Landscaping Project Management: What to Expect After Signing on the Dotted Line
Landscape East & West project managers (PMs) are efficient point people, with a deep understanding of how to take a project from concept, to design, to build. After the design phase and consultation with the customer are complete, the salesperson transfers the vision of the project in document form over to a project manager. This doesn’t mean that the customer’s involvement in the project is done, it just means the project is now in the hands of the certified, skilled professional that will be communicating with the customer frequently in the coming days.
Once a landscaping project contract is signed, paperwork goes into production within 2 weeks, and within a week after that, a walkthrough with the salesperson, the PM, and the customer will take place. Additional details are gathered at this meeting to make sure that the customer’s designs and wishes are covered in a practical manner. This walkthrough also helps to iron out any issues or conflicts with that vision and what is actually possible with irrigation, pipes, concrete, etc.
The PM lines up all of the materials and sets a project start date where the first meeting will take place.
What does a Landscape East & West Project Manager Do?
The salesperson who worked with the customer to build a vision for the project will eventually hand off the paperwork and translate that vision to the project manager. The PM then organizes the materials needed for the build, and for what the Landscape East & West team members need to accomplish the project. The PM works closely with the customer if they have specific wishes and a vision, and communicates any hiccups or logistical issues during the build.
The project manager is capable of picking the right team members for the right project. While each LEW crew member is highly skilled, some have deeper expertise in specific project elements (stone walls, custom stone work, planting, etc) and the project manager is keenly aware of each team member’s skills.
From there, the project manager oversees a 4-day work week, and the PM is there at least twice per week to run quality control, spend time with the customer if desired, and oversee the overall progress of the project, establishing a pace and making sure the project stays on time, and on budget.
What Sets a LEW Project Manager Apart
A lot of companies have the same person for the design, sales, and build elements of a landscaping project. This setup often doesn’t allow for effective project management, because the PM is also the salesperson, and their focus will quickly turn to bringing in more customers. For a PM to focus their time and effort on the crews, and what is actually being completed correctly, their full attention needs to be on the project, which is the situation at Landscape East & West. A salesperson also running PM duties will often not have the project management credentials to do this work properly. LEW has PMs that have multiple projects running at once, but that is their sole job. They also find parallels in projects to inform the build. They have tight schedules and know how to manage the workload, the staff, and the customer’s expectations.
We have documents on what the project management process looks like, providing a baseline for everything the project manager will cover during a given project. This documentation is inclusive of following set standards and specs, and how the entire process should work. These standards and expectations are closely followed, and Landscape East & West maintains these safeguards to remain compliant with any necessary city permits.
How to Communicate with a Project Manager Once the Project Has Started
At a minimum, on a weekly basis the customer will hear from the project manager, including what was accomplished in the last week, and what the plan is for the following week. This communication is done in the preferred method of the customer whether it’s via texting, emailing, calling, and/or in-person conversation. The PM will also frequently reference the project plans and diagrams with the customer, ensuring the initial drawings of the project translate into practical materials while making the customer aware of the materials aligning with the design.
As an example: Retaining walls often require fabrics to be laid on the dirt under their foundations, in order to prevent the wall from settling or sinking into the soil over time. The project manager will go over this process with the customer, even if it doesn’t appear in the design documentation. This is the standard that LEW holds itself to.
How a LEW Anticipates Complications and Provides Alternatives
Landscape East & West project managers communicate material shortage issues or logistical setbacks to the customer. This is intended to show full transparency while also quickly problem-solving to maintain deadlines. If some agreed-upon materials are no longer available at the start of the project build, the project start date will be delayed instead of having to start and stop. Alternatively, new material can be chosen. There is no pausing of the project once that project begins. This is not because we are rushing the job, but because LEW project managers have years of experience navigating common landscaping issues as a project develops. Sometimes materials are delayed and we are used to this.
Project managers are also able to adjust designs for on-site conditions that make it ultimately better than the original plan, based on math that makes things symmetrical, or easier to navigate, such as the number of steps in a garden, the angle of ramps both ascending and descending, entrances, and more.
Get in Touch
Considering a landscaping project for your home or business? Contact us today to discuss your vision with one of our licensed professionals. We can provide realistic expectations and a timeline for your project to begin. We service the greater Portland, Oregon Metro area including Clackamas, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, West Linn, and north into Clark county Washington. We would love to talk with you about applying our landscaping experience and expertise to your design and build!