clients to fully express themselves. These pictures can be from places that the clients have visited or from various books and magazines. First, it gives the clients a chance to see what kind of work the designer has completed. Backyard Potentials. _
VI. D. Review of Pictures One additional means for gaining critical information from clients is to review photographs or pictures of their favorite completed landscapes. If necessary, a set of notes can be organized be­fore the meeting to remind the designer of key topics that must be addressed. Blueprints available, 800-322-6797. Visual.___________________________________________________________
2. Existing Site Conditions. Please list the names of all family members and identify each person’s age, place of employment or school, and hobbies, especially as they relate to the outdoors. All information you provide will be held in strict confidence and will aid in creating a design that fits the special needs of your family and conditions of your site. Functional. Other designers like to have clients respond to the questionnaire during the meeting as a way of directing the conversation. For some clients, this process is very educational
The purpose of this questionnaire is to obtain information that will be helpful in prepar­ing a design for your residential site. Although the clients may be somewhat familiar with the designer at this point, the designer can nevertheless show a range of work that might expand the clients’ understanding of his or her abilities. Figure 5-7
Different people like different houses for a host of varied reasons. Desired Outdoor Activities. The designer must also be able to accurately record the information and insights provided by the clients during the meeting. Please list your favorite plant materials.. Questionnaire Another form of inquiry is a written questionnaire. Each designer should consider these different methods of inquiry and determine which one (or ones) works best in any given situation. Before the meeting, the designer might ask the clients to gather pictures or photo­graphs that represent landscape styles, outdoor spaces, materials, special features, lighting, and so on that the clients like (or dislike). Visual.___________________________________________________________
2. Review of Designer’s Portfolio A similar method for learning about the clients’ preferences is for the designer to review examples of the firm’s past and present work. C. Therefore, the designer needs to be well prepared for this first meeting with the clients. Ultimately, a designer should be able to use a number of these techniques to learn about clients. Design #N2855 (top), Design #N3461 (middle), and Design #N3452 (Bottom). This can be done by careful note taking or with a tape recorder. 1. As with the other techniques discussed here, this, too, gives the designer insight about what will or will not be satisfactory for the clients. Please list the current problems in the front yard that you think should be minimized or overcome in the design. Blueprints available, 800-322-6797. Functional. 1. In the end, the designer must be sure that the clients have discussed everything they wish to about their landscape and that they feel comfortable with moving ahead to the next steps of the design process. Please feel free to make additional comments or notes wherever you think it would be helpful. Although a portfolio can include many work examples, it is recommended that the portfolio include the following:
• A wide range of project types that vary in size, cost, and style
• Documentation of selected projects showing pictures of the design process from before the project started to its final completion
• Master plans and other types of drawings such as functional diagrams, detail enlargements, planting plans, construction details, sections, and so on
A review of a portfolio during this first meeting with the client serves several purposes. III. Like the questionnaire, this technique engages clients in thinking about their proj­ect before meeting with the designer. This is a personable approach that engages

Figure 5-8
Designers should encourage clients to express their appreciation for their favorite exterior architectural features. A. The advantage of the latter is that it frees the designer from the burden of writing everything down and allows the designer to more fully participate in the discussion. The designer should go to this meeting with a clear agenda of items that must be covered. When completed, the questionnaire gives the designer a record of information about the clients that can be referred to throughout the development of the design. Family Characteristics. The taped information can be converted to notes sometime following the meeting. A questionnaire is a set of prepared questions that are organized on one or two sheets of paper (Figure 5—9). Functional. A question­naire ensures that meaningful information is asked of the clients in a clear, orderly fashion. Materials. Front Yard Problems. Desired Site Character. Please list the current problems in the backyard that you think should be minimized or overcome in the design. A disadvantage of a questionnaire is that it is sometimes seen as being too formalized and impersonal in nature. Please list all the positive elements and qualities of the front yard that should be retained or enhanced in the design. Please describe how you think your site should look (for­mal/informal, open/wooded, etc.)
V. Verbal Discussion Probably the most common method for gaining information about clients is through verbal discussion. It is an excellent business practice for a designer to keep a portfolio of work that can be used for promotional purposes, for showing clients the designer’s capabilities, and for in-house record keeping (Figure 5—10). What might be appropriate for one designer or situation may not be suitable for another designer or set of circumstances. Figure 5-9
Sample questionnaire.

Updated: 30.10.2014 — 00:43